The Ancients Bubbling

These last couple of weeks I have been sifting through the drawings, photos, experiences and memories of one of the most inspiring vacations I have ever embarked upon. My family and I made a big decision this year to take a year off from our annual plans in Maine and head west. With the kids getting older, I knew that this might be the year to let them experience how vast this country really is, before they grow up and leave the nest. So with our “tour guide” and dear friend Lisa, we went to Montana, where she grew up, and soaked up everything Big Sky country has to offer.

It’s all too much to put into one blog entry, one sketchbook (I finished one and began another while out there), one body of work. I plan to write and post a lot related to our time out west in the weeks to come. We experienced landscape that defies imagination while in Wyoming and Montana. It’s as if the very Earth is breathing out there. This is a similar sensation I’ve had when visiting live caves and I have a deep sense that my upcoming residency at Mammoth Cave National Park is somehow related to our recent family travels. I am excited to explore all of it in my writing and via the art work that is bubbling at the surface since arriving home.

Above is a simple stop motion video I put together while at Yellowstone. The music is by a Cincinnati based band, the Pomegranates, whose music was in my head and on my i-pod a lot while out west. This particular song, I feel like I’m a million years old, is a good description of how I felt out there. Time and geology have a different story to tell than here in Ohio. I love that. So stay tuned. Distillation takes time.

blue

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead.

There is not a whole lot I can write about the photos you see here.  These are images of Jessie Henson’s magical work of art, aptly named Stardust, installed this summer at Cincinnati’s new School for the Creative and Performing Arts building in honor and memory of Esme Kenney.

Not quite a year ago, a very small group of us gathered to try and figure out how we might possibly go about honoring Esme’s memory, while attempting to begin the healing process among her close knit community of family and friends.  Over coffee, we threw out some ideas.  About the kind of art we were thinking about.  About the ways we might raise the type of money we might need (it turned out to be double our estimate!).  About how to maintain Esme’s spirit and light throughout the process.

Everything from Jessie’s heartfelt, gorgeous proposal and artist’s statement, to a series of amazing concerts which carried the bulk of the fundraising seemed to be laced with a synchronicity completely beyond our control.  We simply woke up each day and got it done. (I say that from a fundraiser’s perspective!)  As an artist, I am honored to have watched Jessie navigate the process of creating such a large scale public work of art.  I know it has not been easy.  But it’s done.  And it’s stunning.  Congratulations Jessie, Lisa, Elaine, Randy, Jen, Kim… everyone involved in making this sculpture a reality.

Below is my favorite shot from Jessie’s pictures.  In a matter of days, these halls will be bustling with the student body of SCPA.  Esme’s friends often wondered how they could leave the old building and head to the new one without their dear friend.  This is how.  Her light and spirit are now part of this spectacular new facility.  For that I am grateful.