Congratulations to our 2010 Grantees!
The Grant Committee of the Black Rock Arts Foundation is thrilled to announce the winners of our 2010 Grant Cycle. We received a record number of applications this year (over 300!) and awarded more grants than ever before, giving away a total of $50,500 to 12 projects.
Our 2010 Grantees represent diversity, both in their chosen media and strategies of bringing art into their communities. Each project responds to a community’s interests, needs and environment in an innovative and unique way. From a traveling, DIY shadow puppet theater in Chicago, to a derelict 18th century house in New Orleans, transformed into a completely interactive musical environment; from an opera inspired by and performed on public transportation in Santa Fe, to a hands-on expo of circuit bending and sound art in Brooklyn, these projects run the gamut of possibilities of collaboration, civic engagement and integration of art and everyday life.
Read on for inspiring descriptions of these works in progress…
ANIMUS Arts Collective (Annie Vainchenker, Preston Dane, David Ort)
1000 Pieces will be a fully interactive and evolving beautiful public sculpture on New York City’s Governors Island, in the seasonal sculpture garden, and in conjunction with the FIGMENT, an annual free, participatory arts festival.
The sculpture’s initial state is a simple, rectangular, gazebo-like wooden structure, eleven feet in height and six feet in width, with seating around the outside perimeter and a roof atop four posts. Running up the height of the vertical posts will be “L” shaped pieces of plywood. Every eight inches, each of these plywood panels will have one-inch notches. Inside the gazebo, on shelves mounted onto the posts, will be stacks of six by six inch square plywood pieces, each also having one-inch notches on each of its four sides (“notched squares”). The artwork will evolve throughout the summer of 2010 as passers-by become participants, taking a few pieces off the shelves and connecting them to the structure. The product of this process would be a simple wooden gazebo that appears to be blossoming into color during the summer months.
ANIMUS will hold workshops in two NYC public schools, led by our members (Samuel Tilden High School and PS 163′s Learning Through an Expanded Arts Program [LEAP]). Students will be presented with different levels of creative control, collaborative and individual, as they make the centerpieces for the gazebo. Individually they will be given markers to decorate and put their names on the notched squares. Collaboratively, they will work together to assemble a single sculpture from those same notched squares. The sculptures created by the students will ultimately be fastened on top of the structure to serve as the “crown” and “chandelier” of the gazebo. The centerpieces will be wooden sculptures bejeweled with vibrant colors and the names of the very people who put them together.
On Governors Island we will create an environment that instigates a dynamic relationship between the participant and the object, and between the participants themselves. They can work together to create compositions through shape and color-combinations, as well as approach the piece on their own. At the entrance of the work we would place an engraved plaque asking such questions as “How might one affect the entirety by making seemingly small changes?” We hope that this element further inspires discourse surrounding the concepts and themes explored in the work: community and collaboration, decision and action.
Bent Festival Interactive Art Installations
Bent Festival and The Tank
New York, NY
The Bent Festival is an annual New York City art and music festival celebrating DIY electronics, hardware hacking, and circuit bending. Each year we invite artists from across the country and around the globe to perform music with their home-made or circuit bent instruments, teach workshops to adults and children alike, create interactive art installations and to generally come together, face to face, and showcase the state of the art in DIY electronics and circuit bending culture. Bent Festival is made possible in part by support from Two Trees Realty and the New York State Council for the Arts.
BLOOM TOWN simultaneously remembers a once thriving American City and celebrates its re-birth by promoting it’s potential for creative, social, political and environmental change.
Six residential city parcels in a single Detroit neighborhood will be transformed into monochromatic gardens, each within the footprints (foundation walls) of razed houses, marking the ground with reference to the history of each site. The gardens will be planned and planted to register the passing of time throughout the city, simultaneously changing tone from season to season, from vibrant purples in spring to deep reds in summer to warm oranges in autumn. The gardens will map temporal shifts and will build local anticipation and awareness on multiple levels. They will be open for occupation by the local community and by physical and virtual visitors. The gardens will register as aberrant pixels of color in satellite images of the city.
In addition to the visual presence of the gardens, they will act as a new type of way-finding device, increasing the flow of movement through and around the local neighborhood. The gardens are conceived of as being places of calm, community and activation. In spirit, they are akin to the community gardens established in the 1970s in New York; these gardens became thriving centers for activity, life and art in then-impoverished neighborhoods.
BLOOM TOWN hopes to inspire change through the interaction that happens during the creative act of constructing between local residents and project volunteers; it is a community based project that seeks to engage participants in a range of capacities from project implementation to eventual use and enjoyment. It is a work that heightens awareness of ones surroundings: visually, cognitively, spatially and haptically. BLOOM TOWN is a work in progress, continually evolving and changing, indexing the passing of time, and engaging multiple communities through time.
