We did it for the third time last night. Gave people a slip of paper, a Sharpie, and two thumb tacks and asked them to write what the arts meant to them in the form of a six word essay then pin it up on a board. The first time we did it was last Saturday afternoon at Clark Ellefson's new studio space on Huger Street back behind One Eared Cow. (The space is pretty phenomenal -- I can't think of anything in the city that compares to it in quality of design. Look for an article on Clark and his space in the July issue of Jasper Magazine.) We were celebrating Artista Vista with a poetry reading conducted by Kendal Turner. Lots of lovely poets came out to share their words -- and we were all inspired by the display of Jen Rose's exhibition, Neural Foliage. (Jen's work, which involved three constructions of three large canvases, lit from within, is inspired by her work with and interest in mental illness -- fascinating and beautiful.) Congratulations to Jen, by the way -- this exhibition marked the completion of her her work for her MFA.
Back to the Six Word Art Essay Project -- We'd been interested in inviting the community to take part in something like this for a while, having heard about similar projects on NPR, so the time seemed right. We followed up our first session on Saturday afternoon with another one that night at the Indie Grits Closing Party in an old bank building on Main Street. (My condolences if you missed this party. It was one of those nights when the vibe was right and it was just a great event. Special thanks go out to Wade Sellers who put together a pretty tight little interactive film experience, as well as the good and godly gentlemen of the Greater Columbia Society for the Preservation of Soul who spun like mad for us.) Over the course of these two events we chalked up several hundred essays.
People seemed to like taking a moment and making a contribution, so we pulled the board back out again last night for First Thursday and I'll be damned if we didn't collect almost a hundred more essays. Some are serious and some are silly, but they're all worth reading so we'll be running them in the July issue of Jasper. And we may even collect more entries at our next event, the Jasper #5 Release Party in the Garden.
So, if you haven't submitted your are Six Word Art Essay yet -- or if you have and another brilliant insight has been visited upon you, feel free to comment in the spaces below. We'd love to hear what you have to say.