Sunday, August 16, 2009

More Artful Excitement in August

Weekends in August are usually so quiet in most cities, but Wilmington on August 14 was quite the exception. I found myself revisiting the notion of human cloning as I struggled to get from one exciting event to the next. Several new exhibits had opened on the Art Loop, ArtFest was exploding on Market Street, and the Delaware Humanities Forum was concluding its Interpreting Dreams series.

Philadelphia-based Melinda Steffy is the Art Loop’s featured artist this month. Her exhibit "Vegetable/Mineral" is hanging in the lobby and along the classroom corridors of the Music School of Delaware. Though these hallways are a slightly cramped venue for some of her larger, more colorful works, the marriage of music and art is a vibrant one. How wonderful to think a student or teacher might pause after a cello lesson to look at Sequence I-III. (see photo). Steffy related to me she had an ancestry of quilters. The idea of using found objects such as old lace, or discarded plastic colored barrettes in her work continues this tradition. These objects retain their original meaning within the framework of the piece. Her show “Remnants and Residual Memories” runs from August 21 to October 4 at the Connelly Center Art Gallery at Villanova University.


Walk into the 2nd floor gallery of the Carvel State Building, and you see the photographs and captions, all beautifully blown-up and mounted. Take a few steps closer and you are drawn into the captivating and tragic tale of homelessness in our city. Valerie Miller of the Delaware State Housing Authority worked in conjunction with Friendship House, Inc. to coordinate this Photovoice project. Eight men, all over the age of 55 and living in Andrew’s Place shelter, took photos of various locations or situations familiar to them. Underneath each picture, a caption explains things a person who isn’t intimately familiar with homelessness might not notice or understand. One photo, entitled Budget Motel shows rows of empty Budget rental trucks open in the back. The caption explains that the workers from Budget leave them open because they know the homeless crawl in there to sleep. Another photo shows a woman who had just looked for food in a trashcan, and the caption relates just how common this practice is for the homeless. In reading the captions and viewing the photos, we gain a glimpse into the hardscrabble life of the homeless and destitute in our city and country. The Photovoice exhibit will be at the Carvel Building until August 28.


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