“… It’s not a playground. But it is a landscape for engagement. And when a mom thanks Jean-Marie Mauclet for letting them play, he smiles, shrugs and says, “It’s yours.”
Art series in Jackson incites, inspires.
Displays purely rooted in Jackson.
by Sherry Lucas.
See also Jackson Free Press
“The Future is on the Table #4", 2nd project of "C3: Creativity-Conversation-Community-”, at The Art Garden of the Mississippi Museum of Art, 380 S. Lamar St., Jackson MS
Through March, 2013
(601) 960-1515 or msmuseumart.org
The City in the Art Garden continues as a performance and exchange space
Seminar on C3 Tuesday at 10 a.m. to noon, 1-3 p.m. and 5:30 -7p.m
Art and Community Exchange, 5:30 p.m.
from Gwylene Gallimard
Dudley Stancill, 16 months old, toddled across the small bridge of one of the sculptures of Mississippi Museum of Art’s annual “C3: Creativity. Community. Conversation” in the Art Garden. His short legs gained momentum that came to a shaky but standing halt at the bottom. He gave himself a hand, squealed a laugh, then plopped down on the grass.
He’s too young to grasp the weighty subjects at play in sculptures holding community conversations, concerns and dreams about civil rights, civil engagement, urban renewal, the arts and arts education. But he had the participatory part down pat. Next time, he tried a crawl.
It’s not a playground. But it is a landscape for engagement. And when a mom thanks Jean-Marie Mauclet for letting them play, he smiles, shrugs and says, “It’s yours.”
“C3” is the museum’s second annual participatory art series, following last year’s “Cocoon.” This one, titled “The Future is on the Table #4” is the fourth in a series South Carolina-based artists Mauclet and Gwylene Gallimard (JEMAGWGA) started in 2003. The other three were elsewhere; this one is part of that continuum but purely rooted in Jackson.
On the Art Garden’s green space, five three-dimensional sculptures interpreting Jackson landmarks have become the work’s plain wooden skeletons, acquiring over past weeks the flesh and muscle of adults’ and students’ creative output — paintings, drawings, connections, quotes, smaller sculptures and bits and pieces that spark conversations and interaction. And they’re still coming together as content keeps coming in.
“Nothing is finished. It’s always a work in progress, to incite conversation,” Gallimard said.
Midtown, Tougaloo College, Operation Shoestring, Farish Street and the state Capitol are the landmarks and neighborhoods represented, all areas of activity and emerging interest in Jackson; ribbons extending from the sculptures refer to the city’s many creeks.
A temporary work up through March, it begs for close-up inspection and exploration. Conversations this past week, held outside through the chilly lows or beachlike highs of a Jackson spring, engaged project participants.
On the Farish Street sculpture, painted figures echo the district’s rich social and musical history and nod to a future that can be bright again. “There was a rich discussion between artists interested in helping in the transformation of Farish Street, and the developers,” Gallimard said. “They’re going to continue to meet. That’s what art can do.”
At the state Capitol sculpture, students from Northwest Rankin, Pelahatchie Attendance Center, Nollie Jenkins Family Center in Holmes County, and from Carthage developed the content. Plastic water bottles, attached to form a crinkly clear tunnel with babies inside, is a visual reference to a school-to-prison pipeline. There’s a sculpture of a baby in utero; hands of different races were being added to support it. On another building, hands in different hues decorate the bottom; columns above are wrapped in felting and bits of cloth.
“What we tried to represent is how we’re woven together,” said Anna Creel, 15, of Pelahatchie Attendance Center. In working on C3, “I think I gained a better sense of community,” she said. “I opened up with people more than I did before.”
Ellen Reddy, executive director of the Nollie Jenkins Family Center, said students focused on issues that impact them, such as zero-tolerance policies, corporal punishment, juvenile justice and more for their addition. “Books, not bars” is the message on a stack of wooden books atop squat black pipe-cleaner bars. She and students gently fit a big Palaver Tree inside their building, symbolizing a peaceful resolution of conflicts that involves listening and learning.
“Often, people think of community art as a mural, done together,” Gallimard said. “We take that a little further.”
Artists continue the engagement, including students of dance improvisation from Belhaven University, who’ll be in the Art Garden interacting and building dances around the sculptures, 2:45-3:45 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
The 2013 C3 took the art series deeper into Jackson’s communities; players in last year’s “Cocoon” became the leaders empowered to do their projects.
“In this way, we’re putting roots further in the community,” project facilitator daniel johnson (a Jackson artist who eschews capitalization) said, drawing on the Art Garden surroundings for an apt metaphor. “It’s like one of those traveling plants.”