Tag Archives: Public Art

You are invited: Unexpected Art Workshops

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Registration is now open. These workshops are FREE with museum admission.

I was fortunate to get a MN State Arts Board grant this year and it’s time for the public projects part of that grant. I have partnered with The Bakken, The Museum of Russian Art and Hennepin History Museum to host 3 evenings of workshops making art inspired by each of their collections. You can read all about the background of this project on my Unexpected Art page. I want to invite all of you to please come to a workshop. A big part of this grant is having a public component and that means I need you to participate. Each museum will be doing something a little special the evening of the workshop: staying open later hours, pulling special things from their collections, and including all of the workshop fee in with regular museum admission. That means you get to visit an awesome museum, get to see something that few people get to see, take a mini workshop and take home a piece of art. It will be awesome!

You do need to pre-register because I have limited computer space. My grant also funded a mobile computer lab, which I will have set up for the workshops. You will be making art inspired by special pieces from the museum collections. I will help you transform your art into an awesome fabric design. You will get to keep a swatch of your fabric (mailed to you after it is printed) and I will include everyone’s swatches in an exhibition of art hosted at the Hennepin History museum in January 2017. You don’t need any experience with fabric design and I promise you will have fun.

Dates: Thursdays November 3, 17 and December 1

Register here at the Unexpected Art page. (Slots for the November 3 workshop are already going fast!)

Public art in Minneapolis. The boxes are here!

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My utility boxes have all been installed! Andy and I took a field trip this morning to walk the neighborhood and see what they look like. I am so happy with how they turned out! I have created a whole new page for the project here on my website: I Spy Utility Boxes

IMG_3667I will add more behind-the-scenes posts, photos from the walkthrough and more to that page in the next few weeks. I also wrote a book to accompany this project! You can see the details of that there too.

Here is a press release about the project that went out today.

If you’d like to join us for the walking tour, we will be meeting at the corner of 29th and University Ave at 6:00 pm on Thursday July 14th. We will walk around to see all 3 boxes and then go over to Surly for a drink. I’d love to see you there!

 

I Spy Utility Boxes Project: Collecting

everydayWhen last I posted about the utility box wraps project I am working on, I was on my way to the meeting of the neighborhood advisory group for their approval on my designs.  They loved them! (Thank goodness!)  So I can share a little more about them now that we have made it past that step.

I spent several afternoons walking around the neighborhood taking photos of things in the neighborhood: manhole covers, address numbers, bricks, peeling paint, leaves and plants.  Then I spent a couple of afternoons at home photographing everyday objects.  My idea for this project is that the designs on those utility boxes should be made up of things you might see every day and not notice them.  They might be things you have in your house or business.  They might be things laying on the sidewalk.

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I also looked for texture, like peeling paint and weathered styrofoam, that I could layer on top of designs.  I really like to work in layers.  And these are some textures from some pretty definitive buildings in the neighborhood: Pratt School, Tierney Bros, the Witch’s Hat Tower, Cupcake.  So I wanted to include those as well.  I had about 450 photos collected when I got done.

Once I had collected all of these images, I started to make designs.  These were the first two I came up with.

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The first is made from leaves that I picked up and scanned in patterns, combined with all of the circular objects I had in my photos: wheels, flowers, latte, outlets, yarn, masking tape. The second is a photo of a pink rose with a honeybee.  These roses are iconic to me as they grow all over the neighborhood in road medians and they are always full of bees in the summer and fall.  I love these patterns, but then I imagined them covering a 4×5 ft box and I thought….  snore.  It’s interesting, but it’s not enough to draw people in.  It looks like a quilt.  Which is beautiful, but not exactly exciting. And it seems cliche. I am usually a fabric artist and what do I design when I get a chance to do something a little unusual? A quilt.  Argh.  It just wasn’t working for me. It was definitely a love-hate relationship that struggled with for days until I had an idea.  But that idea is a story for another post.

 

I Spy, Public Art & Everyday Objects

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I have been working quietly behind the scenes on a new project for a couple of months.  The neighborhood that is home to Textile Center, Weavers Guild and where I spent a large part of my life during the last 15 years has a really enthusiastic neighborhood association.  And they decided to do a call for artists to make wraps for six (3 pairs) of the utility boxes in the neighborhood.  The City of Minneapolis has a program which allows artists to design these wraps and I was selected as the artist for Prospect Park.  Here are what some of the finished ones (by other artists) look like from the cover of their instruction booklet.  The idea is to bring some art into the community and to help discourage graffiti.

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I usually work in fabric and garments, as you all know, but the design skills for these utility box wraps are basically just the same.  I am making a 2-D design and shaping it around a 3-d object.  My first public art!

So, what to put on them?  My proposal to the neighborhood association was to create patterns from everyday objects.  Specifically, I spent several afternoons walking around the neighborhood surrounding these boxes taking photos of objects: flowers, bricks, signs, textures. I collected photos with a theme like circles or numbers and things that are iconic to the neighborhood. I tried to think of things that reminded me of the neighborhood, like the pink roses around the Prospect Park sign that are always buzzing full of bees in the summertime.  I also shot images of everyday objects that you might find in all of the businesses and houses nearby: clothespins, pencils, paintbrushes, safety pins. I have about 450 photos so far and you can see just a few of them up above.

My plan is to use these photos to create patterns, by cutting out, layering and manipulating the images to cover the utility boxes.  I also wanted a way for people to interact with the art, so along one side of the box, I am planning to include thumbnails of the original photos of some of the elements in the design.  This way you can play a game of “I Spy”, both looking for the sunflower or manhole cover within my design and looking for that same object in the neighborhood.  There are daycares, a school and community center all in this span of a few blocks, so I hope that the neighborhood kids will notice this.

I meet with my neighborhood committee this week for some feedback on the initial designs and I plan to post regularly here to document the progress of the project.  Just look for the “ProspectPark” category to follow along.  I am hoping they love what I have done so far and I can share some sneak peeks with you very soon.