About this project
Through the Trees is a public, interactive art installation in The Lot at ArtSpace, at the corner of Chapel and Orange St. in New Haven, CT. The installation will be up December/January 2013/2014.
The site functions as a place for remembrance and memorialization of those we have lost to violence in our city. We are working with numerous community organizations, non profits and New Haven schools to create sculptural ornamentation which will be assembled onto the branches of a dozen silver chrome, large scale, fabricated trees around the lot. The public will be given permission to draw, write and paint on the trees. This installation is a site to appreciate our resilence, to beautify an otherwise desolate space, to collaborate with one another, to remember anyone and everyone we have lost, to heal and to create.
The goals for this project are to:
-Create a platform in a neutral space in New Haven for people to talk about their experience with gun violence and react and respond on their own terms.
-Memorialize victims of violence in our community, Honoring them and reflecting through artistic thought and practice.
-Beautify and transform a space for the public to interact with, bringing joy, respect and wonder to a transitory desolate space through contribution and teamwork efforts.
-Binding, uniting, and strengthening community ties and developing connections via collaboration. An project in which ritual meaning and healing are the focal point.
-Increase awareness of gun violence in our community
The project is approved, construction is underway, and everything is set for the winter! We are seeking help from friends, family, the community, and anyone who believes in the power of art as a vessel for hope, beauty and life, or anyone who may have been effected by violence or tragedy, and knows the importance of unity and collaboration. All of the funding for this project will go to paying for art supplies for people to use in collaborating on the project, supplies for constructing and installing the trees, and printing promote and publicize the project. All the leftover art supplies will then be donated to local youth art programs.
In the spring of 2013, we were invited to curate a show at the State Legislative Office Building in Hartford Connecticut in conjunction with HealingNewtown, an incredible art center which became a hub for artwork sent in from across the world by artists of every age, medium and career following the tragedy at Sandy Hook. In addition, a call for entry was put out to the Connecticut school superintendents and principals, inviting them to contribute artwork by their students. This was intended to allow young people in our state to have a a voice and an opportunity to react and reflect on what the tragedy meant to them. We quickly realized that we were not getting any submissions from the cities in Connecticut. Both having grown up and gone to school in New Haven, we decided we wanted to try and bring focus to the issue here, and create a space for our community to have a voice.
Gun violence, and violence in general is a critical and emotional dialogue, and the reality is that our nation's cities face the reproccusions of this epidemic and are touched by the culture of gun violence daily. Our intention is not to "fix" anything, but to use our experience and love of art to open a dialogue, and bring awareness and reflection.
Risks and challenges
The interest and support for this project within the community has been immense and has allowed us to see that it is something people want. We are committed to making this a positive, inviting and engaging experience for everyone involved.
Because the project has been approved and we have begun construction, we do not anticipate any setbacks as far as completion. The challenges will be to 1. successfully collaborate with the local organizations involved to create an end result that is truly created by the community, no individual. And 2. the inevitable uncertainty of creating something in a public space which is meant to be engaged with by the public. We expect that a certain level of of defacing and vandalism will occur, but hope that as the sculptures are created by other members of the community and are being used by everyone, there will be a level of respect for the space. We are already inviting the public to graffiti and write on the sculptures, so this limits the possibilities for damage. These trees are not precious objects, they will be constantly altered, grow and accumulate markings and assembled objects.
We cannot predict how people will respond to this project, or its success. But if this project were to be a positive, effective community experience we would consider the possibility of it going to other cities.
With our skills and experience in fine arts, administration, and curatorial projects we believe we can accomplish our goals with this project, and problem solve through any bariers that may arise. But more importantly than qualification, we are both dedicated and passionate about this project, about its possibilities and about our community.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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