Wednesday, June 29, 2011

thank you Puffin Foundation!!!!

Last week the mail brought me good news; no, great news, phenomenal news. I received news that The Puffin Foundation is giving me a GRANT to create/finish my piece, ripple ~ Yahoo!!!! This is such exciting news!!! To receive a grant is such validation of one's work and vision, as well as a financial boom. This grant could not have come at a better time!!! My job at Dana Hall has come to an end and I have been dying to get back into the studio, but there is
always that ever-present incomegoblin.... but now I have something to feed him for a month or two :). So instead of looking ahead to a summer of employment uncertainty, I can plan a summer working away in my studio~ guilt-free (what will that feel like?!?)

The Puffin Foundation does great work ~ "continuing the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people." Their mission being..“ the Puffin Foundation Ltd. has sought to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and art organizations who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy.”

And besides providing grants for artists, they also have wonderful exhibition spaceswhere they put on thought- provoking and provaocative shows. Currently at the Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck, NJ is the traveling exhibit, In the Bag. This show "traces the history of the reusable bag movement and presents creative alternatives to using plastic shopping bags, in cluding beautifully designed reusable bags made from billboards, juice boxes, rice bags, and discarded plastic bags."

I am proud to say, that for the exhibit in NJ the curator, Merri Milwe, invited me to show my Red Alert Cocktail dress, which I was happily did. The exhibit runs from June 3rd - July 21st.

I applied for a Puffin Grant to help me complete my piece 'ripple' (it's working name). 'ripple' is a newer rendition of my large dag tag dress which was called '3,000 and counting'. '3,000 and counting' (made in 2006-2007) was about the dead soldiers in the Iraq conflict - very literal. But I was never happy was the way that dress looked, the shape. So when the dress was finished being in the provocative show, A Call to Art at Gallery 55, Natick, MA, I brought it back to my studio and cut it in half ~ much to the chagrin of many. But I didn't like it and I knew it could be better.

As the pieces of the dress sat in my studio I was struggling with how i wanted to remake it. While in it's deconstructed state, the dress did 'spawn' two smaller and poignant dog tag dresses ~ "in memory of..." and " do they
know its Christmas?". Two dresses that have been shown a multitude of times, evoking much thought and conversation. But still, the large dog tag dress sat in disarray. I would work on it but still wasn't sure where it was going. By this point there were way more than 3,000 dead from this war ... did I get more dog tags to keep up with the death toll? But I realized it was about more than dead soldiers. As the time past I began more aware of how the affects of the war were so far-reaching ~ not just the dead and their families, but so much more ~ the child who has been shuffled around to different care-givers because of parents' military duty and stress of the co-worker of the girlfriend who was murdered by her boyfriend who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. The stories are many and I want represent that aspect of this crisis ~ the ripple affect of this conflict. So that is what I proposed to the Puffin Foundation and that is what they decided to fund!! So thank you Puffin Foundation, because this is no small undertaking, and to have your endorsement that you believe in this project enough to fund it it is priceless. below is the description that I included in the grant!

My project is to create a large, sprawling sculptural dress commenting on ripple effect that recent and past military involvement has on everyone ~ the soldiers, their loved ones, their families and children, workplaces and schools, communities and society as a whole. The repercussions are far reaching and the issues are complicated.

My proposed piece, “ripple” is its working title, is important in that it will facilitate dialogue about our continual engagement in military situations, and our dependency on a military economy. With “ripple” my goal is to have people stop, look, think, feel, engage and communicate.

This piece will build off the power and energy of an earlier work, “in memory of...”, which also addresses war. Made out of dog tags ‘decorated’ with photos of soldiers who have already given their lives, “in memory of...” provides a safe and scared arena for consideration of the sacrifices war demands. Its presence quiets many, and even brings some to tears. “ripple” will also consist of dog tags, along with beads, charms and other material to represent the nonmilitary.

My truth is simple. My voice is gentle, yet compelling. The ideas that I deal with are complex. I offer an alternative to fear-based thinking or even lack of thinking. My work elicits fresh thinking, engaging people to generate their own thoughts and opinions. With your funding I will have the means to bring “ripple” to fruition, a piece that fulfills the mission of the Puffin Foundation; “...continuing the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people.”


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