Some Projects Just Shine

I shudder when confronted with projects that I know are going to test my patience. I don’t often get grouchy but when I was approached to hang 205 individual wood assemblages I was dreading it.  All the usual questions were swirling around in my head: where will I install this, how am I going to hang these simply, what will support their weight (after all they were created from a bunch of wood blocks), they’re all painted white, will they look decent on our cream walls? And the list goes on!  To top it off there was only one day to get them installed. Yikes! With the help of lots of velcro and many, many, many trips up and down the ladder the installation is complete and its AWESOME!

Please come see this monumental undertaking–through mid June

This project has all the bells and whistles that make it perfect example of Culture Builds Community. It started with an art exercise but became much more. It required donations of materials all which were cast offs (so this was a reuse and recycle project). It required volunteers to assemble project kits (a bag of miscellaneous sizes and shapes, enough to create each student panel). It included youth, seniors, teachers, and staff. The finished sculpture will delight students, families and everyone who visits The Arts Center. The project taught students Art History, the Principles of Design and the lessons of working together for a common goal. It taught me, once again, that oftentimes it is the most difficult of tasks that become the most rewarding. Just to see the progress of the sculpture as it grew with each individual panel becoming part of the larger whole was enough to make me forget sore hands (stapler fatigue) and tired legs (an endless day of climbing and squatting)!

How did this project occur? During April and May, Artist in Residence, Bonnie Tressler worked with elementary students to create a final project that incorporated the cumulative creative, design and artistic concepts they’ve learned over the year. After studying the work of Louise Nevelson, each student created their own 8 x 10″ wood assemblage. All of these individual projects were collected and are now installed as one large group wall sculpture on The Arts Center’s stage wall.

  • Participants: All 5th grade elementary students plus St. John’s 6th graders and The Arts Center’s Arts After School kids.
  • Total Number: 205 individual projects
  • Donations received: Wood pieces from John Steiner and Progress Enterprises
  • Volunteers: Phyllis Ibes, Vicky Bossart, Verna Mae Leno, Dina Laskowski and Sandy Barnes.

Thanks to everyone who made this project possible and the ongoing support of the North Dakota Council on the Arts which provides The Arts Center with on-going institutional support and funding for its resident artists.

The Culture Builds Community blog is submitted (almost) weekly by The Arts Center Gallery Manager Sally Jeppson.  She would love to hear your comments here or email