Plant and harvest a field of wheat that will be turned into strawbales and built into a contemporary art museum & performance space
Growing (Literally) A Contemporary Art Museum
For this project, I will plant a field of wheat that will be harvested, turned into strawbales --a safe, green, and proven construction material -- that will be used to build a museum of contemporary art. The field that supplies the wheat, will in turn become the grounds for the museum.
Phase One of the project will result in 1,500-1,750 square feet of gallery/ performance space for the exhibition of cutting edge contemporary visual artists from across the world, as well dance, performance, music and other culturally-enriching activities. Additional development utilizing green building techniques will be integrated into the future development plans of the facility.
The museum itself will be a work of art, a conceptual piece that will grow --literally and figuratively -- from the fields where it is planted and become a showcase for emerging artists and cultural development. The ultimate goal is a facility with a permanent and revolving collection of art of the moment in a post-post-modern world. Over time the facilities will allow for summer performance, residencies, and community education in the arts. The museum will also have robust online presence allowing for all shows, lectures and performance to be viewed in depth over the internet and have works designed specifically for online viewing.
The target location is Rockingham County (near Portsmouth), New Hampshire due to its close proximity to Boston, Manchester, and Portland and other population centers. The region is rich with artists, performers and writers, as well has leading universities and corporations. This region receives some of the heaviest tourism traffic in America, with scenic mountains, lakes and ocean access. It’s also served by major highways, numerous airports, and offers many destinations, hotels and restaurants. Best of all, it’s affordable and a project of this nature is deeply needed.
You have the unique opportunity to start an amazing cultural institution -- one that is more democratic than bureaucratic. This facility will be a 501c3 nonprofit with a mission to serve as a venue for living, breathing art of the moment.
Just the Facts
The museum will be a 501c3 nonprofit institution managed by professional artists and curators and governed by a board of directors. The museum will continue to raise funds after it is built for operations, exhibitions and events through a variety of fundraising mechanisms, including admission, events, auctions, the seeking of grants and donations and other recognized means.
The museum will keep a small permanent collection, but will mostly be focused on showing new works. If and when the physical plant of the institution expands, efforts will be placed on balancing the permanent collection with rotating shows. The museum will also keep a robust presence online, particularly for performance art, video, and work made with computing and online tools.
Straw-bale construction uses bales of straw, such as wheat or rye, as the building block of a structure. This construction method is a historically proven method of “green construction, due to the renewable nature of straw, cost, easy availability, and high insulation value (R-50). Strawbale buildings have been around for thousands of years. They are long lasting as well. The oldest strawbale houses in the U.S. were built 125 years ago and are still used as homes and businesses. They are also extraordinarily inexpensive, particularly when you can supply your own bales.
Several novices can erect all the walls in a day or two. Straw bales are stagger-stacked on top of one another, similar to bricks, to create the walls. The interior and exterior are normally finished with cement, plaster or stucco. They are amazingly fire resistant and excellent sound insulators.
My artist’s “palette” embodies the products and processes that generations of my family used to survive--both in Poland and upon immigrating to the United States. Wheat farming was their main occupation and plays a strong role in my work.
Wheat is among the most symbolically-loaded objects in history. In mythology, the Goddess Demeter, who represented fertility, agriculture and abundance, was symbolized by sheaves of wheat. Similarly, Osiris, god of the underworld, presentsthat will be made from it, and so forth.
Why a Museum?
As outside of New York, London and Los Angeles, there tends to be too few spaces for viewing contemporary art --living art of the moment. Even Boston's ICA does little to offset the widespread death of contemporary art galleries in the area. And too often museums are over merchandising works found in casinos and malls (looking your way Dale Chihuly and Shepard Fairey) and passing it off to a culture starved public as art.
Is this enough money?
Yes. Having consulted with numerous experts, this project can be brought in on budget even with some unexpected obstacles. Again, this is Phase One. Ultimately we are looking to create an operation funded by membership, sponsorships, and grants to pay for ongoing operations. Stay tuned for another Kickstarter project to build the next wing in a few years when the museum expands.
Are you designing it?
No. While I possess certain qualifications and sound knowledge of the trades, I’m not a trained architect. We’ll be engaging a highly experienced team on the design.
Where is it?
The site currently being scouted is in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, due to its proximity to population centers in Boston, Manchester, NH, and Portland, ME. It is also a noted tourism destination near the New England coast and home to numerous artists, writers, supporting cultural institutions, universities, and historical sites, with easy highway, train and airport accessibility. The area is cost- effective and offers multiple capacities for cultivating the crop on site as well as future expansion. In addition, the area has a thriving arts scene, but needs additional “anchors” to truly serve the region’s needs.
● Land (9.5 acres) $23,500
● Fertilizer --free
● Planting, tractor rental, and misc farm equipment $700
● Gravel for foundation--$175
● Polyethylene bags and barbed-wire for earth bags--$80
● Rented strawbailer and wire--$175
● Bamboo for external pinning --$75
● Galvanized R-profile metal sheeting for roof --$1,600
● Screws for polypropolyne washers--$60
● Wall pipe and connectors --$60
● Wood for windows and door bucks --$150
● External strapping materials-- $150
● Two 6' sliding glass doors (recycled) --$250
● Twelve single pane windows--$350
● Window calking --$110
● Lime and high clay content soil for adobe/lime plaster --$600
● Washed sand --$200
● County permits fees --$600
● Concrete for foundation-- $2000
● Insurance --$1700
● Legal and admin --$3500
● Five toilets $800
● Four 100 watt pv panels --$1800
● Six deep cycle acid batteries --$300 (refurbished)
● Two 300 watt sc-ac sinewave inverters --$300
● Battery cabels connectors wire and 12 volt lights --$450
● Solar hot water unit --$1100
● Wood burning stove (used)--$250
● Pipe and roof levee --$50
●Septic system --$700
● Extra plumbing --$500
● Extra electrical --$300
● Paint-- $200
● Pc/Mac wire router printer, server, etc --$2,750
● Shelving and cabinets-- $400
● Bathroom doors/frame --$200
● Lighting-- $2,750
● Security-- $300
● Desks and office supplies --$400
● Additions, misc., and overruns --$5,000
Current: Kickstarter proposal; Partnership development; Building plans; site selection; development of a non-profit.
Summer 2012: Land acquisition; Permiting; Soil testing, land clearing and crop planning;
Application for additional grants; and any additional fundraising.
Fall/Winter 2012: Planning; materials acquisition; programming; permitting; marketing; Application for additional grants; and any additional fundraising.
Spring 2013: Plant crop of wheat; planning; programming; marketing; Application for additional grants; and any additional fundraising.
Summer 2013: Cultivate crop of wheat; planning; programming; marketing; Application for additional grants; and any additional fundraising.
Fall 2013: Harvest crop of wheat; construct building; planning; programming; marketing; Application for additional grants; and any additional fundraising.
Winter 2013-Spring 2014: Finish construction of building; planning; programming; marketing; Application for additional grants; and any additional fundraising.
Summer 2014: DOORS OPEN
New England and New York-based artists, architects business people and educators are all getting involved with this project. We are in discussions with two leading architecture programs to collaborate on the short and long term planning and development of this facility. Updates will be posted regularly.
How else can you help?
The number one way is to use Kickstarter and help us get Phase One fully funded. This project can also use donated land, equipment (farming/building) and materials --as well as help with design, planning, and grant writing. If you have artistic, building, plumbing, electrical, farming, grant writing or managerial skills, let us know and we’ll be sure to have a job for you today and throughout the evolution of this project.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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