Onward at OFAR

The past week has been busy, though it is interesting that I am spending about as much time in the studio as I am with the community and in various meetings with individuals.

Wednesday saw Jon Henry and I at Peace by Design, one of EMU's Summer Institute courses taught by Deanna and Barb who had invited me to spend some time with the class.  Not only did I learn a lot about various things happening around the country which deal with issues of social justice and the arts but they also gave me some time to speak about my work.  The class was really responsive, especially to the wall piece I did for Chastain.
Giving a brief talk on my work at EMU
I've been getting positive responses to the first two parts of my project, the interviews and the workshop.  Larkin Arts is officially a sponsor of my project here, as they provided us with additional carving tools and supplies for the workshop.  They've been super helpful in providing some direction and assistance in the various logistics of that.  Since Wednesday, I have been doing two interviews a day, with even more scheduled next week.  It has been a pretty emotional and amazing experience for me, and the survivors and advocates I am interviewing are so open.  It's refreshing and exhilarating and I am very excited about the prints I'll be making based on these interviews.
The Collins Center's brochure about the projects
I got the go ahead for the public art portion of the project and will be "installing" next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the downtown court square.  By installing, what I mean is that I will literally be hand drawing 158 hopscotch courts on the downtown sidewalks in Harrisonburg.  Woo, so excited.

Here's a blurb about it, that I wrote up for Jon's mini press release:
"A huge part of my practice as an artist has revolved around sharing, retelling, and recreating people’s stories and relating those stories to the larger social issues that impact them, ranging from domestic violence to homelessness to sexual assault and more.  I have found that viewing larger social and political issues through a personal lens allows audiences to be drawn in, to accept that the issues impact everyone, and to abandon the notion of the other.

Recently I have begun to toy with the kind of information and data that these issues generate.  In a reversal from examining the larger social impact on an individual and their personal story, I am now interested in how demographic information expresses not only the individual but the group.  We are constantly privy to data, numbers, and other demographic information surrounding those who are affected by any number of issues and i am interested in the way we process this information, or the way we fail to process it.

This project will visually represent the data collected by the Collins Center’s Child Advocacy Center over the course of one year.  Each client they served will be represented anonymously, only by the information collected that is then used for various reports, and with which we often generate nameless statistics.  Each representation will appear on the sidewalks downtown as hopscotch courts, hand drawn with chalk."
Flyers I'll hand out while I'm chalking
I'm super excited this whole thing has worked out so well.  I can not wait for next weekend, for the workshop next week, and to meet and talk with even more of these amazing folks.

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