Beyond The Visual Rainbow

Mixed Media on Chicken Wire, Installation and Public Artwork, 2013

Beyond the Visual Rainbow, Commissioned Public Artwork, Mixed Media on Chicken Wire,  48 in. x  600 in

Beyond the Visual Rainbow is a large-scale, sculptural public artwork. The foundation of the sculpture is made of 50 feet of chicken wire. The sculpture consists of hundreds of yards of fabric, different shaped, and sized objects that create varying levels of patterns, dimension, and density. Majority of the fabric was donated by residents of the Deanwood community. It features over 300 different recycled objects such as: Clothes, ribbons, rope, jewelry, leather, and other found objects. The varying fabrics are woven through the hexagonal shapes of the chicken wire in a calculated diagonal design. Through process of creating this sculpture, everyday objects will be given new meanings and represent the vitality of Deanwood.

Throughout the design and creative process I worked to reflect the vibrancy, resiliency, and diversity of the Deanwood community and residents past and present. I choose to integrate the multi-colored fabrics to honor the rich history and involvement in and love they have for their community. Additionally, the varied colors and recycled objects represents the many components, people, resources, and ideals it takes to create a thriving community.

Apprenticeship

In 2010, I was awarded an apprenticeship by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, (DCCAH) DC Creates Public Art Apprenticeship Program. As the apprentice, I worked with the lead artist to design, fabricate, and install a permanent public artwork at the new Deanwood Recreation Center. Throughout the apprenticeship, I was given a glimpse of the intricacies, and intersections between public artwork, government agencies, and the communities they serve. The program was designed to select the apprentice first, which occurred in 2010. Consequently, a significant part of the apprenticeship involved working with the selection panel and directly with staff of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH), Deanwood Recreation Center, DC Public Library, Ron Brown Middle School, and other organizations within the Deanwood Community. In 2011, the lead artist Cheryl Foster was chosen from a national call for artists. In 2012, I began working with Cheryl Foster and DCCAH to bring Beyond The Visual Rainbow, public artwork to completion.

As part of the apprenticeship, I led several workshop sessions regarding being an artist and the process of creating public artwork with students from the Fishing School and Seed Public Charter School. I truly enjoyed working with the students and was so pleased with their level of participation in the sessions. Thus, I allowed their interests in being a professional artist to lead portions of our sessions to include a greater discussion on the logistics of being an artist, running a business, and creating public artwork. These sessions were very inspiring.

This experience expanded my knowledge regarding creating and managing a budget, maintaining a work plan, and the process of installing a large scale public artwork. Ultimately, creating the artwork was most rewarding. The majority of the work on the 50 foot long frame was done in my home. So throughout the eight-month period, I had a personal relationship with the multi-colored and multi-layered being, day-in, and day-out.

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Photos by Stan Squirewell