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Upcoming Hearing on Historically Designating the Painted Bride Arts Center

Posted in Gardens, Preservation News, Take Action

 

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens seeks to protect important mosaic mural.

 

OLD CITY, PHILADELPHIA:  When it was announced in December that the Painted Bride Art Center was going up for sale, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) immediately recognized the risk that this posed to the roughly 7,000 square foot mosaic mural on the building’s façade, and is now working to protect this mural through historical designation. A hearing to discuss this historical designation takes place at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, June 20, at 1515 Arch Street.

 

paintedbridewalleditThe Painted Bride Arts Center

 

PMG’s mission is to preserve, interpret, and provide access to Isaiah Zagar’s unique mosaic environment and his public murals. Zagar’s mural at the Painted Bride, located at 230-36 Vine Street, is one of his most iconic works. In the early 1990s Zagar was invited to work on the façade of the Painted Bride building, formerly the Eastern Elevator Co. It provided one of the largest canvases to date for Zagar’s work and was the first time he covered the entire length and height of a building with mosaic mural.

 

In his 1993 article in the Philadelphia Daily News, Ron Avery wrote: “From sidewalk to roof every inch is colorfully painted and decorated in wild, imaginative detail. There are swirls, circles, seashells, Chinese writing and bits and pieces of ceramic birds, butterflies, flowers, human figures, and ceramic feet. ‘Isaiah took a simple industrial building with no character and made it fascinating,’ says Gerry Givnish, executive director of the Painted Bride. ‘Zagar’s weird art has given the Painted Bride near landmark status.’”

 

zagarIsaiah Zager with one of his colorful mosaics

 

PMG’s Executive Director Emily Smith remarks, “As community members, I think it’s important to fight for the character of our city. The history and culture of our streets is what makes Philadelphia such a special place to live. What does it mean if we don’t try to keep our art and the history behind it from being destroyed?”

If the application for historical designation is accepted it would protect the outside of the Painted Bride building from being altered or demolished. PMG has also made the commitment to caretake the mosaic mural in perpetuity.

PMG encourages the public to read the application, and if they support it, voice their opinion and attend the hearing on June 20.

CONTACT:

Emily Smith | 215-733-0390 ext. 113 | esmith@phillymagicgardens.org

_________________________________________________

ABOUT PHILADELPHIA’S MAGIC GARDENS 

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) is a nonprofit visionary art environment and community arts center located in Isaiah Zagar’s largest public artwork.

Spanning half a block on Philadelphia’s famous South Street, the museum includes an immersive outdoor art installation and indoor galleries. Zagar created the space using nontraditional materials such as folk art statues, found objects, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, hand-made tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors. The site is enveloped in visual anecdotes and personal narratives that refer to Zagar’s life, family, and community, as well as references from the wider world such as influential art history figures and other visionary artists and environments.

PMG is a unique Philadelphia destination that inspires creativity and community engagement by providing educational opportunities and diverse public programming to thousands of visitors each year. For more information, visit www.phillymagicgardens.org.

 

See more of Isaiah Zager’s Magic Gardens on SPACES!

Sign petition to save Justo Gallego's Cathedral!

Posted in Religious, Devotional & Spiritual, Take Action, Threatened Environments

 

justo-gallego-cathedral-overview-2008-environmentslideenlarge-1024-1024Justo Gallego's Cathedral in 2008, Jo Farb Hernández.

This petition calls for the municipal offices of Mejorada del Campo, where Justo Gallego has been single-handedly constructing a cathedral dedicated to Our Lady of Pilar, to take whatever steps necessary to support and preserve his work. Recently it seemed that the municipality would accept the responsibility of maintaining and preserving this enormous project – on which 92-year-old Gallego has been working since 1961 – recent troubling developments suggest that they are going back on their word.

 

For more information, please see our webpage about the site:

Justo Gallego’s Cathedral 

 

 

Please sign the petition and help convince the city of Mejorada del Campo to preserve this incredible monument.

View and sign the petition here.

 

The Roads Scholarship Fund for Research and Travel 2018 recipients

 

The Roads Scholarship Fund for Research and Travel supports the advancement of scholarship in the rich genre of art environments, explored in Better Homes & Gardens: Vernacular Art Environments, an Art History course at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, taught by Lisa Stone. Students who complete the course submit proposals to experience a site or sites in the genre of vernacular art environments. The 2018 Roads Scholarship recipients have been annouced! 

 

2018 Roads Scholarship recipients:


Miseon Kim will visit art environments in Wisconsin, and spend a few days in Valton, at Ernest Hüpeden’s The Painted Forest.  “When I was introduced about the Painted Forest, I was shocked because I have…never seen anything like that. Even from photographs, I could feel life of the artist and the time he existed…I believe that paintings are living creatures and I have to meet them in person to really experience the energy. With my art practice, I ask a question, “what is life?” …I have a feeling that experiencing Hüpeden’s work and life in Valton would give me the answer to the question.

 

Sophie Leddick will travel to Halifax to visit the Nova Scotia Art Gallery to see Maud Lewis’ house; to Digby, to see the replica; and to Cape Forchu and other locales to film places Lewis painted. “In my work I explore the relationship between the internal and the external. I am drawn to places of liminality, landscapes that breath, break, and fragment the way memory does. A friend of mine who lived in Nova Scotia described it as a place that has a “death memory.” I’m thinking about what is lodged in the materiality of landscape and how it influenced Maud Lewis’s life and work.”

