Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Keys for the City, an Installation

(Above: Keys for the City, a store front window installation. Click on image to enlarge.)

The sculptural door units covered with framed and unframed keys came back from my exhibition in Charleston to the old Tapp's Department store display window. All the tagged keys from the same exhibition were also used....plus more than three times the number of tagged keys which I made last month. That's easily over 900 tagged keys....and, unbelievably, I could have used even more!

So....what have I been doing with all these keys? I've been reconfiguring the work into KEYS FOR THE CITY, an installation. This is all part of a major project to turn the former department store at the corner of Main and Blanding Streets into a new arts complex. The store has been closed for several years. This is a great initiative to revitalize the Columbia downtown area. I've included the "official" information from the organization's Facebook Page far below...just under the arts complex logo. To see more about this project, just CLICK HERE. Brenda Schwarz Miller is spearheading the entire thing and even took several of the photos on this blog post. She's doing a terrific job....and providing opportunities like this for lots of local artists, including me.

To start with.....

....this is the Tapp's Department store....corner of Blanding and Main in Columbia, SC.

Above is "my corner window". I hung some of my chiffon banners inside (also from my Charleston show). These are free motion embroidered with "decisions" and blocked people's view for the past three weeks and while I worked inside over the past weekend.

Above: Another photo of "my window" with the hanging chiffon banners. Click on any image to enlarge.

Over the weekend I started hanging over 300 tagged keys using #4 fishing mono-filament.

Above: Another photo of me hanging the keys. The window came with a great grid attached to the ceiling. I hung approximately eight keys from each "square" in the grid. It took over seven hours total.....

....but the look was exactly what I'd envisioned!

On Sunday night (Halloween), I finally took down the chiffon banners.....

....and swept the carpeting....

....and scattered/arranged the remaining tagged keys on the floor, near the window, where their tags can be easily read from outside.

Above is another local artist, Amanda Ladymon and her fiance Eric Stockard. Amanda also has a most interesting fiber sculpture in one of the other storefront windows. Eric (along with his father) is a co-owner of S and S art supply, which is located about a block away. We are all looking forward to the First Thursday art crawl, which is the official unveiling of the storefront window project at Tapp's. I'll hopefully have more photos.

Yet, the person I most wanted to see this installation was my Dad. Easily two quarters of the keys in this installation were collected by him over years and years. Yesterday, my Mom and Dad came through town on their return from a time-share in Hilton Head.

Above: My Dad's reflection in the window. He's looking at all the keys that once opened doors in his life. There's a lot to reflect upon.....all the keys are tagged....."Key to Happiness", "Key to Wisdom", "Key to Success"... or love or respect or knowledge or faith....etc. I hope people seeing the installation reflect on these qualities....for themselves and for the city and for the future of this arts venture.

Above: Main Street reflected into KEYS FOR THE CITY.

NOW .... To change the subject entirely .... to Halloween at the stroke of midnight ... just as All Saint's Day begins ... the exact hour between the "sacred and the profane" ... the perfect time to burn all the petitions that hundreds of people deposited into the provided Plexi-Glass box during the past two showings of Blues Chapel ... at the Denton Arts Council's Gough Gallery last November through January and at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios in February. (Links to each exhibition!) My Altar for Forgiveness encouraged people to write their petition and put it in the box. The sign promised that I would burn them at midnight on Halloween without reading a single word.

Thus....we put them all into the hallow tree stump that marks our "pet cemetery" in the backyard.

Steve (and his assistant Max, one of our three cats) lit the match.

Everything caught fire.

It all went up in smoke.

Finally, we worked for about fifteen minutes to extinguish all the embers by dousing the ground and stump in pond water. It was a lovely, lovely evening and a special way to remember my exhibitions during the past year. It was also a time to send our prayers up to heaven for the coming year.

Finally.....the logo for the Tapp's Center for the Arts and the information about this project!

Join us at Tapp’s to meet artists, view original artwork and enjoy live demonstrations and local music. This month The White Mule will be providing food and a cash bar! We are excited to join Frame of Mind, S&S Art Supply, Columbia Museum of Art and others in this rapidly growing, creativity-filled event series. Our first event at Tapp’s on October 7th was fantastic! We hope that was only the first of many artful events to come!...
This month we will “Reveal” the Window Installation Series! Local artists, art groups and businesses will use the Tapp’s windows to create a unique installation of their artwork. This month featured in the exterior windows are Susan Lenz, Amanda Ladymon, Molly Harrell, Mathew John, Amy Windland, Kimberly Bookman, Porter Dodd, Sandra Carr, Southern Pottery and Corley Mill Artists Group. And in the interior windows are Pat Stone, Jefferson Vimana, Alex Smith, Half Moon Pottery and Nancy Kauffman. The windows will remain on display for two months to promote the Tapp’s Window Installation Series and the participating artists.
Other exhibiting artists include: Whitney Lejeune, Jamie Blackburn, Ellin Baskin, Charlotte Lindsey Gaskins, Carolyn McLaughlin, Jean Bourque, Vanessa Bussey, JJ Casey, Cheryl Coble, Brenda Schwarz Miller, Sam Compton, Carol Anderson, Tam Hicks, Jennifer Ghelardini, Benira Sutphin, Val Zaba, Sue Shrader, Rachel Thomason, Howard Hunt, Carolyn Cobia, June Tucarella, Bryce Dixon and Rachelle Brundage.
Also, outside in the “Plein Air Studio” at Tapp’s Plaza get a live view of a clay sculpture demonstration by John Sharp ad a wood turning demonstration by Kirk Miller. Inside Carolyn McLaughlin will be demonstrating “gourd-burning”.
Music for November will be courtesy of Johnny Cromer.
For more information on this or future events at Tapp’s please contact Brenda Schwarz Miller at (803) 609-3479 or email brenda@realworldartisans.com. Become a Facebook fan of Tapp’s Arts Center Project!


Julie said...

Fabulous! Your arms must have been dropping off after hanging all those keys but what a great installation and great that your Dad should be able to see it. I hope the show is a great success for you and all the artists involved and for Tapps.

Lynn said...

Do you think your husband would be to jealous if I admit to being in love with your mind?

I so love all this art, the key hanging and on the carpet is beyond awesome! Your ideas come to such beautiful fruition.

So happy your dad is part of this installation, what a tribute to him.
And all those keys and their meanings............... Wow!

Hugs from me! You Rock again!!!!

Wonderful about opening the old store into an art gallery. Wow, wow!!

Cindi said...

Love this -- posted it to my FB wall, hope that's cool. (BTW, Amanda & Eric are engaged but not yet wed.)
See you Thursday!

Susan said...

Thanks Cindi!
I've edited the caption!

Perpetua said...

Great installation! I love the key---- It's a pretty Heavy Icon---and you used them beautifully!! Congrats!

Elizabeth said...

What a fabulous project to reviatlize the downtown!! I love it when projects like this are envisioned and then allowed to move forward!! BrAVO to all of you!! YOur key installation makes my shoulders ache!!!! SO very cool though!!
I love the Tapps LOGO someone did a fabulous job with that!! I hoep that you will keep us up to date on how things go during the Thursday Arts Crawl!!!!

beadbabe49 said...

The installation looks wonderful from the photos and what a great way to publicize the renovation of the dept. store into an arts building!

Susan Nash said...

You are an inspiration! I can't figure out how you find the time to do all that you do....amazing. Thank you!!

Nina Lindgren said...


thank you so much for sharing this. inspiring.

raquel said...

me gusta mucho todo lo que haces


I hope the stump survived..it's so fantastic!