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Staten Island, New York, United States

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Collaborative Process: Inspired by the Space

Here we are, leaving the stage, award envelope in hand.
Bruce and I have been visiting the Tottenville Library to scope out the space for our collaborative exhibition that we are having there in November 2013. Our project is made possible (in part) by an Encore Grant from the Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island, with public funding from the New York State Council on the Arts. We had the official  COAHSI awards ceremony on January 27, (photo left) where we received the grant. 

Now the work begins. We have our concept, to honor the culture of Argentina. It's Bruce's job to take the pictures we will use to base the project on. I am beginning to prepare the pieces themselves.

One of our first tasks is to figure out how many pieces we want to create and what sizes will work best for the space. My first impression when I walked through the door of the library was of sheer awe. The room soars up to a gorgeous heavy timber ceiling. Grand arched windows grace the walls. You can kind of get an idea from the picture below. The library opened in 1904 and it looks like this picture was taken around that time. It has not changed substantially in appearance since this photo was taken.

vintage photo of main room of Tottenville Library
Courtney Castellane, the library manager, has been very generous and gracious in offering us to hang art throughout the library. As it turns out, she is a former student of Bruce's and is eager to be the community facilitator for our project. If it weren't for her, we wouldn't have an audience for the art.

yummy - look at those empty walls!
This space deserves grand art and I think we owe it to the space to create that art. That also makes for a more ambitious project than we had already envisioned. It's a good thing there are two of us and that we have the better part of a year in order to get it done!

We had originally envisioned just working on paper and exhibiting in the communal meeting area in the basement. Certainly there is plenty of exhibition opportunity there and we do intend to exhibit in this space, too. The advantage of this space is that the public will get a chance to get up close to the artwork and examine the details. Often in my own work, the layers that make up the surface are very intricate. And, of course, Bruce's photographs are generally meant to be viewed at close range.
community room 

But, what about that upstairs space? We could still work on paper, but it would be prohibitive to frame work of the scale that makes sense for the space. I want to work on canvas.

I did a little research online and discovered that there is a way I can transfer the paper lithographs I make to canvas. Some tests proved it. I will be able to make prints directly from scaled-up versions of Bruce's photographs and transfer them to the canvas in this way.

Some 90 yards of canvas are now waiting for me to take the next step.  My next blogpost will explore how that goes.


  1. What an innovative way to make the most of a grant, an opportunity and a location. You've considered so many levels of imagery, space...time and mediums.

    Congrats to you both!

  2. Congratulations and I will be watching for your updates....

  3. This is exciting! For you and Bruce, Staten Island....and the World!! Congratulationscongratulations!!!!!!!