Friday, May 11, 2012

Dwelling: Bleecker Co-op Memorial Project

Red Dress Productions developed and led the Bleecker Co-op Memorial Project, an immersive and collaborative creative process that engaged contributors – co-op members, staff, directors, and neighbours – from October 2011 to March 2012.

We began with several conceptual development open-call consultations that featured arts-based research. Activities included telling stories, brainstorming, and exploring visual representations of our ideas using oil pastel, mixed media, styrofoam plate carving and printing on fabric and paper, and collage. 

The artwork site (Bleccker Co-op's lobby)
prior to creation and installatio
We also examined the space that the artwork would ultimately live in, and discussed function, space use and traffic, and other site-specific environmental and architectural elements.

 The following images present the site – in Bleecker Street Co-op’s lobby – prior to installation, and Anna Camilleri’s work as lead artist, which bridges the arts-based research and production, or the design transformation phase, and finally the artwork itself.

Discussions were documented, and all sketches, collages, and prints were photographed. This development process was anchored by our goal: to create a large-scale artwork through collaborative processes that memorializes founding manager Diane Frankling in the 20th year of Bleecker Coop's proud and inclusive community.

Dwelling, a mixed media installation spans the wall as pictured, on both sides of the opening. 

Actual artwork dimensions are 10'x4' and 3'4"x4'.
Lead visual artist Anna Camilleri stewarded the progression of this arts-based research into a design, and the studio was opened. Scroll down to earlier posts for extensive documentation of our open studio environment.
We built this piece together: 2500+ volunteer hours were invested into the creation of this artwork. What had been initially been conceived as a two-dimensional mosaic mural, grew into a large-scale mixed media artwork including carpentry, custom ceramic, collage, and mosaic. 

In tandem with the development of the large-scale artwork, we also ran two small projects: children printed 250+ custom thank you cards for project contributors, and created a large cauldron-like bowl where suggestions for the artwork title were received at the unveiling event.

The unveiling reception event – attended by 200+ contributors, co-op members, and neighbours – was held on Sunday March 25, 2012, and. Speakers included Councillor Pam McConnell, Ontario’s Human Rights Commissioner Barbara Hall, MPP Glen Murray, Executive Director of the Co-operative Federation of Toronto Tom Clement, and TAC Grants Officer Andrew Suri.

Approximately 45 titles were suggested by contributors;
Dwelling was selected.