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Old Town AIR Update, February 2014

Ibrahima “Soriba” & Shelley Fofana share with the community of Homer the spirit and joy of West African dance and drumming.
Ibrahima “Soriba” & Shelley Fofana share with the community of Homer the spirit and joy of West African dance and drumming.



Bunnell Street Arts Center announces finalists for 2014 Old Town Artist in Residence and Old Town Public Art!  Artist in Residence Coordinator, Michael Walsh has been finalizing contracts with our selected AIR finalists.  We are over the moon with excitement as our first visiting artists arrive, Ibrahima “Soriba” and Shelly Fofana.  The community of Old Town Homer will be gathering per-usual-potluck style to welcome our special visitors, and will be eager to drum their introductions on into the night!



Our long awaited Old Town Artist in Residence AND Public Art selections are as follows:

Ibrahima “Soriba” and Shelley Fofana, February 15-March 9.

Ibrahima “Soriba” & Shelley Fofana from Santa Fe, New Mexico will share with the community of Homer the spirit and joy of West African dance and drumming. Through immersion into the traditional rhythms and songs from Guinea, West Africa, these artists will, “bring together all cultures and share the relevance of this art form through dance and drumming and its connection to sacred forms of living as we exist within community.” During the residency the Fofanas will work with locals from preschoolers to performing artists and use local resources to create a performance piece to explore the many facets of Guinea music and dance within its cultural context. This will include dance, drumming, dundun dance (dance and drumming in unison), and traditional songs and music and video imagery.

The Fofanas will give an Artist Talk “The Culture of Dance and Drumming in Guinea” on February 16 they will introduce the public to the idea of a culture which honors and supports it’s musicians and dancers as an integral piece of daily life.

For more information about Soriba and Shelley Fofana visit their website here.

Allison Warden, March 1-31

Inupiaq Alaskan performance artist, Allison Warden will focus on creating a new piece of theater, tentatively titled, “Let Glow.” The show explores ways that we seek love in this modern age and how technology can be a deterrent to real intimacy and connection to place. Warden will use her time to research and draft the proposed interactive play. Warden’s goal is to present a staged reading of “Let Glow,” in which she invites the audience to workshop the interactive elements of the script and provide feedback. During her residency Warden will offer an artist talk, a workshop and a staged reading of “Let Glow.” Warden’s artist talk will focus on how she finds sources that inspire, connecting the dots between inspiration and the intended objective of her staged work. Warden will offer a workshop guiding participants through the statue theater technique, moving through increasingly complex levels of the activity to explore sharing stories through montage statues which will eventually speak. Warden says, “ ‘Let Glow,’ focuses on finding love: self-love, community acceptance and place, family-healing love and romantic love.’ The audience is engaged in and throughout the piece, invited to participate physically and through written and spoken word. ‘My intention is that each audience member leaves the experience feeling hopeful, more connected to community.’”

Jarod Charzewski, March 25-April 13

Charleston, South Carolina-based installation artist, Jarod Charzewski will build a site-specific installation referencing western civilizations consumer culture. Charzewski will select materials that are abundant in the Homer area. By using the forgotten, discarded or non-precious yet usable items and materials as the medium, the objective will be to create an immersive landscape for gallery viewers to experience. The artistic process begins with a design phase that works specifically with the unique elements of Bunnell’s exhibition space with consideration to lighting, entrances, passageways and architectural features. Charzewski says, “I look forward to engaging with the public in Homer. My work has always included local people in a very hands-on way. The outreach program I propose involves interested participants helping to create the piece. Those committed volunteers become collaborators through conversation and transference of skills as we work side by side. The artist and assistant relationship is one I have been on both sides of so I fully recognize and appreciate the time spent for each person. The commodities of both time and space, as well as a community of creative people for dialogue, are invaluable to my creative and professional development. Furthermore, teaching is an integral part of my artistic practice, and I do not leave it behind in the classroom. While at the Bunnell Street Arts Center, I will bring those elements of teaching and mentorship to my daily practice and interactions with the public and volunteers.”

For more information about Jarod Charzewski visit his website here.

