Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Insects of South Corvallis" Cornerstone Neighborhood Project

Charles Goodrich's Poetry Book
"The Insects of South Corvallis"
and clay materials 
This month I am working with associates at Cornerstone to create sculptural clay art works based on the poetry of Charles Goodrich, a local South Corvallis poet. Cornerstone's mission is to create meaningful community involvement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A culminating event will occur on Thursday April 16th 7:00pm @Taylor Street Ovens 1025 Northwest 9th Street, where all are invited to attend a free public reading and exhibit of works created during the project. - Insects of South Corvallis is funded in part by Benton County Cultural Coalition and is a part of inVISIBLE a nano festival celebrating inclusion in the arts: I will be working with performing artist Kaitlyn Witting Menguc who will be putting together a performance based art project based on interactions with Cornerstone Associates during the project.

Here is a brief description of the event at Taylor Street: "This art exhibit/ community reading presents material created during an intensive artist residency which paired a ceramicist and an artist with participants of Cornerstone Associates, Community Access Program and references poems found in Charles Goodrich's collection 'The Insects of South Corvallis'."

An observation from Kaitlyn, summing up the first day… "I was struck by how silent the room became when I was reading poetry or when most individuals were focused on drawing or sculpting. I had the opportunity to also read poems to individual associates while they were working and the response was positive. I know that some participants are looking forward to our return on Friday and I see that as a big success. There were also associates who did not seem to want to participate at the beginning of class who ended up joining us at the table and making some work. That was a really great thing to see!"

The artwork that resulted from this project was fantastic! I also strongly feel that it's all about the process rather than product. I really felt that to be true especially for this class. Many associates seemed so happy simply creating and when they were done we took the finished piece and brought another fresh piece of clay. Clay as a medium seemed to really grab their attention whether they were working with a single piece of clay the whole class or turning out sculpture after sculpture. The versatility of the clay, the smell, the feel; it all seems to have such a therapeutic effect. Everyone who participated made at least one sculpture and many associates were very prolific in their art making. After the fourth class, and with one more to go, I have seen so much progress in terms of individuals participation and excitement about the project! Several associates who had been fairly quiet in past sessions were very enthusiastic about their artwork and excited to bring it home!

During the last class we did some colorful collaging inspired by butterfly wings. Though this part of the project was almost 1 month after the initial clay portion of the project, associates remembered us and there were ear to ear smiles and lots of laughs! I feel really great about the project and I think the associates really benefited from the exposure to different art mediums and poetry. I am looking forward to the event on April 16th!

I mounted the tiles on a frame that I built and this will be hung at Taylor Street Ovens for the event and potentially permanently!

 Some of the finished collages! Loved seeing so much color on the table!

Click here to read an article in the Advocate about the project!