Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 29, 2013.

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I am raising funds to complete and transport a sculptural installation for Art Prize 2013 at UICA in Grand Rapids, MI.

cardboard model for Discern
cardboard model for Discern

What is ArtPrize?

ArtPrize®, which runs from Sept. 18 - Oct.6 2013, is the worlds largest art competition of its kind with 1524 entries displayed at 169 venues. Art Prize is very unique in its approach by allowing visitors the opportunity to vote and select the winners of the $560,000 in cash awards.

ArtPrize® began four years ago as an experiment—a totally new event, unlike anything the world had ever seen, filled with the experiments of artists and the opinions of everyone.

ArtPrize® was created to be a very different kind of art competition. It would decentralize the traditional, top-down art contest and bring public opinion into play.

Time magazine also named ArtPrize® one of "Five Festival Events You Won't Want to Miss in 2013."

Purpose for Asking for Your Help

The driving force behind this Kickstarter campaign is to raise funds to help defer the cost of completing and transporting a massive sculptural installation titled Discern to the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan (and possibly back ) for ArtPrize 2013.  For this journey I will be renting a 20' Uhaul truck with a whopping 10mpg!  This is by far my greatest expense.  I have been afforded the entire Monroe Gallery in UICA with a foot print of 38' by 32' and a ceiling height of almost 28'.

Although I use reclaimed materials there are still costs associated with the undertaking of such a large installation and transportation is the main one. The Uhaul rental and gas alone will cost almost $1000 each way. This will be my greatest expense of the journey followed by consumables such as lumber, glue, nails, screws, hardware, paint, saw blades and sand paper (lots of it!)

You Can Give More Than Your Money - although that is GREAT - There Is One More Thing...

I want to add your voice to the project, figuratively. My plan is to include handwritten letters into this project. Yes, handwritten on paper. No typed letters please.

Between July 1 and August 1 you will have an opportunity to mail me a letter describing a time when you were challenged with making a major decision, a change in direction in life, or just trying to figure things out. Each of us has a story. Each of us has and will continue to seek direction. This letter is really not to me, but a chance to put your thoughts into words. All letters received during the one month period will remain unopened.

Let me make this clear, I will not be reading the letters. Yet I will place each unopened letter in one of the approximately 70 pieces of luggage before the final piece of wood is in place and they will be sealed up forever. Your story becomes OUR STORY.

Please mail letters to Jason Ackman P.O. Box 63 Rushville, IL 62681

If you have made it this far and you want to read more about the details of the installation keep reading. 

Discern - A Description

I have been working on the concept for Discern since 2010 with the hope of one day entering it into Art Prize and this year seemed like a perfect time to make the jump. So I did and will now be exhibiting my work along with artists from all over the world.

Discern is an installation utilizing sculptures of luggage, ladders, rotary telephones and railroad push carts along with suspended ladders and telephone handsets sculpted from reclaimed wood.

Over the past few years I  have been working with concepts that deal with transition and discernment. This concept/installation is a result of much thought in regards to communication and how our life experiences affect what we choose to pursue and from where we seek direction to make those decisions. It really is a personal narrative in response to our world and how we navigate through it. The things we choose to listen to and the life experiences we choose to hold onto.

We are bombarded with all sorts of ways to communicate with the thought that we are somewhat closer to those we wish to communicate with.  Yet with all of these ways to communicate we have become overly distracted and disconnected.  Often times our “communication” comes in short phrases or abbreviated words.  Life experiences also have an impact on our communication as well.  The things we choose to hold onto, our baggage, our story, this has a tendency to influence where we go, what we do, and what we choose to pursue in life. Yet with all of our striving, our climbing, our movement our searching…it has made us a distant and distracted people.  We have not slowed down to seek direction from the one that we really need to communicate with.  Discern is my response to all of these thoughts.

Sculptural Elements of Discern

all carts will be constructed in this manner
all carts will be constructed in this manner

The installation includes 10 railroad style push carts loaded with luggage. Each cart (48″x28″x51″) will be placed next to a 10 -14 foot ladder extending upward towards the ceiling along with various pieces of luggage on the floor. I refer to these groupings as stations. These pieces of luggage, ladders and carts are all constructed from reclaimed lumber. Each cart will  also include a suitcase that opens and houses a pillow made from reclaimed clay with a rotary style phone made of reclaimed lumber resting on it. I would like to include a light fixture underneath each pillow as well.

ladders and luggage
ladders and luggage

From the ceiling of the venue I plan to suspend approximately 10 to 15 ladders along with approximately 40 wooden telephone handsets hanging by phone cords from wooden pulleys. Single bulb light fixtures with low wattage bulbs hanging throughout the installation are also a possibility.

rotary telephones in progress
rotary telephones in progress

All of these life-size sculptural pieces will be painted in washes of various gray values with the exception of one station that is in values of white. This one station will be located somewhere near the center of the installation with a ladder coming down as opposed to coming up along with a much stronger light than all the others.

handsets in progress
handsets in progress

Significance of Sculptural Elements

Much of the work I create has some sort of symbolic meaning or purpose.  In a way these pieces are similar to characters in a story, each with its own role and need to support the others. The rotary phone is symbolic of distance with the deception of closeness. The ceramic pillow cradles the rotary phone symbolizing its importance. The ladders are symbolic of our constant striving and straining for things that are just out of reach or wrong for us all together. The luggage relates to our life experiences that we tote around with us…for good or bad.  The carts are in a sense the vehicles in which we pack all of these things around with us.

creating a mold of my original sculpted clay pillow
creating a mold of my original sculpted clay pillow

Thank you for your support and encouragement. 

Help spread the word. 

Onward and Upward,

Jason

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Delivery times for rewards are estimates and I will do my best to fulfill them by the end of the month listed with each reward.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    6 backers

    For your pledge of $5 you will receive a big thank you and a huge hug from yours truly.

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    6 backers

    For your pledge of $20 you will receive a big thank you and a huge hug from yours truly. Plus, you will receive a signed postcard featuring my Art Prize installation at UICA.

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    7 backers

    For your pledge of $50 you will receive a signed limited edition screen print on reclaimed lumber and a signed postcard featuring my Art Prize installation at UICA.

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    8 backers

    For your pledge of $100 you will receive a signed limited edition screen print on reclaimed lumber and a signed 11x14 photo featuring my Art Prize installation at UICA.

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    For your pledge of $500 you will receive a personalized workshop utilizing reclaimed lumber for up to 5 people. Specific projects to be determined.

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    For your pledge of $1500 you will receive your choice of one of three sculptures. You may choose from either Things We Choose to Forget, Breach or Altarpiece to Things Forgotten. Sculpture availability will be based on date of donation. Basically, first come, first serve.

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Funding period

- (30 days)