Adrien Segal, May 1-31

Oakland, California-based sculptor, Adrien Segal will provide a residency combining local investigation and shared experiences. Segal will begin by offering a community workshop series on carving and whittling. The second objective is to collaborate with local scientific researchers to gather site-specific data, which will inform a sculptural investigation. Segal will present her creative process in the gallery space and invite public interaction as experiment, design, and respond to the landscape. Using local materials gathered from around the town, the whittling and carving will introduce participants from the community to the self-sustaining and hands-on practice of carving objects from found wood. Everyone will have the chance to carve a piece of wood into a small sculpture or a useful object, such as a spoon, which they can take home at the end of the day. Emphasizing problem-solving skills, technique, and play, the workshop will cover functional design and woodworking basics, including grain direction, tool safety, reductive shaping, and food safe finishes. A second, more in-depth session will follow. Segal says, “The landscape is a great influence in my inter-disciplinary and process-intensive studio practice. In past projects, I have used data from NOAA and the NRCS, and collaborated with the USGS to create sculptures that communicate scientific information as sculptural forms. I will use the time at the Residency to collaborate with an organization that conducts scientific research in Homer’s unique natural setting that would be translated into sculptural forms such as Kachemak Bay Research Reserve, which monitors sea level rise, changes in fresh and marine water temperature, storm events, and coastal uplift. I will set up a temporary studio and installation space in the gallery, with which I will display my process of interpreting and translating scientific data into aesthetically engaging sculptures that can be experienced by the body. A compilation of this research, including drawings, models, material experiments, and found objects, would be thoughtfully organized into a process installation in the gallery. I plan for the research to culminate with a site-specific installation of a data sculpture in the Gallery. I will hold open studio hours where I will be on-site and available to the public for visits, questions, and conversations about data, science, and creativity.”

For more information about Adrien Segal visit her website here.

Old Town Public Art Finalists

In addition to selecting four national artists residencies, a statewide panel selected two artists for public art installations in Old Town Homer. Alaskan artists beat out stiff national competition for permanent and ephemeral art installations at Bishop’s Beach.

Rachelle Dowdy was selected for the permanent public art installation. She will create an eight-foot ferro-concrete loon figure standing on a concrete pedestal adding about 20 inches to the overall height. Affixed to an aluminum mounting plate and additionally supported through the sculpture’s fist soars a commercial grade windsock on a 12’ pole. She says, “This anthropomorphic sculpture is not only a reminder of our shared space, but the windsock gives us an instant visual cue to the immediate conditions we are about to immerse ourselves into.”

Jimmy Riordan teams up with Jesus Landin Torrez III and Michael Gerace for an ephemeral installation called “Searching for the Sublime at the End of the Road.” They invite the community of Homer and Alaskan artists to help activate a temporary structure on Bishop’s Beach built of local clay and then fired. It will be a base camp for a series of art actions including walks, performances, readings, dinners and fireside chats. “Using various forms of documentation we will create an interactive digital archive of these events including impromptu discussions and discoveries springing up around the construction of the clay structure. This archive will be housed in an Apple MiPad and displayed at Bunnell Street Arts Center.”

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It’s amazing to think of how much support this project has needed from the beginning to get to this long awaited Residency launching point.  What is profound about that is every one now owns a piece of the success to come.  The thought is short, but community galvanization is hinged on knowing you had something to do with that success.  The diverse buy-in; forms of land, money, materials, and long-term stewardship that our community has invested will ultimately gauge the program’s success as we bring outside artists inside our tiny nestle of Homer.  I thought this grant and this AIR Program would give an example to Homer- Maybe, Of what we always should have been.  But I’m finding that this community is using this initiative to give an example to the entire state- Of how we all can be.

Bunnell’s Assistant Director, Adele Groning visited Juneau to participate in Alaska State Council on the Art’s legislature and attend the Governor’s Awards for the Arts; “I spoke to Senator Micciche and Rep Seaton about our Creative Placemaking successes, and they are both supportive of our efforts. Pretty interesting to stand next to the Conoco Philips lobby, and education lobbies, and fishing groups and think about how much we do with just 1% for the arts. It was a beautiful collaborative effort by ASCA, the Humanities Forum, and Museums Alaska.  Lots of connections and a sense of unity. Jamie Bennet, the new director of ArtPlace, was there with Jayson Smart of the Rasmuson Foundation. I visited with them and with Roger Schmidt from the Fine Arts Camp in Sitka (another Artplace awardee) about our Creative Placemaking efforts. What is interesting is that these small grassroots arts organizations are succeeding where entrenched interests and bureaucratic gridlock have failed. And that our message is one of abundance: What can the arts do for you, for all of us.”




Thank you ArtPlace America and every supportive effort from the town of Homer, Alaska!

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