Posts Tagged ‘Blue Mound’

STEAM

December 22, 2016

As always, I get busy with the hands on parts of my life and run late doing things like…blogging. I told you this summer that I was brewing up a program to promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math).I had just secured a group of websites for “steamworks.” I had recently secured a handful of websites with the name “steamworks” and felt that I had to brand this and investigate learning practices.

20161112_113831

How many times have you heard the story about the Uncle that could fix anything? It always starts the same: “When Frank was young, he would take apart anything he got his hands on.” With a reply from the Uncle explaining that by deconstructing household items, gave him the knowledge and confidence to make/fix/repurpose things. This spurred me to tinker with the idea of “no instructions needed(R).”

I began by locating a venue while developing a two day learning program. The tie-in was “STEAM” so I chose a standardised model railroad element to introduce kids to the concept of STEAM while actually applying it. After hitting up some area businesses for funding, I put together a package for each participant that included a modular wooden base kit, an N-scale (1:160) railcar and some random details. Now, we could have set around and followed the instructions and worked as a class to get everything built at once, mount their track and off they went. But, what would they learn? As they opened their module kits, I collected everyone’s instruction sheets. I informed them that they would not need them and threw them away. Instead, they were provided with blueprints and standards for a final product. They immediately began to experiment and figure out how to build their base modules. As some finished, they assisted the other participants to keep the whole class moving forward. When their wooden modules were 20161112_113841complete, they had to choose from a random box of N-Scale track pieces to come up with the exact final measurements for their required module. All of a sudden, the class was waist deep in rulers, calculators, digital calipers, hammers and power drills. This is the magic that I live for! Skipping ahead, after the second class, parents had looks of amazement on their faces. I am not sure if it was the fact that their children were adept at using math and power tools or the fact that someone let me do this in public.

20161203_102328After class one, the kids got to choose paint and landscape details to take home with them while they prepared for the final reveal. During this time, I accepted a new position for a Children’s Museum because I did not have enough going on in life! More on that later…

On December 3rd, our Steamworks team reconvened at Blue Mound Memorial Library to set up their finished works while visitors came to see Mr. & Mrs. Claus. After twenty minutes of set-up and minor tweaking, the children had two steam engines pulling train cars around the 3′ x 7′ assembled layout. It is also of note that gender had no influence on the participants or the visitors. Everyone fought the same to get their time running each train.

I would like to send out a special thank you to our local supporters of the program:

Blue Mound Firefighters Association, Legacy Grain, Dippin’ Merv’s, Castle Trains & Treasures, Blue Mound Memorial Library. With you, these local children gained skills and confidence that can be used as they seek out their careers in a few years.

New Show

March 1, 2016

Hello, friends! Last weekend found me taking a relaxing though scheduled drive to the Saint Louis Metro area to deliver new artwork. The pieces are a diptych of two 24″ X 36″ “airscapes” done in acrylic on wood. Yes, I do make two-dimensional artwork! I often find that some of my sculptures are too large for some venues and over the last couple of years I have begun finishing some of my sculptural ideas so that they can be displayed as well. The title of the diptych is Air to Air Porn Remix. I sometimes spend too much time on titles but this one is different as the title reflects the history of the piece. In Graduate School at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, it was a house cleaning every year that a graduating class moved out leaving friends with loads of artwork of varying degrees of finish for their friends. One of my good friends, Justin Maes awarded me with some large wood A-A Porn Close-upcanvasses depicting military individuals in compromising positions. They were very beautiful to look at but the content makes them quite hard to display. Justin was always remixing artwork and music, producing his own tracks in Grad School to accompany some of his works. two years ago, with little money to buy food, let alone canvas, I chose to do my own remix. For two pieces, I chose to paint over the figures with various shades of blue depicting the upper atmosphere. I then placed paper planes engaged in a dogfight, launching phallic salt and pepper shakers at each other. I feel that the content of the original piece still comes through but in a very different way. Over time, I will probably do at least one more set of paintings based on Justin’s paint-outs. More paper airplanes could be involved. Not sure, but they keep coming back repeatedly in my work as I dig deeper into the connections between, violence, beauty, war fighting, heroism, toys, and patriotism. So, if you are in the STL area, check out the show at Saint Charles Community College! March 7th – April 8th.

Talk soon,

Sandy

October 18, 2011

As installed on SIUE campus

This is the Enemy!

