City of Springfield, Missouri

Funding Received: 2013
Springfield, MO
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
January 30, 2014

As promised at the Art of Placemaking conference in Providence, Russ RuBert installed a huge version of the model that was built using coffee stir sticks during coffee breaks and breakout sessions at the conference. The model, only about 17” across, was realized on a large scale with hand-sawn boards of lumber 3 inches by 8 feet long. Held together by locking the boards into a woven, friction and leverage-based structure, the installation was about 40’ x 12’ high.

Assembled on the lawn of the ideaXfactory on fair-weather days using local volunteers, the structure was created in preparation for First Night, our downtown New Year’s Eve celebration of the arts. Highly promoted by the local press, the ideaxfactory did not disappoint!


On New Year’s Eve the outdoor installation tunnel was lit with cycling LED trails of colored light and framed by huge projections of swirling sticks animated across 160-foot wide historic silos, interspersed with projections of fireworks and artist rendered stop-motion animations by Julia RuBert and Shane Savage-Rumbaugh.


Indoors in the ideaXfactory, the sonic paintbrush and other innovative inventions by Russ RuBert created a constantly changing neon glow and spacey sounds against the backdrop of the Woven Lignon installation by Art of Space.

Inside that domed structure constructed by Art of Space using smaller sticks, visitors to the ideaXfactory sat on mats and assembled their own fanciful constructions using even smaller coffee stir sticks.

Recent Wins
-- More than 500 people visited the ideaXfactory between 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. on First Night.

-- The ideaXfactory was featured in the “Springfield News-Leader” wrap-up of significant art events for 2013 and in the weekend edition previewing New Year’s Eve activities.

-- In the nearby parking garage overlooking the Jordan Valley Park fireworks at midnight, an ideaXfactory volunteer saw a young boy constructing forms with a handful of coffee stir sticks that he had carried from the ideaXfactory. Eyes big, he said “I never want to stop building with sticks!”

-- Springfield City Manager Greg Burris appeared in a panel discussion on Ozak’s Public Television’s Sense of Community series featuring “What’s New in the Arts.” In response to the audience question “What is the role of the individual artist in Springfield and community?” Burris responded, “When you go to a city, you see the public art and architecture. Individual artists—if you look at our small downtown galleries and art centers such as Lemondrop, ideaXfactory, and Arts & Letters—those are individual artists working to create an incredible energy. Not only are they individual artists, they are entrepreneurs, and that’s what you see happening in IDEA Commons.”


-- Installation art can be community building when people work together to create large scale constructions. Successful projects require the planning and design by artists and a few volunteers who are bring their own skills, or are willing and able to train to work as part of a team.

-- Smaller scaled elements used to create models, test theories and building techniques can allow a larger public to participate in the spirit of the construction, help them to better understand the problems and potential of using the materials, and create a physical and emotional connection between the audience, the creator, and the construction process.

-- Long distance connections can be maintained by documentation through photography and video of the process and results. Social media can be used to build stories of the process of placemaking that both involves and communicates to wider audiences. You can see this in our Storify collection of images in preparation for, during and after First Night Springfield at the ideaXfactory.