On Saturday, June 13 we held an Opening for my ‘Core Values’ and ‘Ground Form’ installations at the Aidron Duckworth Museum in Meriden, New Hampshire. For me, the piece was a meditation on our society’s inaction on climate change, as well as a meditation on color and form. It was gratifying to have some 50 people attend the event. Many thanks to Museum Trustee Grace W. Harde for having made the event possible and to Colleen Bozuwa for having produced the above video of the Opening.
I am equally grateful to Tracy Penfield and Lucia Gagliardone who offered an improvised dance performance among the installations. The dance was conducted in silence to focus our attention on the piece in that moment. So we all heard birds, car alarms and the occasional motorcycle. It was wonderful to see the piece surrounded by people responding to the color and forms through dance, a child climbing, people throwing frisbees and others engaged in quiet contemplation.
Comments I heard from attendees included:
I don’t consider myself artistic. For me art is a new way of thinking about things that are foreign to me. It’s just a cool way of thinking about things. My perception of artists is that they have a need to express themselves. What I get out of it is another perspective that is new and different and appreciated. It leaves me in awe because I don’t do that naturally.
How wonderful, Jay! I loved the colors, the shapes, the way they relate to one another, the grace of the dancers, the green setting… The whole presentation calls up a peaceful, thought-provoking mindset. Thank you for sharing your work with us.
Aidron Duckworth Museum Installations
I have an opening at the Aidron Duckworth Museum in Meriden, New Hampshire on Saturday, June 13 from 3-6pm. I have installed the polychromatic “Core Values” which is a meditation on our society’s inaction around climate change, as well as “Ground Form.” Both employ many painted saplings, above, which will be on the grounds of the Museum through 1 November. Learn more here.
I will likely be creating something new for SculptureFest this year, which opens on Labor Day at King Farm, Woodstock, Vermont. I will also probably be showing work in collaboration with an artist collective known as “ECO-visions.” Learn more here.
Looking forward to seeing many of you in Meriden and Woodstock!
In an effort to expose students to sustainability through art, Mount Holyoke College invited artist Jay Mead to campus on April 9th and 10th to lead a workshop on the “Art of Sustainability,” deliver the Miller Worley Environmental Leadership Lecture and facilitate a community art installation entitled “The Spirits of Sustainability.”
Art of Sustainability Workshop
On April 9th, Jay led a workshop with Professor Serin Houston’s 15 “Sense of Place, Sense of Planet” Geography students. Using found natural materials such as mud, seeds, grasses, bark, wild scallions, leaves, sticks, rocks, acorns, trees, water, flowers and snow, students created art installations around a lake on campus. During the second half of class, students described their processes and pieces, and Jay offered his own observations into the creative dynamics underpinning the installations. Students’ stories travelled from the past to the present to the future and touched on a range of themes including identity, wonder, success and home. While this workshop was a wonderful exercise in the diversity of expression and interest, additionally, the students were given time to engage in serious play with natural materials. Jay emphasized that such creative exercises allow participants to experience deep right brain thinking. Such thinking can lead to insights into issues of personal and global sustainability.
Miller Worley Environmental Leadership Lecture
That evening Jay presented a public talk on “The Art of Sustainability” to about 50 people. He discussed what it is like to live in the “Cobb Hill” eco-village in rural Vermont and how sustainability inspires the art he creates. “The first thing is love,” Jay told the assembled faculty, staff and students at Mount Holyoke College. “You have to fight for something you love. You have to engage your heart.” He went on to say that “Sustainability needs to flow from the heart and be so integrated into the way humans live that we no longer have to use the word.” Clearly engaged with these ideas, students, faculty, staff and community members asked Jay a multitude of questions about how to translate such expressions of sustainability into urban contexts, how to keep creativity and art alive in the face of ecological crises and how to embody personal ideals to the fullest extent possible.
Spirit of Sustainability Masks
On April 10th at the entrance to the Mount Holyoke Art Museum, Jay facilitated a day-long, community workshop open to all. Despite the cold weather, some 50 dedicated passersby participated. “Sustainability is a lot about community,” said Victoria Dawes an environmental studies major from Corning, New York. “When the entire community is coming together and thinking about environmental things, it’s an interesting way of getting onto the same page.”
Using hundreds of pounds of clay, car tires and recycled styro-foam, participants collectively shaped the clay into two larger-than-life head molds, “The Spirits of Sustainability.” One head was embraced by a series of hands to exemplify Community, while the second head featured a starfish, butterfly, flower and the sun to symbolize Nature. Then, they layered papier-mâché over the molds as a second step toward creating masks. Jay later returned to campus to release the masks from their clay molds.
On April 24th, as a part of Mount Holyoke’s Pangy Day (a celebration of spring, the college and the Earth), the masks were collaboratively painted by students. These two “Spirits of Sustainability” will be used for future college events and celebrations.
Jay’s visits were sponsored by the Miller Worley Center for the Environment, with additional support from the departments of geology and geography, environmental studies, architectural studies and art, as well as the Office of Student Programs and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.
From Mount Holyoke by Keely Savoie: “Re-imagining sustainability as art”
From Earth Day Network’s MobilizeU campaign, an international movement of concerned and active university students mobilizing their campuses
The Sharon Academy in Vermont recently held a fundraiser for its art program that generated over $19,000. I painted and contributed a coat to the auction, which sold for $475. Here our exchange student Fred, from the Masai tribe in Kenya, is modeling the coat. He is the first one from his family of 12 siblings to live outside of his country.