Press Release 5/17/20
***For Immediate Release
East Ninth Project Team
Lawrence, KS 66044
Contact: Mandy Enfield, firstname.lastname@example.org, 913-406-4866
ART in the time of COVID, East Ninth Project Response
In October 2018, Rebuilding East Ninth Together was unveiled by the Lawrence Arts Center as a community-based compromise for the lengthy and emotional conflict that plagued the project for several years. With consensus between ELNA, the LAC, and project stakeholders, the largest public art project in Lawrence history acknowledged its contentious past and pressed on with renewed hope and energy. The spirit of this project revival has never been more relevant than it is now.
“Communities are often at their most creative, collaborative, and empathetic at times of disaster (...) Why? Because in order to recover and plan for the future, they need each other. And this can lead to new ways of working together and new solutions to formerly intractable problems.” -Original Rebuilding document written by David Loewenstein, Joshua Davis, and Cindy Maude
Community-based public art acknowledges its context, meaning the artists must consider history, place, time, culture, and community when building their work. These elements are ever shifting and COVID-19 is a perfect example of a life-imposed prompt, significantly altering our culture and environment. The crisis could not be allowed to lessen the project. The Project Team and artists saw this as a new opportunity for collaboration, imagination, and reaction to this challenge. It is an opportunity to showcase art’s ability to remind us of our collective identity, a resilient community that consistently rises from the ashes.
“We want the artists to use this chance to do something important, to use this lens to address and engage with the moment. That is what community-based public art is all about.” Mandy Enfield, Project Coordinator
The funder and artists immediately stepped up. ArtPlace America granted an extension through October 2020, a budget revision reallocated funds to support additional work, and artists began to engage the community in new ways. The project was always about addressing community needs and all 19 awarded projects embodied that value. We are proud that the established values of the project provided a solid foundation for artists to be nimble and react to changing community needs. Moreso, we are proud that the artists have chosen to shine brightly as a beacon of support, inspiration, and kindness in dark times with the healing power of art.
We encourage the community to explore and engage with these projects in their new forms. Visit www.rebuildingeastninth.com for all the project updates and read highlights below.
YARN IT FORWARD BY KIM BROOK AND IRENE TSUNETTA
The Yarn It Forward group excitedly announceD additions to their project. Looking for ways to still connect art and community during the Covid 19 crisis, they gave out 80 beginning crochet kits. Each free kit contained yarn, a crochet hook and crochet instructions. The kits were available on the Sunrise Project's porch and community pantry and were very popular! They will continue to distribute 20 more beginning crochet kits. In addition, their group is making a summer fun kit. This kit will have complete supplies and instructions for 3 art projects: tissue paper flowers, macrame, and Ojo De Dios. These will be available at the end of May for a suggested donation of $10 with proceeds going to the AME church in East Lawrence. Call Kim for a quote- 785-550-3501
EAST LAWRENCE SCULPTURE BY KENT SMITH AND MIKE RIGGS
In a direct response to COVID prompted community needs, Kent and Mike renvisioned their large “iconic” East Lawrence mystery sculpture to be built with found materials and forego the expensive steel and new supplies. The supply funds, along with their artists fees, were donated to JustFood to the tune of $6,750! Call Kent for a quote- 785-393-7764
SOUNDS OF EAST LAWRENCE WITH NICK CARSWELL
This project is perfectly suited for the “stay at home” order! Nick is asking for sounds to be shared over the phone. Got an East Lawrence story to tell? Call the Sounds of East Lawrence hotline and leave a message to 785 330-5099. You can also make a recording on your personal device (please attempt to ensure sound quality) and email it to Nick at email@example.com. Some prompts: What is your favorite place in the neighborhood? Tell us a story or a memory from your childhood in East Lawrence? What is a place that is no longer there? Your recordings will be collected and pinned to an interactive map of east Lawrence.
Check out the Sounds of East Lawrence website here: http://www.soundsofeastlawrence.com/
Plus, direct link to the map too: https://viewer.mapme.com/soel
Call Nick for a quote- 785-424-5236
APOTHEOSIS BY YOUTH CORPS ARTIST JUDE BLACK
Jude is using this time at home to construct a sculpture of a phoenix out of found plastic trash. Community members have collected orange juice caps, plastic spoons, and silly putty containers to help Jude create an image very relevant to our time.
PROPAGATING PLACE WITH KAITLYN STANLEY AND KELLY KINDSCHER
They are using the extra time to take the garden landscape to a new “level” with terraces and native limestone donated by BonBon. Additionally, they are offering a respite from the news and indoor life through social distanced gardening. Join them by bringing a relic to bury or donating time and tools for the effort. Call Kaitlyn for a quote 719-761-7203
CHANGE BY YOUTH CORPS ARTIST JAHNAVA SABILLA
This group piece has been adapted to become a solo, due to COVID19, and will be shared digitally in late August and hopefully as part of an in-person event. With a new title and song, appropriate to the times. “Change” will be performed to "Everything is Temporary (Sticks and Stones)" by Cavetown. The piece is about how change is difficult and constant in life, and how Lawrence has gone through numerous difficult changes and adapted through all of it.
These community elders will use the three bonus months to collect more oral histories to compliment the project. Please reach out if you have an historical nugget that you would like to share.
For more information on the project visit the website or contact any team members.