January 22, 2015

Ode to Joy

Here is a flashmob performing one of the best-known works of the repertoire of classical music: Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy) Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No.9. The symphony was the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony. Among critics, it is almost universally considered to be Beethoven’s greatest work, and is considered by many to be the greatest piece of western music ever written!

In 2001, Beethoven’s autograph score of the Ninth Symphony was added to the United Nations World Heritage List, becoming the first musical score to be so honored. The Philharmonic Society of London originally commissioned the symphony in 1817, when Beethoven was 47-years old. The main composition work was done between autumn 1822 and the completion of the autograph in February 1824. It celebrates a rich and interesting history since its premiered in Vienna in 1824. Today, it stands as one of the most played symphonies in the world.

January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

1.19.2015: Martin Luther King, Jr. was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.

"I Have a Dream" is a public speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963, in which he calls for an end to racism in the United States. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, the speech was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.

“I Have a Dream” is a public speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963, in which he calls for an end to racism in the United States. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, the speech was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.

The national Martin Luther King Day of Service was started by former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, who co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. The federal legislation challenges Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of Dr. King. This federal holiday in Dr. King’s honor was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.

The centerpiece for the memorial is based on a line from King's "I Have A Dream" speech: "Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope."  A 30 feet (9.1 m) high relief of Dr. King named the "Stone of Hope" stands past two other pieces of granite that symbolize the "mountain of despair."

The centerpiece for the memorial is based on a line from King’s “I Have A Dream” speech: “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” A 30 feet (9.1 m) high relief of Dr. King named the “Stone of Hope” stands past two other pieces of granite that symbolize the “mountain of despair.”

Visitors figuratively "pass through" the Mountain of Despair on the way to the Stone of Hope, symbolically "moving through the struggle as Dr. King did during his life."   The memorial is located on a 4-acre (1.6 ha) site in West Potomac Park that borders the Tidal Basin, southwest of the National Mall. The memorial is near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and is intended to create a visual "line of leadership" from the Lincoln Memorial, on whose steps King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington, to the Jefferson Memorial.

Visitors figuratively “pass through” the Mountain of Despair on the way to the Stone of Hope, symbolically “moving through the struggle as Dr. King did during his life.” The memorial is located on a 4-acre (1.6 ha) site in West Potomac Park that borders the Tidal Basin, southwest of the National Mall. The memorial is near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and is intended to create a visual “line of leadership” from the Lincoln Memorial, on whose steps King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington, to the Jefferson Memorial.

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One place outside the United States where Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed with equal importance is in the Japanese city of Hiroshima under mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, who holds a special banquet at the mayor’s office as an act of unifying his city’s call for peace with King’s message of human rights.

January 2, 2015

A Certain Slant of Light: Temporary Public Art

Among the sunniest public artworks on view now through August 23, 2015 in New York is American artist Spencer Finch’s (b. 1962) “A Certain Slant of Light” at the Morgan Library & Museum.

There’s a certain Slant of light
Winter Afternoons—
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes—

So goes the first stanza of “There’s a certain Slant of light,” Emily Dickinson’s doleful poem which addresses light as a suspect entity—a presence weighing down on those who observe its behavior. The light Dickinson describes, or some quality of it, now fills the Morgan Library and Museum’s cavernous Gilbert Court where artist Spencer Finch has created a site-specific installation named for Dickinson’s poem and further inspired by the Morgan’s collection of medieval Books of Hours.

The installation is inspired by the Morgan Library's great collection of medieval Books of Hours—beautiful, hand-painted works that served as personal prayer books for different times of the day and different periods of the year. Taking advantage of the Morgan's four-story, glass-enclosed courtyard, the artist applied films of color to the windows and hang additional glass panes in the center of the courtyard to create a kind of calendar based on the movement of the sun.

The installation is inspired by the Morgan Library’s great collection of medieval Books of Hours—beautiful, hand-painted works that served as personal prayer books for different times of the day and different periods of the year. Taking advantage of the Morgan’s four-story, glass-enclosed courtyard, the artist applied films of color to the windows and hang additional glass panes in the center of the courtyard to create a kind of calendar based on the movement of the sun. Image Caption: © The Morgan Library & Museum, Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2014, Artwork © Spencer Finch, 2014.

For this immersive installation, Finch covered many of the glass panes of the museum’s airy four-story atrium with rectangular sheets of translucent colored film. Suspended high overhead in the middle of the space is a set of clear glass squares, each freely turning in response to ambient air currents. As they turn, they reflect the sunlight filtered through the colored films, creating a crystalline, prismatic play of colors.

