the why and how of "And then, I..."
an Artistic Innovations project of the Mid-America Arts Alliance
(July 2014- June 2015)

Artist’s Motivation for “And then, I…”

The And then, I… project is new growth from a divergent root system of family, life experience, work experience, colleagues, friends, and heart-to-heart conversations with myself about what I’m driven to produce as an artist.

Having come to an art career in mid-life, I’m excited about exploring what I have to say through my work. And then, I… is the evidence of what has been constant in my life experience: contributing to, receiving from, standing with, standing apart, and seeking or sometimes avoiding, groups of women. This historic and dynamic pattern is on the one hand very personal and specific, and on the other hand corporate and universal. The pivotal moments of realization at points along the way in that pattern are my fascination.

All of us, of any gender or persuasion, have observed groups of women: from family get-togethers, to church committees, to volunteer projects, to work environments, to social situations. We are familiar with the conversations and stories that weave magic or mayhem, solace or strain, affirmation or rejection. We’re familiar with the pauses or silences that speak truer than words. Most of us can recall a family or friend storyteller, counselor, critic, instigator, partner-in-crime, or pacifist. All of us, of any gender or persuasion, have had similar conversations with the same range of results. I am compelled to explore the moments in those conversations at a pivotal moment, where the group dynamic reveals an opportunity for realization and growth.

And then, I… honors the communication among women because that process has been my equivalent of research: an idea or hypothesis is presented, reactions are tested, either a static situation continues or a pivotal moment occurs. Either way, knowledge results and a decision or new understanding can begin to take form. The act of communicating acculturates us and helps us navigate our life decisions. If we are fortunate, those on our research team are able and caring. I am not particularly good at it. Good conversations are unpredictable entities that require attention and energy to navigate and nurture. I’m fortunate to have friends who are uniquely adept: And then, I…Monuments to Pivotal Moments is dedicated to them with grateful appreciation.

About the Tour and Visitor Participation

The “And then, I…Monuments to Pivotal Moments” interactive sculpture project consists of a new series of work that will be displayed free of charge in public spaces of Arkansas towns that don’t have an art museum or arts center. The installation is also available for area regional festivals for which Arkansas is famous. The project is partially funded with a $10,000, 1:1, matching grant awarded by the Mid-America Arts Alliance through its Artistic Innovations program.

The sculpture project features nine expressive individual sculptures that are combined to create three group portraits of turning points in women’s lives: times to celebrate, mourn, enjoy, confront, or mend. As the title suggests, viewers are encouraged to imagine: what situation the group portrait represents, what has just happened, how the pivotal moment affects the participants, and what the characters’ are likely to next do or say.

The sculpture project invites visitor responses that are incorporated into the tour blog and the culminating exhibit in June 2015 at the Cox Creative Center (Central Arkansas Library System) 120 River Market Avenue in Little Rock (72201). Viewers can respond on site, by smart phone, by email, or snail mail. My goal is to encourage contemplation, conversation, and discussion about the art work, and I hope its content evokes personal connections with viewers that inspire them to share anecdotes, stories, and advice with the project. Those who are unable to see the art work can then visit the tour blog and read a snippet of a story, memory, or advice while recalling or working through a pivotal moment.

As part of my due diligence to grant requirements, special-needs populations (women’s shelters, senior citizens services, counseling organizations, etc.) will receive invitations to view the displays and to attend the artist workshops at locations in their area. The Mid-America slogan is “More Art for More People.” Taking the time to specifically invite this circle of viewers opens the door for more women to view, discuss, and think about the important turning points in their lives and those who are witness to them. Our circles of women friends, family and colleagues are the road maps and sign posts along our life journey that often lead us to what we next do, think, or say—and understand about ourselves.