Sunday, January 1, 2012

Begin, Begin

In the early 90’s, I studied sculpture at a grad school outside of Detroit. The school, Cranbrook, was a good fit for me. Although sitting in my studio reading and building all day long was great, the school itself was a bit isolating. Built in the mansion district of Bloomfield Hills, the school is literally a walled in utopic mid-century Arts and Crafts garden with a seemingly minimum one hour drive to escape. Once the cold and snow started (mid-November), only an occasional run to the distant 24 hour big box lumber supple store seemed worth it.

As it was my first time away from home and I had art on my mind, the isolation seemed fine. When I did get restless and needed to escape the garden, I would jump in my station wagon and drive North to the flea markets in Pontiac and Flint. Walking the maze of aisles lined table after table with worn and used stuff calmed me. Objects and people felt solid there in a way the big box lumber store or the walled in academy did not.

One night last fall I ran into a friend in Brooklyn. She said she was working on a public art proposal for the city of Flint. We talked about the city and I told her about the flea market and the winter skies. She asked if I was interested in contacting Stephen Zacks who was organizing some projects in the city. After dragging my feet a bit, I emailed Stephen and told him about my work in the collaboration MTAA and my fondness of Flint. I said I was interested in remotely sending Flint a set of public sculptures and performances. He sounded interested and said if I could fund it myself, he could offer some help with resources and contacts in the area. I said perfect and sent him this list of possible artworks.

So, for the next 12 months, I will be thinking of the city and people of Flint Michigan. I have no order of production for the list of 10 artworks nor detailed plan for them at this point. I do have a faith in a process. I have a site, a goal, some people, the Internet and, as 2012 is a leap year, 336 days. I hope to post here once a week or so to let you know how it is going.

If you are near Flint and would be interested in working on one of the projects or just want to say “hey”, send an email to mriver (at)