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New Albany's Public Art Project Celebrates Bicentennial


New Albany turns 200 years old this year. To celebrate, the Indiana town has unveiled the final pieces of its Public Art Project. The series culminates this summer with a series of outdoor installations exploring New Albany’s history. Nine pieces of public art are currently up in downtown New Albany, including four new works installed last month to complete the four-year bicentennial project.This year’s four artists are interpreting themes dealing with New Albany’s art, culture and entertainment.“One big thing we’ve tried to do with this project is look at the whole 200 years of New Albany’s history, not just the founding of the city, but what’s happening today,” says Carnegie Center for Art and History curator Karen Gillenwater.  R. Michael Wimmer, who operates the WE Studio in downtown New Albany, created the 3D mixed media sculptures, “Sacks of Food,” suspended from the beams of the New Albany farmer’s market on Market Street. The sculptures evoke the popular movement of local foods and culture.Georgetown College art professor Boris Zakic’s “Painting,” a vivid example of gesturalism, covers the side of an historic building on Market Street. Over outside of Riverside Towers on Scribner Drive, Lee and Betty Benson’s wood sculpture, “The Stage That New Albany Built,” pays homage to New Albany’s theater community, and will be turned into lumber for a Habitat for Humanity building project after its two-year display period is over.Tiffany Carbonneau, an art professor at Bellarmine University, created “New Albany Now,” a video installation in collaboration with New Albany residents about how individuals document their own histories. The video projects every evening on the side of Wick’s Pizza on State Street.Gillenwater says Carbonneau’s installation explores how people collect and share their own histories today – essentially, that everyone is a potential history museum curator now.“So what she did was collect videos from the community that represented New Albany, and then she collaged them together in one 20-minute projection,” says Gillenwater. “Instead of looking at the past and how we’ve interpreted and documented history in the past, she was really focused on today.” Paper maps of the installations are available at the Carnegie Center, and interactive maps – a Google map with information on each piece of art, and a couple of smart phone apps – can be found on the Public Art Project’s website.The Carnegie Center also has a series of events planned throughout July to facilitate deeper engagement with the works of art.Saturday, July 6, 10 – 11:30 am“Making Found Object Art,” Youth Workshop led by Michael WimmerArtist Michael Wimmer will lead a workshop for middle-school youths about making art from found objects. Each youth should bring at least three disposable, non-breakable household items to work with such as buttons, broken toys, blocks, etc.  There will be a scavenger hunt followed by hands-on art making.  Registration required by July 2 (812-944-7336).  Limited to 15 middle-school-aged youths.  Participants should wear clothes they can get messy.  Saturday, July 20, 10 – 11 amArtist talk by Boris ZakicLearn more from Boris Zakic about the techniques of “gesturalist painting” that he uses in his art.  Gesturalism is defined as a type of “painting or drawing in which the line indicates the physical gesture used to create it.”  Zakic uses these techniques in a unique manner in his art works.  In addition to exploring his own approach, he will also talk about other artists who employ these techniques & extensions of “gesturalist painting,” including both its legacy and its future.  Free and open to the public.  Registration not required.  Saturday, July 20, 1 – 4 pmAdult Workshop, “Impasto: the Unlikely Stroke” led by Boris ZakicPainter Boris Zakic will lead a hands-on workshop for adult learners of all experience levels.  Through a series of guided exercises, participants will gain a sensitivity to “gesturalist painting,” along with experience performing formal analysis & the ability to engage in and relate one’s own creative ideas and intentions to the wider issues in visual culture.  The activities will include individual and group work exploring “pasty” brushstrokes, drawing studies using charcoal, a collaborative, large-format painting study and tool-making. Materials fee of $35 and registration required by July 17 (812-944-7336).  Limited to 10 adults.  Participants are strongly encouraged to attend Boris’s talk at 10 am, which will provide familiarity with a select set of techniques, ideas, artists and other extensions of “gesturalist painting” that will be referenced during the workshop.  Participants are invited to bring a lunch or visit a local restaurant between the programs. Tuesday, July 30, 6 – 8 pmDramatic performances by New Albany High School Theatre Arts Students*Students from the New Albany High School Theatre Arts program will perform original dramatic pieces inspired by the artworks of the New Albany Public Art Project: Bicentennial Series.  Attendees should meet at the Carnegie Center for Art and History.  We will depart at 6:00 pm from the Carnegie Center and walk as a group to the art sites for the performances.  Free and open to the public.  Registration not required. Featuring NAHS Theatre Arts students Nick Johnson, Aatiqah Shareef, Jack Amend, Jareth Gaddis, Lillie Weber, Bryce Montesa and Hannah Stoess.