It has been a busy autumn! The new season began with a trip to Dubuque, Iowa to repair Sinking of the S.S. Innocence. One of the red “kill pegs” was broken off. I had a local manufacturer roll 11-gauge steel to replace all of the pegs. I then welded them directly to the base of the sculpture. It was one of the most beautiful drives I have been on in a while. I suggest to everyone to include the “Driftless” Region of Southwestern Wisconsin if you are ever in the area.
I began the semester trying to locate a specific machine gun to create an art piece that has occupied my brain for some time now. After much stress, I secured the weapon, materials, and a place to fire it. The first part of the series was in the show “Exchange” at the Mosse Humanities building in Madison.
At the Children’s Museum in town, we finally finished the Rockit! exhibit. It is awesomely stellar! Kids are loving it. One can climb in the capsule and just play while ambient music is playing. For older kids, there is a learning curve allowing one to control the beats, melodies and sound effects to create their own songs. It was a long hard year that included two back spasms and one trip to the hospital for a butterfly bandage and a tetanus shot. De-constructing an aluminum airplane and retro-fitting it to accept a new array of electronics and wiring is a head bumping, finger- slicing hair full of drill shavings type of event. It is very nice to see it installed. I would also like to thank my team: Dan Ganch (fabrication), Nadia Niggli (Graphics), The crew from Sony Creative Software, and Matt from NuVibrations for pulling all of the systems together.
On another note, I have been feeling like Richard Serra lately. (not in the famous aspect) There is a group of individuals trying to get a sculpture of mine removed from a park adjacent to their property. The sculpture was formerly installed on the campus at Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville. It was originally funded through a grant from the Gateway Foundation in St. Louis. After its time was up, I contacted my hometown to see if they were interested in it. Blue Mound is a village of 1200 polite Midwesterners that live in an agricultural community. They had recently formed a park district to manage the swim club and the towns two parks. One park contains the following items: Outdoor theater and covered stage, children’s playground, water fountain, pavilion, WWI canon, bathrooms, sidewalks, gates and landscaping. The other park contains: a scattering of trees, and a stream. I proposed that it be placed in the park that had nothing so that people would have something to look at. It is my wish that others would embrace the park and ask the district to move forward with making it a real park. The little “Madison-esque” world that I live in envisions park benches, some winding trails, park benches, a small playground, and a couple of bridges spanning the creek. But there are some problems. Step one, getting a piece of art in the park happened. There was some talk of possibly getting benches and one neighbor told me that they should have a block party at the park. That was the end of the rainbows and unicorns. A couple of residents started filing complaints that the sculpture was ugly, it was reducing the value of their home, and reducing their income as they stared out the window for hours on end deciding how to get the art removed from the park.
Here is what I think the truth is: There are three housing additions adjoining this park. One is a middle class tract on one side of the park. The opposite side has a back addition of very nice homes, with a small front tract of lower rent apartments with one building including Government Subsidized Housing. Due to proximity and a shared road, the Social Class A and C have learned to live with each other. The complaints seem to be coming from the Social Class B side of the park. I believe that they do not want the park developed, because people may actually come use it. I believe that they see the stream as a moat protecting them from “poor” kids getting too close to their property. They claim that it is a flood plain. Yes, and so is the rest of the area. Central Illinois farm country is one of the flattest landscapes in the nation. We know how to properly develop watershed areas now. Since the stream is actually a field run-off waterway, maybe it would be a good time to use a section of this park as an educational experiment that provides good in a variety of ways.
Last week, I was contacted by the Park District asking if I wish for the piece to stay or go. I contacted them sharing my reasons on why art is good, why we develop parks, how that helps children, families, home values, and such for their Monday night meeting. There was also a presentation by one of the board members based on Scientific Research in Virginia showing social and economic benefits of public sculpture.
The leader of the “Remove the Sculpture” organization emailed me today. It was a 9 point, two page email telling me all of the reasons that they hated my sculpture. Which by the way is a twelve foot tall thumbtack painted green that uncomfortably imitates the surrounding trees. They compared it to living next to a livestock farm, alluded to the possibility of erecting something on their property to block the view or maybe even suing to have it removed. The homeowner’s girlfriend told me in shocking detail about the fateful morning that they woke up and saw ART lingering in a city park!
The angry lady told me that we should spend less time making art and educating people in the humanities and more time raising children right and going to church!
AMEN!