‘Community Art Makers’ are Austin, Texas based community leaders offering work and meeting space, guidance and assistance to artists endeavoring to engage our community. Former notable projects have inclulded recently showcasing the 32 foot tall fire tornado from the BRC Fire of Fires Temple for a public audience of thousands, and the fist public burn night on NYE, 2009 of the Resolution Clock in the center of Austin, Texas for 100,000 people.
BRAF’s infrastructure investment will allow the Community Art Makers to build upon current resources and offer more structured, resources and work space for artists. Their upcoming projects are focused on artist empowerment and community building. Some of these projects for 2010 include partnerships with the City of Austin Library, Parks and Art in Public Places Departments, ‘Art Outside’ and ‘First Night’ pieces that showcase interactivity to a public audience and hands on classes and training for trained and aspiring artists.
FIGMENT is a forum for the creation and display of participatory and interactive art by emerging artists across disciplines. FIGMENT began in July 2007 as a free, one-day participatory arts event on Governors Island in New York Harbor with over 2,600 participants. Since then, FIGMENT has grown significantly each year—in number of projects, duration, participants, volunteers, fundraising capability, exhibitions, locations, overall level of commitment and participation, and public support.
FIGMENT now expands to the Boston area, with its first event outside of New York! FIGMENT will be produced through a partnership with the Cambridge Arts Council, on June 5, 2010, co-located with the Cambridge Arts Council’s long-running Cambridge River Festival, on Memorial Drive on Saturday, June 5, 2010 from 12 pm to 6 pm.
Hawthorne Lift 100
Tucker Teutsch and the PDX Bridge Festival
To celebrate the centennial of the nation’s oldest working vertical lift bridge, this project turns the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland, OR into a kinetic art installation. A solar-powered lighting display, installed for the duration of the festival, makes use of interactive elements to transform the bridge’s traffic into a catalyst for moving light. For one hour on the night of Saturday, July 31, the Hawthorne Bridge will raise to reveal a projection screen stretched across the displaced area of the lift span. The screen provides a framework to give a visual tour of Portland—who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going—using gathered media from the last 100 years, text-based interactions from our audience, and captured images from the event. This display, produced in conjunction with a free concert on the Morrison Bridge, will be visible from neighboring bridges, both banks of the river, and downtown buildings. The Hawthorne Bridge Centennial Project will be a spectacle to remember! Estimated audience: 40,000+
“Hit the lights!”
Where: Hawthorne Bridge
When: July 24 – August 7, 2010
What: “Hit the Lights” on July 24th at 10:00 p.m. is the opening for the lighting and fabric installation on the Hawthorne Bridge, possibly the largest art installation in Portland history. The lights make use of programmable and environmentally-aware lighting technology to interact with the nightly vehicle and bike traffic on the bridge. The lights accentuate 60 panels of fabric installed in the bridge trusses and lift towers, turning the structure into a wash of color and moving light and marking the rhythm of commuter traffic as it moves across the bridge. The installation will be visible for the 15 days of the festival, but there will be a ceremonial opening night event—when we “hit the lights!”
David Graves, Alan So
San Francisco, CA
The Illuminated Forest is an immersive multi-media interactive exhibit and performance installation. ME’DI.ATE Art Group creates an imaginary natural world inside the gallery walls of San Francisco’s preeminent experimental art space, The Lab. Not all is as it seems, as this surrealistic environment is actually manufactured by projections, sensors, MAX/MSP, sound, sculptural shapes and light/shadow. Visitors of the forest become its inhabitants and part of its ecosystem where their presence activates both visual and auditory sensations, as well as, leave an imprint on the environment long after they are gone.
The Illuminated Forest demonstrates our own connection to the environment and how we are all interconnected. Our presence in the environment affects this space and is forever changed (for better and for worse) with our temporal presence. This experiential piece actively reminds people what we do has impact: on our own lives, on others, and the world around us, both in the present and the future. It is also a human reminder of the life existing outside our urban borders, its importance, and the power it can play in our lives while raising questions about a natural world lost. What is the effect to our world if we destroy instead of nurture it? What will happen if we think only of ourselves, and not of our communities and world around us?
The Forest will also host experiential performances by some of the most compelling local, national and international artists and musicians. Invited artists will explore themes of reinvention and recycling, real and imagined natural environments and creatures, endangered species, water, environmental awareness and responsibility, plantlife/animal life, and other artist imaginations.
This piece is part of the month-long exhibition for ME’DI.ATE’s innovative biennial art festival, Soundwave, that brings together inspired sound purveyors from across the sonic spectrum to produce experiential performances that will challenge the way audiences see and hear sound and music. Happening June 6 -August 13, 2010, it’s fourth season’s theme, GREEN SOUND, will have artists and performers create works that explore the natural world, and environmental issues and sustainability.