December 22, 2014

Iowa’s High Trestle Trail Bridge Graces Cover of American for the Arts

Americans for the Arts, which serves a network of organizations and individuals, has just released its 2015–2017 strategic plan with a key focus on building recognition for the transformative power of the arts in all of our lives and communities in new ways.

The report cover features High Trestle Trail Bridge, a project by artist David B. Dahlquist and a team of designers from RDG Planning & Design, Iowa.

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Located northwest of Des Moines, Iowa, the High Trestle Bridge spans the banks of the Des Moines River Valley and is located between the rural communities of Woodward and Madrid.

The "portals" or vertical elements that form a gateway to the Des Moines River Bridge are sculptural symbols that speak to this geology, the cutting and slicing of nature that forms this river valley.

The “portals” or vertical elements that form a gateway to the Des Moines River Bridge are sculptural symbols that speak to this geology, the cutting and slicing of nature that forms this river valley.

December 2, 2014

Public Art in Greater Des Moines Targets Community Innovation Challenge

Des Moines, IA: From more than 50 submissions the Innovation Investors with the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines have identified 4 IGNITE FINALISTS for the 2014 Challenge! A collaborative group will pitch their innovative idea to a community panel to determine the winners: first place prize of up to $30,000 and runner-up prize of up to $15,000. Winners will be announced December 4, 2014.

The idea is ART RTE (ärt raüt):
Think, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” with a route leading you to world-renowned art within our city, free for all to enjoy-24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. ART RTE unites 86 works of public art in Greater Des Moines with a nearly seven mile long, sustainably painted path, creating artful city sidewalks and five bold downtown intersections. The project is scalable and can expand into art pockets throughout the metro for a coordinated regional approach. ART RTE engages locals and visitors in a walkable and memorable experience. Drives economic impact to nearby businesses. Increases traffic and pedestrian safety. Leverages the existing Public Art Foundation’s geo-targeted, informational mobile app. ART RTE is innovative as it combines a unique experience with art, safety, education elements and health benefits. To date, the project is a collaboration between the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, City of Des Moines, Des Moines Police Department and Downtown Neighborhood Association. This project’s innovation is that Greater Des Moines would be the first city of its kind to combine a public art painted connector path with painted intersections. ART RTE is vibrant. Artistic. Cultural. Unique. Game changing.

This link provides more information.

November 18, 2014

Public art takes to the streets on public transit in Greater Des Moines

Public art is taking to the streets of Greater Des Moines in a new initiative that wraps artists’ one-of-a-kind designs on public transit buses.

The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation Project Spaces initiative, in partnership with the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART), will unveil the new public art initiative at 11 a.m. Thursday, November 20, 2014, at The Hub Spot Plaza on The Principal Riverwalk at Court Avenue and Water Street.

“The Public Art Foundation advances the best of public art through public and private collaborations. It is dedicated to envisioning, developing, and promoting public art projects such at this initiative,” said Paul Mankins, President of the Public Art Foundation Board and Principal of Substance Architecture. “Alex Brown, the first artist selected, is a Des Moines-based artist whose paintings have drawn international acclaim.”

Full Wrap Template

“We love introducing more art on DART,” said Kirstin Baer-Harding, DART marketing director. “We’re glad we could partner with the Public Art Foundation to help expose more people to great works of art by local artists.”

The bus wrap is the latest in a series of projects, supported through the Public Art Foundation’s PROJECTSPACES program, and follows temporary art installations at the Iowa State Fair in 2013 and 2014. Through PROJECTSPACES, the Public Art Foundation places compelling, temporary works of art in highly accessible and visible public spaces.

The bus wrap project began with an open call to all professional artists/artist teams, 18 and older, residing in the United States. Forty-five artists from 21 states submitted applications, over 328 images were reviewed, and five finalists were commissioned to create concept proposals. From these proposals, designs created by Alex Brown and Jay Vigon were chosen. Artist Alex Brown’s design is the first bus wrap to be fabricated. Jay Vigon’s design will be unveiled in 2015.

ABOUT ALEX BROWN

American artist Alex Brown (born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1966) earned a BFA in 1991 at Parsons School of Design in New York. His paintings have been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally in Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva, Zurich, Tokyo, and Paris. He lives and works in Des Moines. Brown’s artwork engages the viewer with everyday images that emerge out of abstraction. He manipulates the visual meaning of familiar objects. His process embraces humor and the joy of discovering an image that at first appears hidden, only to materialize out of shape and color.

