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Old Town AIR Update, January 2014

Hungry Hat Circus come to Bishop's Beach!
Hungry Hat Circus come to Bishop’s Beach!


Update: Two major components of our Old Town AIR Program are about to lift off; Our Old Town AIR Program and our Old Town Public Art Opportunity.  Bunnell’s Artist in Residence Coordinator, Michael Walsh updates:

•    “Old Town AIR: From 82 National applicants, a statewide panel of eleven people including professional Alaskan artists of diverse media, directors of various Alaskan arts non-profits, Alaska State Council on the Arts and Bunnell staff selected four finalists: nupiaq performance artist Allison Warden, Anchorage;   installation artist Jarod Charzewski,   Charleston, SC; sculptor, Adrien Segal, Oakland CA; African dance/percussion, Ibrahima Fofana www.soribafofana Santa Fe, NM. We have just issued contracts to these artists.”

•    “Old Town Public Art: From 65 national applicants, a statewide panel of 6 people including professional Alaskan artists, members of the City of Homer Public Art Committee, Department of Public Works, staff from Islands and Ocean and Bunnell selected four semi-finalists. Two for ephemeral public art include Jimmy Riordan (Alaska) and Amy Caron (Utah). Two for permanent public art include Rachelle Dowdy (Anchorage) and Adrien Segal (Oakland, CA). The panel, joined by Homer Public Works Director Carey Meyer, will meet on January 22 to select two finalists (one in each category).”

•    We are so thrilled to be kicking off the second half of our Old Town AIR Program.  And proof that our selection process was a success, we couldn’t be happier with our AIR finalists!  Each artist shows professional prowess, a priority for local participation and attention to Homer’s environmental surroundings.  They are all innovative and diverse!  We also feel incredibly confident with our finalists for our Public Art opportunity. A huge thanks to a partnership with the City of Homer’s City Council, the Park and Recreation Department and Homer’s Public Works Department. We look forward to announcing finalists by the end of the month!
•    Old Town Block Party will be a major celebration of our community, the positive impact of ArtPlace in Homer and it’s self-determination to continue after the grant cycle has finished.  We will be using our neighborhood and city partnerships to create a one-day event that shuts down car traffic for a day and opens up the streets to only pedestrian activity in the form of sharing local food, music, dance and performance! We will celebrate the intrinsic creativity and character of Homer.  Our Old Town landscape will have a new street culture when the block party commences in the summer, thanks to new blooming gardens, public art installations and more local pedestrian amenities. We. Will. Have. So. Much. To. CELEBRATE!
•    Homer, Bishop’s Beach and Bunnell Street Arts Center continues to be a harbor for creativity in all forms!
-The Hungry Hat Circus: The Hungry Hat Circus came to give our very own Bishop’s Beach and gave our locals an illuminating beach-sdie performance and even a few workshop opportunities!  Homer is speckled with such an array of artists, not lacking in our very own fire hoop and fire poi artists!  Bishop’s Beach sparkled with both locals and visiting performers who obviously know how to seize Alaska’s darkness and spirit!  Housing was provided by one of Bunnell’s most generous sponsors, the Old Inlet Trading Post B&B!  Homer local, Rose Grech commented: “It was cool to meet them before the show and hoop and juggle with them. The sun came out while we were playing outside. There were fire acts of all kinds from hooping, to large flaming knife juggling to belly dancing with fire and then balancing a flaming large sword/knife on her head. That’s a special treat in a fire show! There was also a couple dancing like in a play, no fire. That was different. At the end we brought the collected christmas trees to the beach for a bonfire. It was pretty hot. I even took my gloves off! Some of the performers continued spinning fire on the beach with the dark ocean in the background. Overall pretty amazing to do an outside show in winter. Its a great outdoor space with awesome views in daylight and then having quick beach access and parking space.”
– First local Poetry Slam and Youth Photography exhibit converge to create a dynamic experience at KBay Cafe!  This event aimed to address one of Homer’s weaknesses with one of our greatest strengths.  A community health assessment (developed by “MAPP,” Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships) reported Homer’s top two health risks are underage drinking and adult heavy and binge drinking.  The Homer Prevention Project organized a photography exhibit by addressing these two health concerns by celebrating Homer’s youth through their photography and poetry. While the exhibit was up, Homer also hosted their very first Poetry Slam.  Slam judge and community member Sierra Frost Smith said, “From now on the winner receives a notebook and adds one of their poems and it’s passes around as a collection. A few adults came to me the following days and were impressed with the teens courage and depth.” One of Homer’s biggest assets is our community’s ability to think and produce creatively, and this exhibit and performance is proof that this community can begin to remedy our own weaknesses by using our natural strengths!  And the fact the the Youth have done it?  Well how’s that for a home run?
– Cosmic Agents: Cosmic Agents is a group inspired by the number of youth creatives in Homer who are thinkers, doers and spontaneous art advocates with energy to give!  Bunnell recognized this creative youth sector last year and seasonally holds dinners for the agents, where they share ideas with Bunnell staff about how they would like us to help them engage within their community or emerge as a professional artist.  Bunnell is hopeful that this motivated and energetic group continues to feel activated and nurtured by Bunnell. We have been deepening roots as a statewide leader. Through Cosmic Agents and Old Town AIR outreach, Bunnell Street Arts Center is reaching a new and wider audience than ever before. Beyond that, the new and old relationships between Old Town sponsors and gallery members is more rewarding than ever!

•    Let all the spokes rotate and recognize we are all striving for the same thing.  When activating change in any community it is so important to celebrate the diverse forms in which it comes!  Whether it was inspired by you, or you were inspired by it… Recognizing that we are all committed to the same vision of a healthy, happy and vibrant community is essential to sustaining growth and change.  Lasting change is a fabric woven of many parts. We relish interconnection in every layer of change as Old Town AIR galvanizes and celebrates Homer’s growing vibrancy!

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