For our first full-force outdoor event at the ideaXfactory, the weeks leading up to the Contemporary Art Street Jam on July 5-6 were filled with working out logistics of getting a street closure permit, building an outdoor stage, getting a high-powered digital projector, and engineering the electrical, lighting and sound for performances. We had to mobilize our local artists and arts groups and schedule local bands.
To see photos from the event, check out our Flickr photo gallery: Contemporary Art Street Jam 2013 which is also fun to view as a slideshow!
-Thirteen local artists painted live art 4′ x 8′ murals in the street
-Drury University’s Art of Space completed its seventh major public art construction
-Hundreds of people created robot sculptures using recycled junk
-Sections of a public art mosaic were made by attendees
-Mini-workshops were taught in zine-bookmaking and letterpress printing
-Missouri State University and Drury University ceramics faculty collaborated for live raku pottery firings
-Bubble art painting, jewelry-making demonstrations, and yarn bombing
-Springfield Art Museum hosted a public art discussion with four panelists and audience participation
-PechaKucha X featuring local presentations by nine local creatives, educators and artists was attended by over 200
-Projection images for the Art Museum and PechaKucha covered approximately a 30′ x 30′ section of the outside wall of the ideaXfactory
-Harmonic Wall installation was played by local DJ’s experimenting with the innovative Phosaphon light-sound instrument
-Aviary Cafe and Creperie food truck served lunch and dinner in an outdoor cafe setting
-Seven local bands performed
-Springfield, MO was the featured focus city on the front page of the worldwide Tokyo-based website http://PechaKucha.org for a full week leading up to the event, and City Manager Greg Burris mentioned this in his bi-monthly report to Springfield City Council.
-The Springfield Art Museum — which is located in a suburban neighborhood — was given a large downtown presence and also opened up public dialogue during the Friday evening “Graffiti and Contemporary Art Panel Discussion.”
-Neighboring member-based Squidfoo Art Gallery and Hacker Space attracted a large number of new visitors throughout the weekend.
-Missouri State University Ceramics Department will be joining the rest of the MSU Art + Design Departments next to ideaXfactory in the fall. PechaKucha X and the raku demonstrations gave department head Keith Ekstam the platform to announce the move of 200 more students to downtown Brick City.
Other media coverage:
KOLR- TV10 preview interview and live painting demonstration: http://www.ozarksfirst.com/story/contemporary-art-street-jam/d/story/9uTtcmKe9UORxFSl8jc0ug
Springfield NewsLeader feature in Thursday’s weekend magazine
Based on previous experience creating art and events outdoors, we had the intuition that outdoor events are more welcoming, draw more diverse audiences, and encourage more social interaction between artists, audiences, and participants. The National Endowment for the Arts “Live From Your Neighborhood: A National Study of Outdoor Arts Festivals” seems to confirm this.
By including diverse groups and individual artists, we were able to provide a wide variety of activities that appealed to many different ages. Early in the planning we did not pre-suppose what people would contribute. We called on friends and associates that we knew and said, “Here’s what we are doing. Would you like to be involved, and what would you like to bring to the event?”
Each of the local bands drew their fan base, as did the PechaKucha presenters. Mixing band performances with the more academic Contemporary Art discussion created an interesting overlap of different audiences.
The Mayor and his wife attended the Art Museum discussion and the City Manager and his wife attended Friday evening activities. We had folding chairs for 100, and many people brought their own chairs and blankets and sat on the grass, brick wall and sidewalk to watch performances. The event was volunteer-based and managed.
During informal surveys of attendees, several people actually got teary-eyed as they made comments like, “I’ve waited a long time for something like this to happen,” and, “I always wanted Springfield to be like this.”
After clean-up on Saturday night, ideaXfactory artistic director Russ RuBert and other collaborating artists lounged inside the Art of Space sculpture and brainstormed late into the night about a future with greater artist involvement creating positive change in our city.