Within our initial classroom discussions, it became very clear that everyone wanted to walk away from the weekend having accomplished something tangible (I surely did!), while at the same time we each expressed wanting to do/make something more lasting. That said, my main frustrations from the weekend concern time management. I think that a class like this would greatly benefit from a re-arrangement in scheduling. Rather than meet for a Friday, Saturday, Sunday stretch, I feel we would have accomplished more had we met for a few consecutive Saturdays or Sundays. Or even once a month for three months? I think that by allowing for all of the information/questions and general brainstorming to soak in, we could return each weekend with clearer minds and goals. This would in turn allow for a more cohesive game-plan.
The back-to-back brainstorming sessions got long, and I think we all got weary from sitting inside the classroom. While the weather wasn't exactly our friend that weekend, I was really happy to be outdoors working in the space with everybody when it finally became time to migrate to the lot. I loved arriving to the space and partaking in activities like walking around the space only looking up, or laying on the ground with eyes closed to concentrate on the sound elements. At some point I decided that I wanted to be doing something with rocks, and stuck a few in the fence.
The next day things really got rolling. Folks with an interest in working with the ribbon went to town laying out their tape lines and the rock people began to sort, stack and chalk-spray small and larger rocks. While Chris and Kathi worked on the inner rings, Heather and I worked in the outer realm, eventually winding our rock lines up into the fence. As we wove the rocks up into the fugly chain-link fence, I kept thinking about how I really enjoy putting things in places they don't belong. To be able to use an element natural to the space, I felt that this installation was in line with the values of the Papermaker's Garden; and I like the idea that the rocks are trying to escape over the fence. Bigger and better things are moving in - the groundbreaking for this space is set for this summer. That said, I was very okay with making "permanently temporary" installation work. In addition, I loved looking up from what I was working on every few minutes and being able to see the space slowly come to life. When we left on Sunday, I felt like we had accomplished a main goal we set out to fulfill: and that was to activate this space. To get bodies inside the lot working on art. Done and done!
Since the workshop I am thinking a lot about how those of us working at CBPA can utilize students' brainstormed ideas: farmer's markets, apiaries, bird feeders, student programming, movie projection nights, live music, art installations, etc. I wonder what I can do to help bring these to life. It's really important that we program some annual Columbia-wide events in the space, as well as find ways to incorporate the local public. I've gotten a TON of positive feedback regarding our work, and I've definitely noticed while walking by that almost every pedestrian turns their gaze towards the space. Go team!