A new community art project aimed at bringing people together during a time of isolation has started in Williamsburg.
CultureFix in partnership with the Muscarelle Museum started collecting wine bottles for the new “Stay at Home” community art sculpture project. The idea is to have people paint and decorate wine bottles that will then be used to build a sculpture that features each unique creation.
“It’s important for people as we’re being asked to distance ourselves from others,” said Steve Prince, director of engagement with the Muscarelle Museum. “We are physical beings and need that connection…It’s an opportunity to provide a really powerful experience, seeing your individualized voice not only has importance but importance as a whole. It’s an exemplar of what community is all about—the individual being connected to the body.”
Steve Rose, owner of CultureFix, said the idea came because he had already collected hundreds of wine bottles from various events his company hosted over the years. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, he had been considering creating something from the bottles but now that CultureFix is no longer able to connect with the community through large gatherings, he figured this would be the best way.
People can paint their own wine bottles at home or pick up some of Rose’s collection from various locations and return them.
Rose said the type of sculpture created depends on how many wine bottles are decorated and collected, with the goal being about 1,000 now. But one idea is to potentially create a metal tree and hang the bottles off them.
There isn’t a set location for the sculpture once it’s finished, but Rose hopes to place it either in a public space or outside Spoke + Art Provisions Co. where people can come and see the final product.
“When you have 1,000 bottles, everything doesn’t need to be a masterpiece,” he said. “It’s the creative of everyone putting it together to make something new and then people can come and see how their individual bottle fits in with all the others.”
Prince said community art projects such as this one are important for championing a collective history. The pandemic has made him reflect on other significant events he’s lived through over the decades, such as when Hurricane Katrina decimated his hometown of New Orleans in 2005.
Prince said art brings people together while showing their individual strengths in a way that represents the strength of a community.
“I think as we look back at 2020, we’ll look back at it as a mark of how we persevered collectively, but also we’ll look back with sorrow because there’s been so much loss,” he said. “But to have an artistic piece for us to look back and reflect on, it becomes a symbol of what we went through and how we were creative through it.”
Prince has also been working on ways to bring art into the community. Prior to the pandemic, Prince spent a lot of time going into schools and interacting with local groups as community engagement director.
Now that his options have been limited, he’s become technologically creative to provide a free online workshop called “Muscarelle in the House.”
Prince said the title plays off black vernacular and provides a layered television experience that’s mixed with humor and serious art discussion.
Prince is also in the process of starting a spin-off series, “Muscarelle in the House: Virtual Art Camp,” that will teach people how to create art out of everyday home objects.
In the meantime, he and Rose are working to promote the community art sculpture they hope will continue to provide a sense togetherness during a time of isolation.
“It becomes a marker of the human spirit and human survival,” Prince said. “I think the tenets that are housed within the artistic creation are housed in who we are as people and how we persevere in adverse situations.”
Wine bottles can be collected and dropped off at Spoke and Art Provisions Co., 3449 John Tyler Hwy., and at Williamsburg Event Rentals, 4402 Ironbound Road, until May 24. For more information, visit CultureFix online.
More information about virtual programs with the Muscarelle Museum can be found online.
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