What's your dream city? Really. What's your Pepperland? Your Oz? Your Shangri La? That's what we're asking as we embark on the ambitious creation of Central Virginia's first major Art Park. A multi-acre sculpture-strolling, flowered and fountained, mural-festooned mecca that's open to ordinary folks, soon-to-be-friends and dreamers like you and me. Come on, we'll show you what it's like...
We envision a public, non-commercial, interactive space for residents and visitors alike – built on what's known as the IX warehouse property in Charlottesville, VA. With paths and shrubberies and benches ... a whole bunch of benches. And art. Like a Salvadori Dali landscape on Venus. Sculptures, murals, gardens and musical interludes. No, this isn't just dreaming. It's also action and execution. We are going to build this little slice of heaven this spring. Actually, whoops, we've already started.
Currently participating in the IX Art Park are 35 artists ranging from landscape architects to sculptors to muralists, as well as educators and community organizers – this project aims to engage the entire community in its design and fabrication. Among those participating are artists Beatrix Ost, William Atwood, Robert Strini, Russell Richards, Mark Edwards, Christian Breeden, Yax Lacy, Joseph Schepps, Javier Lorenzo and Donna Cain Carty – plus Sarah Lawson of Piedmont Council of the Arts, Ross McDermott from the Charlottesville Mural Project, Bridge PAI Director Matthew Slaats and Jody Kielbasa, Vice Provost for the Arts at UVA. Call them our Dream Team.
How will we ever do it? Community work sessions, art ins and midnight solo acts during a several-month build out. Nearly all works are to be created on premises utilizing artist-led citizen teams and school groups. We're going to have to be resourceful, folks. That's part of our creative task, too - as well as getting neighborhood buy in. We have the land. What we do with it is limited only by our imagination (and we all have one). Family friendly ideas, of course ... this isn't a Saatchi exhibit.
Also intended in the project scope is to teach career craft skills in metal, wood, concrete, glass, mosaic and tile. Yes, art can have a financial function. Furthermore, the IX Art Park intends to provide semi-permanent artist in residence studios, installation spaces and retail opportunities for the arts. The city needs them. We're thinking of a microcinema. A black box theater. And a public piazza. There might even be dancing. Do you tango? Or, maybe clog? Step?
How will your donation be spent? Every dollar you donate will pay directly for planning, materials (paint, wood, nails, concrete, steel, glass, etc), tools, labor and artist honorariums – each participating artist will receive an honorarium of $500 to $1000 for the development and construction of their artwork, depending on scope and difficulty of the project. How the heck are we going to create 52 original artworks with $20,000? We can't. But this gets us started.
While our kickstarter goal is $20,000 - eventually we're hoping to raise $60,000 for Stage One of the Art Park with this and other fundraisers, like a Rainbow Rush 5k Race on Memorial Day weekend. Frankly, we'll make as much art as we have funds for. (Imagine what we could make with $40 million.) Note to Donors: If we meet our goal of $20,000 we have a corporate backer who will match it!
Partial project list (pending funding):
- Schepps' Dragon - Joseph Schepps
- Art Invasion Mural - 12 Roanoke Artists (nearly completed)
- Love Trees - Beatrix Ost
- Mariposa el Vidrio - Javier Lorenzo, Steve Hunter, Miranda Watson
- Wall of Dreams - community project
- Before I Die - Douglas Olson, Dorothy Kolomeisky
- 2nd Stream - community project
- Pollock's Path - Devin Floyd
- Labyrinth - community project
- Zen Guard - Brian Wimer, Sallah Baloch
- Organumunagro Firma - Mark Edwards
- Concrete Jungle - Yax Lacy, Devin Floyd
- Tiresaurus - Brian Wimer, Jay Taylor, Sallah Baloch
- Super Slide - Ashley Florence
- Fountain - Byram
- Dreams of Flying - Brian Wimer
- People's Pipes - Lance Brenner
- 8 Art Benches - various
- 10 Picnic Tables - community project
It's a big idea. The kind that turns the tables (especially when they're picnic tables). With your support and our visionaries' visions, The IX Art Park could turn Charlottesville into a nationally-recognized center for urban artistic endeavor (and just plain awesome quality of life) – providing job creation, diversity, educational opportunities, tourism, dialog and social/community interaction with a lot of fresh air and fresh ideas. In other words, that city we've all been dreaming of. Please donate and join us in creating it today.
Phase One Timeline:
- April 1- 24: Kickstarter Campaign Funding
- April 5/6: community build
- April 13: IXistence light&sound installation @ Tom Tom Festival
- April 26: Dogwood Parade
- May 3: Bridge PAI Revel - Street Art installation
- May 10: Art Park Terrace Party (and fundraiser)
- May 17: community build
- May 17: Art Park Donors Party (and fundraiser)
- May 24: Fleaville at the IX Project
- May 25: Rainbow Rush & PicnIX (unofficial opening)
- May 25: Art Park VIP Party
(whew - thanks for reading!)
Risks and challenges
Once we get our funding, the fun begins. We have 52 individual works of art to create that are currently in our plan for the spring build out ... and countless more to conceive of. Yes, we've got lots of work to do.
It will be an iterative process. Artworks arrive (or are built on site) and the band plays on. We're not waiting until it's complete to let the public in. In fact, the public is going to help make it. So we have to coordinate community groups and school groups. We'll have work sessions that teach trade skills. And events along the way to bring new vitality to a former industrial zone - like Food Truck Fridays, Fleaville Markets and an occasional drive in movie.
Actually, we're making a movie, too. We're documenting the creation of the park to share how the intentions of these ambitious projects can be made manifest. We believe that the Art Park could mark Charlottesville as a cultural magnet and detail a national case study for artistic endeavor, community building and place making.
Yes, it might get messy. But we're leaving room for spontaneity and creative acts of foolishness. This is a dream park. We're still figuring out what our dreams will be. And we always will be.
And, if we are successful, we can fund more projects just like this.
- (24 days)