We need more Art in the Open

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I often think how much life is enhanced by public art.  It’s not only a more colorful world but a more conscious one as well. Public art raises awareness and exposes a larger audience to new perspectives and ideas.  And – heck – life is just more fun with art!  The First Annual Art in the Open on the Schuylkill River June 9-12th was a perfect example of the integration of public and art.

Right away my man-friend and I were helping construct Diedra Krieger’s ongoing “Plastic Fantastic” project - a dome constructed of more than 6,000 plastic bottles. .

The idea is pretty simple: get together a bunch of artists and have them make their art in public, in this instance with the Schuylkill River as their studio.  35 different artists working in a variety of media came together and spread themselves along the banks of the river.   The emphasis was on public participation.

The truly stunning part of the dome was the rainwater that collected on the ceiling that shimmered in the sun.

My man-friend and I  were there on early on Thursday – so the artists were still setting up and we sort of had the show to ourselves.  We helped build a plastic dome and enjoyed a river meditation. For this show I don’t think the art was as important as the experience.  There should be more art in the open – all the time, everywhere!  It’s a great way to meet artists, build community and make some art!

“Knitting Jam” Artist Laure Drogal amplified knitting needles creating a sculpture of sound. Knitters and non-knitters were encouraged to participate. I loved this idea of amplifying this experience. There are so many subtleties in life that deserve to be celebrated and amplified.
Ava Blitz and her assistant next to her yet to be floated sculptures covered in pretty gummy candies.
A Joseph Mangrum installation under a bridge. It looks like chalk art - but it is actually colored sand. He was working on another sand piece closer to the art museum as well.
We added our paper messages to fiber artist Diane Savona's quilt. My message was corny, "love always" (I can't help myself, I swear).
Here is the quilt where all messages are sewn into.
The man-friend lost in Nancy Agati's "river meditation". The meditation station isolated a section of the river and included a 3-minute meditation you listened to on an ipod. It was a great way to slow down, focus on the water and see the inspiration for Nancy's work for Art in the Open. And I must say Nancy has a very soothing voice......"concentrate on the water......"
Nancy was close by working on her fabric piece in which she used incense sticks to burn water like patterns into the sheer white fabric.
Roy Andres Hofer's piece "Globalized Luncheon on the grass" was in progress when we were at the show. It wasn't finished but already it was making a statement: Americans are slobs. Unfortunately it didn't even look staged. We are addicted to fast food and oil. Ugh.
I kept thinking how great the show would be for families and kids. I was so happy to see artist Benjamin Volta working with Math teacher Jerry Jackson, along with the middle schoolers at Grover Washington Jr. Yay to kids and art!

If you missed the Art in the Open there is still a chance to see some of the work which will be on display http://www.artintheopenphila.org/events/

This is the FIRST annual – so hopefully that means we will see another one next summer (and another the summer after that and that)!

For more information on the show and to see other artist’s work go to http://www.artintheopenphila.org/

Tags

a. joseph mangrum, art in the open, ava blitz, benjamin volta, diane savona, diedra krieger, laure drogal, nancy agati, roy andres hofer

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