Woo hoo! Here are some photos from painting-in-action this week. Warm thanks to all the volunteer painters who have helped so far, the folks who have bought Golden Bricks, and all of the people who have stopped to chat with us in the alley.
I love how new public art- and art in general- can open up conversation between strangers. So many people have been eager to engage with us about this piece, this project, and public space in general. This project seems to illustrate how important art can be for bringing people together.
Another one of my favorite things about this piece is it's abstract design. Many people will ask "what is it?" and instead of giving them an answer, I like to ask "what do you see?" This opens up the door to a thousand possibilities of what this mural is, what it represents, or what thoughts, feelings, or associations it provokes in others. Talking about and sharing these ideas with each other is an important way to build community and bridge imaginations.
We will be painting this Saturday, September 26th, from noon-ish on. Stop by and check it out!
After some considerable delay due to, among other things, negotiating with Alan Scheinman, the mural is finally coming into fruition! Last Tuesday Brian and Mike, who work for the neighboring parking garage, power washed the wall to prep it for paint. It was a magical sight early in the morning, watching these two guys wash the wall. They worked as a team inside the power washer's mist, washing and scrubbing to the tune of the humming machine, with the early morning light touching down on Kirkland Ave. It was satisfying washing the layers of dust, dirt, and decay dribble off the walls, uncovering the bright red bricks.
Yesterday we made our first mural marks on the walls with primer. This too felt like a great moment, as the mural has essentially been in the making since January. Priming went pretty quickly since we had some friends to stop by lend a hand. People walking by naturally noticed the shift from dingy red walls to bright white ones, and were curious what we were doing. Many people expressed their excitement over seeing a new mural being made, and we even recruited some volunteer painters to help us.
Obviously, the more people we can get to help us paint, the faster it will get done. Since it is already halfway through September, the days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, and it is important we get the mural done in a timely fashion. Please lend us a hand! We will be working in the alley this Tuesday, Sept 22nd late afternoon-evening, next Saturday, Sept 26th in the afternoon, and every Saturday after that until it's finished. We are also planning on painting during the week whenever people are around to help, so if you'd like to be on the Volunteer Mural Painter e-mail list, let me know and I'll sign you up! email@example.com. Again, no experience is necessary, we are basically doing the mural in a paint-by-numbers fashion.
Another quick reminder, Golden Bricks are available for purchase for $10 a pop. Money raised will go towards the project, and you'll get your name or words of your choosing painted on a golden brick in the mural. To donate, email me, stop by the alley, or stop by the breezeway behind the Guild to pick up a donation slip. Every little bit helps! Give in the name of art, community, a friend, child, parent, or a dream!
Starting this weekend (!!), construction on a new mural in Kirkland Ave will take place! A large, colorful, sweeping mural will adorn the Downtown Sounds wall. This public art piece is sure to brighten up Kirkland Ave, as well as breathe new life into Northampton's public art scene.
Ebenezer (Eben) Kling, a recent Northampton transplant from the outskirts of Boston, is the mural artist. Eben, in collaboration with Haley Morgan and Julia Handschuh from C3, and Joe and Barbara Blumenthal, who own Downtown Sounds, have designed a unique, site-specific mural that captures the seen and unseen, the imagined and the visible, and the past, present, and future. To get an idea of what the piece will look like, here is some of Eben's previous work. In order to see the real thing, however, you'll have to take a walk through Kirkland Ave yourself! We anticipate completing the mural mid-October, and will celebrate it's official unveiling with a party. More details on this happening coming soon.
You can be a part of this awesome project! We need help painting! We will be holding community painting parties (woo-hoo!) where you can drop in and lend a hand. No experience necessary! A list of painting party dates are as follows. Check back often for additional dates and times! Or sign up with Groundcrew for text-message reminders! Or shoot us an email and we'll keep you in the loop: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will continue selling Golden Bricks for $10 a piece to raise money to cover costs, upkeep, and a stipend for Eben! Help support this awesome project and donate today! Or tomorrow! Or both! A gift of $10 or more comes with a bonus: Your name or words of your choosing will be embedded into golden bricks that will be painted beneath the mural. YES!
*Check out Eben Kling's other current collaborative Northampton art project, Papergirl. So cool.
---------------------------------------------- The Kirkland Ave Project is a series of public art events, workshops, performances, and murals designed to bring people together to make art, think creatively, and build community in an alternative public space. This project is proudly presented bystorefrontART, a program ofCommonwealth Center for Change(C3), in partnership with theNorthampton Center for the Arts. ----------------------------------------------
Where is Kirkland Ave?!
Kirkland Ave is the alley way off of Pleasant St., sandwiched between Downtown Sounds and Northampton Wools, with La Fiorentina and the parking lot behind Thornes Marketplace at the other end.
We need your support!
Are you interested in making a DONATION to the Kirkland Ave Project? Please contact Haley@commonwealthcenter.org !
Haley is an artist, community organizer, and life enthusiast. She works with storefrontART, a program of Commonwealth Center for Change (C3), where she is the Kirkland Ave Project Manager and a member of the Board of Directors. She is a happy Hampshire College alum.