WHAT ARE YOU MAKING?
Sculptures of cast aluminum and acrylic paint. They look just like the historical markers found on country roads, in front of stone houses, or near scenic overlooks all over America, but instead of commemorating the site of a battle or a place where a famous person slept, these markers deal with contemporary social issues such as gender wage disparity, global warming, illegal immigration, taxes, health care and many, many others.
The sculptures are made of cast aluminum and acrylic paint and stand 96" tall.
The beauty of these sculptures is their ability to create contemplation. They get people to open their minds and to see some of today's most pressing social and political issues from, perhaps, a different perspective.
The people who stop and read them are united by their intellectual curiosity even if they're divided by partisan proclivities.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THEM?
The plan is to get them out in public and seen by as many people as possible.
I propose installing one of these markers in each of the 27 rest areas of the New York State Thruway.
THE NEW YORK STATE THRUWAY?
The Thruway connects the state's two largest cities, New York and Buffalo, and passes by most of the rest of them: Albany, Schenectady, Utica, Syracuse, and Rochester. Its mainline sections cover 496 miles and it is a major road for Canadian visitors to the U.S.. It’s the 5th busiest toll road in the country with about 271 million vehicles each year traveling more than 8 billion miles.
Up and down the length of the Thruway are 27 "travel plazas". Most of them provide food or gas or rest rooms and vending machines and a few of them simply provide a safe respite from the steady hustle of highway traffic. All of them provide a place to get out of your car, stretch your legs and collect your thoughts before resuming your journey.
In each one of these areas, I will install a sculpture, an "historical" marker with contemporary social content on it. The sculptures will look like official NY State historical markers but will highlight contemporary social issues. They will be safely and securely installed into the ground and will leave no trace of their presence after deinstallation. Insurance will be provided by the artist.
After the installation is completed, this individual piece will qualify as "The longest sculpture trail" in the world. The official recognition process has begun with Guinness World Records.
It will be in place from Independence Day weekend to election day in November.
HOW CAN I HELP?
The markers are expensive to make. The cost of materials keeps going up. Fabrication, installation, transportation, assistants, insurance, van rental, rewards and fulfillment . . . it all adds up and all of a sudden, it's a pricey project. 7 people at $10,000 each or 7000 people at $10 each or some combination thereof will get me going. But I don't just need money, I'm also going to need help installing these things, so if you're interested in digging holes and planting poles, please let me know.
REWARDS? YOU MENTIONED REWARDS?!
Yes, and here they are:
Risks and challenges
I've identified 3 New York State summer/fall tourism towns which would "host" these sculptures from July through November 2013 in the event that the necessary thruway permissions are not granted.
The towns are Woodstock, Montauk, and Saratoga Springs and the markers would be installed on private properties rather than state or town property. (Permissions from private land owners are always easier to procure.) Each town would get 9 sculptures to be displayed in and around the central commercial area of town.
My travel costs associated with installation and deinstallation would increase slightly, but the decrease in necessary insurance should offset it.
That said, my proposal to the state and the Thruway Authority (entitled "A proposal to create art tourism on the New York State Thruway" (http://issuu.com/normmagnusson/docs/nys_thruway_project_10_jan)) is, if I say so myself, a wonderful presentation and so far, it has been well-received by all the officials who have seen it.
Still, it's nice to have a fall back position which is a lovely proposal in its own right.
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