The Music Box
The New Orleans Airlift, featuring Swoon
New Orleans, LA
The Music Box will be an interactive environment built from the remains of an 18th century derelict cottage in New Orleans. This imaginatively reconstructed, and ultimately livable “house”, will become a musical instrument to be played by visitors. Instrumentation will range from the rudimentary banging of wooden boards to more elaborate sounds mechanically triggered by opening doors or pulling levers. In addition to visitors, a range of local and national musicians, including a regional high school marching band, will be invited to play the house for the project’s Block Party series, which will be free and open to all.
The installation will visually resemble works Swoon is best known for – a series of intricate handmade boats that have floated the Mississippi, the Hudson river and most recently the Adriatic Sea and the canals of Venice, Italy during the 2009 Biennale. As with these floating crafts, the focus for The Music Box is on found materials, artistic and community collaboration, functional environments and interaction that involves sound and performance.
The New Orleans Airlift is a multi-disciplinary arts organization that produces and facilitates innovative artistic opportunities for New Orleans-based artists locally and around the globe. Bringing influential artists like Swoon from abroad to participate in cutting edge collaborations with local artists at home in our own community increases exposure, amplifies resources and aids the creative development of our city’s unique and irreplaceable creative community that still struggles for sustainability in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The Music Box is the first incarnation of what will become a permanent performance, exhibition and residency space for he New Orleans Airlift.
Reclaimed Art: Community Art from Recycled Materials
The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, working with students from the University of Mississippi Student Art Association and volunteers from the community, will host a series of community art days. The purpose of the community art days is to reclaim materials from a 1928 building, transform them into works of art, and utilize the work of art to create a focal point around the building the materials where removed which is be renovated into a community arts center.
“We are excited that we have been able to reach several community goals with this project”, shared Wayne Andrews, Director of the Arts Council. “ The project will provide a demonstration of how art can impact a community both by providing beauty and economic development. The art, artists and volunteers will transform an industrial building into a community center with the “undesirable & unwanted” elements repurposed into a piece of community art.”
RUTA: A Sante Fe Bus Opera
Acushla Bastible, Ligia Bouton, Chris Jonas, Valerie Martinez, Molly Sturges
Santa Fe, NM
RUTA is an interactive, intermedia new opera to be performed on city buses in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Created in collaboration with Santa Fe residents who live along and use public transportation, the opera will employ live vocalists, choruses and musicians, recorded instrumental audio played over the radio, text/poetry (delivered as casual conversation pieces with audience riders), sculptural costuming and sets, live and pre-recorded video, and choreographed movement. Interactive transfer stations will encourage unexpected and magical episodes that will complement the more scripted, scored or choreographed passages of the performance. RUTA has been designed to promote the integration of art and daily life, foster and restore connections within and across communities, create meaningful dialogue, and manifest real collaboration between artists and community residents.
Storyline Transports: Shadow and Light Festival
Jung Woo, David Prince, Ye Seung Lee
Storyline Transport: Shadow and Light Festival is a mobile, collaborative public art initiative created by Jung A Woo, Ye Seung Lee, and David Prince with organizational help from Architreasures. The Festival will occur in August, 2010 throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. Using converted automobiles (pick-up trucks, vans, etc.) as physical and symbolic vehicles, a Shadow and Light Caravan will deliver a community festival to Chicago neighborhoods over the course of three days. The project will seek to engage arts oriented audiences as well communities for whom access to the arts is limited. The festival will consist of a shadow and light themed video screening, three artists run workshops, and a public-collaborative mobile installation. The workshops will include a shadow puppet making workshop, a paper lantern making workshop, and a shadow theater. Through this festival, Storyline Transport aims to connect the diverse communities of Chicago through the arts, by giving voice to the stories of its residents, and by creating a unique opportunity for residents to gather in a spirit of creativity and community.
Virtual Street Corners
Real-Time, 24/7 Interaction. Virtual Street Corners is a digital media public art project by John Ewing, in collaboration with Carmen Montoya, Kevin Patton, Christopher Robbins and Minotte Romulus.
Though only 2.4 miles apart and connected by the Route 66 bus, people living in Brookline and Roxbury rarely visit the other. Beginning in June 2010, a storefront in Coolidge Corner, Brookline, and in Dudley Square, Roxbury will be transformed into large video screens, providing pedestrians of each neighborhood with a portal into one another’s worlds. Running 24/7, life-size screen images and AV technology will enable real-time communication between residents of the two neighborhoods.
The neighborhoods we have chosen to connect are transportation and cultural hubs with rich and intertwined histories. Using technology developed to bridge geographical distances, Virtual Street Corners instead traverses the social boundaries that separate two important neighborhood centers with significant historical connections.