ABOUT THE GREATER DES MOINES PUBLIC ART FOUNDATION

The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, established in 2004, recognizes that art belongs not just in galleries and museums, but in streetscapes, parks, buildings and infrastructures of a thriving community. Dedicated to envisioning, developing, advancing and promoting public art projects, the Public Art Foundation collaborates with local entities and artists to engage, inspire and enrich the lives of residents and visitors to the community. The goal is to increase awareness of our community as a world-class destination for public art. For more information about the Public Art Foundation, visit www.dsmpublicartfoundation.org.

ABOUT DART
The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority is the public transportation provider that serves Polk County. DART operates a family of transportation services that makes getting around the Greater Des Moines area easier and more convenient. For more information about DART services, schedules, route changes, or directions to the nearest DART stop, visit the website. The MyDART Tools and Trip Planner are now available.

RIDE DART TO THE UNVEILING
Attendees of the unveiling are encouraged to ride the D-Line Downtown Shuttle to the event. The D-Line loops through downtown on Grand Avenue and Locust Street and picks up passengers at any of the designated stops along the route. The D-Line is free to ride and departs from stops approximately every 10 minutes.

November 9, 2014

Glowing Balloons Trace Berlin Wall Route

The “Lichtgrenze,” or Border of Light, a temporary public art project is meant to evoke the brutal division of the past. At the same time, its use of modern materials and techniques symbolizes how much the city and the world around it have changed in a quarter-century.

To remind Berliners and others of the night when the Communist authorities effectively made it possible for East Germans to travel, Berlin organizers are retracing more than eight miles of the inner-city border with an installation of 8,000 illuminated balloons — biodegradable, of course, in this environmentally conscious country — which are to be released on tonight — 9 November 2014.

Read more about this extraordinary story in Melissa Eddy’s article in the New York Times.

November 9, 2014

Shaping Des Moines’ Public Spaces

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Cowles Commons is really taking shape. The lights have been installed, the concrete base for the Red Carpet is being poured and the first of the plantings are in the ground.

Project Architect Ken Smith and sculpture artist Jim Campbell were both in Des Moines last week and KCCI carried a piece about the project. You can see that here.

October 31, 2014

WOW! Jim Campbell’s light project in Hong Kong

The artist said: “The first time I went to Hong Kong about 12 years ago I had thought about what it might be like to program the lights on one of the tall buildings. I was already making work with LED lights and was fascinated with thinking about what kinds of imagery might work at that scale without overwhelming the audience. A decade later the opportunity has come to me and in a way the ICC building is the best building for me to explore in Hong Kong because of its relatively isolated location. The challenge has been trying to come up with imagery that works with the shape of the façades where each image is 8 times taller than it is wide. An odd shape for a “screen“. The final metaphor that I’m working with is to treat the 3 screens as parallel pathways where each path is without a beginning or an end, where each façade represents a window onto a much longer journey. It was clear in looking at different forms of human movement for this work that the smoothness of swimmers in water worked well with the inherently gravity defying up down motion forced by the shape of the building.”

Stay tuned for the unveiling of “Eclipse” — the artist’s new public art project at Cowles Common in Des Moines, Iowa!

October 29, 2014

Exploring Light

The Kinetica Art Fair has featured multiple installations that explored light using the latest technology to create art, such as the projection mapped sculpture.

Visual artist David Ogle‘s “O18015″ uses nylon fishing line that is stretched across an open space in a geometric grid and then illuminated with UV LED panels.

David Hadlow Ogle commented: "Much of my work to date has dealt with exploring notions of materiality, of permanence and of the perception of objects in space. Using light as a sculptural medium, my work is innately ephemeral. It begins as a set of strict mathematical procedures that are played out within an environment. The space simultaneously shapes the work and becomes manipulated by it.  Through negating material properties, my current practice seeks a mode of fragility. It rests on the edge between a sculptural form and an environmental effect of light within a space; a context from which the work is inseparable. Such pieces utilise both ambient and artificial light, channeling it and molding it into sculptural works that completely divorce themselves from static material: sculptures without mass and forms without structures. "

David Hadlow Ogle commented: “Much of my work to date has dealt with exploring notions of materiality, of permanence and of the perception of objects in space. Using light as a sculptural medium, my work is innately ephemeral. It begins as a set of strict mathematical procedures that are played out within an environment. The space simultaneously shapes the work and becomes manipulated by it.
Through negating material properties, my current practice seeks a mode of fragility. It rests on the edge between a sculptural form and an environmental effect of light within a space; a context from which the work is inseparable. Such pieces utilise both ambient and artificial light, channeling it and molding it into sculptural works that completely divorce themselves from static material: sculptures without mass and forms without structures. “

Check out the video below to learn more about the installations. The 2014 Kinetica Art Fair was held October 16-19 in London.