Art Updates

October 18, 2011

It has been a busy autumn! The new season began with a trip to Dubuque, Iowa to repair Sinking of the S.S. Innocence. One of the red “kill pegs” was broken off. I had a local manufacturer roll 11-gauge steel to replace all of the pegs. I then welded them directly to the base of the sculpture. It was one of the most beautiful drives I have been on in a while. I suggest to everyone to include the “Driftless” Region of Southwestern Wisconsin if you are ever in the area.
I began the semester trying to locate a specific machine gun to create an art piece that has occupied my brain for some time now. After much stress, I secured the weapon, materials, and a place to fire it. The first part of the series was in the show “Exchange” at the Mosse Humanities building in Madison.
At the Children’s Museum in town, we finally finished the Rockit! exhibit. It is awesomely stellar! Kids are loving it. One can climb in the capsule and just play while ambient music is playing. For older kids, there is a learning curve allowing one to control the beats, melodies and sound effects to create their own songs. It was a long hard year that included two back spasms and one trip to the hospital for a butterfly bandage and a tetanus shot. De-constructing an aluminum airplane and retro-fitting it to accept a new array of electronics and wiring is a head bumping, finger- slicing hair full of drill shavings type of event. It is very nice to see it installed. I would also like to thank my team: Dan Ganch (fabrication), Nadia Niggli (Graphics), The crew from Sony Creative Software, and Matt from NuVibrations for pulling all of the systems together.
On another note, I have been feeling like Richard Serra lately. (not in the famous aspect) There is a group of individuals trying to get a sculpture of mine removed from a park adjacent to their property. The sculpture was formerly installed on the campus at Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville. It was originally funded through a grant from the Gateway Foundation in St. Louis. After its time was up, I contacted my hometown to see if they were interested in it. Blue Mound is a village of 1200 polite Midwesterners that live in an agricultural community. They had recently formed a park district to manage the swim club and the towns two parks. One park contains the following items: Outdoor theater and covered stage, children’s playground, water fountain, pavilion, WWI canon, bathrooms, sidewalks, gates and landscaping. The other park contains: a scattering of trees, and a stream. I proposed that it be placed in the park that had nothing so that people would have something to look at. It is my wish that others would embrace the park and ask the district to move forward with making it a real park. The little “Madison-esque” world that I live in envisions park benches, some winding trails, park benches, a small playground, and a couple of bridges spanning the creek. But there are some problems. Step one, getting a piece of art in the park happened. There was some talk of possibly getting benches and one neighbor told me that they should have a block party at the park. That was the end of the rainbows and unicorns. A couple of residents started filing complaints that the sculpture was ugly, it was reducing the value of their home, and reducing their income as they stared out the window for hours on end deciding how to get the art removed from the park.
Here is what I think the truth is: There are three housing additions adjoining this park. One is a middle class tract on one side of the park. The opposite side has a back addition of very nice homes, with a small front tract of lower rent apartments with one building including Government Subsidized Housing. Due to proximity and a shared road, the Social Class A and C have learned to live with each other. The complaints seem to be coming from the Social Class B side of the park. I believe that they do not want the park developed, because people may actually come use it. I believe that they see the stream as a moat protecting them from “poor” kids getting too close to their property. They claim that it is a flood plain. Yes, and so is the rest of the area. Central Illinois farm country is one of the flattest landscapes in the nation. We know how to properly develop watershed areas now. Since the stream is actually a field run-off waterway, maybe it would be a good time to use a section of this park as an educational experiment that provides good in a variety of ways.
Last week, I was contacted by the Park District asking if I wish for the piece to stay or go. I contacted them sharing my reasons on why art is good, why we develop parks, how that helps children, families, home values, and such for their Monday night meeting. There was also a presentation by one of the board members based on Scientific Research in Virginia showing social and economic benefits of public sculpture.
The leader of the “Remove the Sculpture” organization emailed me today. It was a 9 point, two page email telling me all of the reasons that they hated my sculpture. Which by the way is a twelve foot tall thumbtack painted green that uncomfortably imitates the surrounding trees. They compared it to living next to a livestock farm, alluded to the possibility of erecting something on their property to block the view or maybe even suing to have it removed. The homeowner’s girlfriend told me in shocking detail about the fateful morning that they woke up and saw ART lingering in a city park!
The angry lady told me that we should spend less time making art and educating people in the humanities and more time raising children right and going to church!
AMEN!