 

Jeremy Sublewski will travel to Niagara Falls, New York, to the home of Prophet Isaiah Robertson “and begin a discourse regarding the power one has to develop biblical text into an original dogma that transcends the traditions set by large religious institutions. We will also discuss the relationship his work has to the homes of Latinx people in the Midwest, and how one goes about developing domestic settings of worship and ritual. I will document my encounter with Prophet Isaiah by recording audio and by taking photographs.”

 

Jane Thompson will travel to Mary Nohl’s house (Fox Point, WI) and Noah Purifoy’s Desert Museum (Joshua Tree, CA). “I envision Noah Purifoy and Mary Nohl as spiritual siblings in the extended family of non-traditional artists, each building and curating with materials on hand as a response to their environment. Both adopted lifestyles that defied the cultural norms for black men or white women. While their deepest making impulses seemed similar, their environments and modes of activism differed.”

 

 

The Roads Scholarship Fund for Research and Travel  has awarded 59 scholarships since 2002.

Watts Towers needs our help again!

Posted in Take Action, Threatened Environments

Please join us in demonstrating to official Los Angeles and their Department of Cultural Affairs the depth and breadth of support that the Watts Towers and its Arts Center continues to maintain among supporters worldwide.

 

On April 9, Arts Center Director Rosie Lee Hooks was put on a three-week work suspension, effective immediately, punishment for the petty infraction of having a mural of jazz great Charles Mingus (raised in Watts) painted on the very building named after him at the Watts Towers Art Center.

 

The entire Arts Center staff has signed and sent a reasoned and detailed letter to Mayor Garcetti’s office protesting this injustice.

 

We have also learned that Cultural Affairs plans to contract out the production of the Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival and the Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival.

 

Please help us impress upon the representatives of the Los Angeles City government the importance of open communication with the staff of the Watts Towers Arts Center and the support groups who have worked together over years with the community out of which Rodia’s Towers grew.  We ask you to put your name to the letter we have prepared below and to send it to everyone on the “Mail to:” list beneath the letter. 

 

Make whatever changes in the letter you feel will best reflect your perspective. Then, send the letter to the first address on the list (Danielle Brazell, General Manager, Department of Cultural Affairs) and cc all the following names.

 

Please help us to protect the Watts Towers Arts Center, its director and its staff, so they can continue to work for the betterment of the people of Watts and the city of Los Angeles.

 

Thank you!

 

On behalf of

The Watts Towers Community Action Council

The Friends of the Watts Towers Arts Center

The Parents of the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus

The Watts Towers Arts Center Youth Board

 

Learn more about the Watts Towers here: http://spacesarchives.org/explore/collection/environment/watts-towers/

 

Dear Ms. Brazell,

 

I am writing to express my shock and dismay at the shortsightedness of the Department of Cultural Affairs for putting the Director of the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus on an immediate three-week suspension. 

 

Rosie Lee Hooks is an internationally honored community arts administrator and educator who has served the City of Los Angeles and the Watts community for decades. How is it that she is being punished for approving the painting of a mural portrait of the jazz giant Charles Mingus – who grew up in Watts – on the Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center, named for him when it was built more than ten years ago? The department’s action is not only an affront to Ms. Hooks but to the cultural legacy of the community itself.

 

Ms. Hooks has followed in the tradition of all past directors of the Arts Center to bring attention to the artistic heritage of Watts. They have all initiated the murals and mosaics adorning the buildings of the Campus with community artists. None of them were required to seek department approval for such Campus improvements and none of them ever received even so much as a reprimand. 

 

The department’s disproportionate reaction in Ms. Hooks’ case also takes her away from the Campus when she has to plan and organize the Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival and the Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival, scheduled for the end of September.  By effectively shortening the time Ms. Hooks has available to present these world famous events at the level of quality she has for almost 20 years, your department will bear the responsibility for undercutting their success. You must also be aware that if the department attempts to contract out the production of the Festival, this will likewise be regarded as a serious affront not only to the Watts community but to the music community that has participated in the Festivals and the Arts Center’s Jazz Mentorship Program over the years.

 

I stand by Rosie Lee Hooks, the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus staff, and the Watts community support groups. I urge you to reverse Ms. Hooks’ suspension immediately. She must be allowed to work for the betterment of the Campus and the community as she has always done – in the spirit of open communication and mutual cooperation. That is the value of community arts in a healthy society.

 

I ask as well that you help the Campus obtain the support of the City Councilmember to whose district the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus has brought world-class arts exhibitions, and professional arts and music education for over 50 years.       

 

Rodia’s Towers, the Watts Towers Arts Center, and the Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center inspire all who visit with the spirit of freedom, initiative, and multi-ethnic harmony.  The City of Los Angeles cannot afford to have such powerful symbols of peace and community be lost in these troubled times.

 

Sincerely yours,

YOUR NAME

 

In support of

The Watts Towers Community Action Council

The Friends of the Watts Towers Arts Center

The Parents of the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus

The Watts Towers Arts Center Youth Board     

 

Mail to: 

danielle.brazell@lacity.org

daniel.tarica@lacity.org

Leslie.a.thomas@lacity.org

eric.garcetti@lacity.org

barbara.romero@lacity.org

Edgar.garcia@lacity.org

luis.rivera@lacity.org

joel.jacinto@lacity.org

Mike.davis@lacity.org

controller.galperin@lacity.orgj

oe.buscaino@lacity.org

Councilmember.wesson@lacity.org;

david.ryu@lacity.org

councilmember.harris-dawson@lacity.org

councilmember.price@lacity.org

paul.koretz@lacity.org

Markridley-thomas@bos.lacounty.gov
sawoods@parks.ca.gov

leslie.hartzell@parks.ca.gov

Terry.nicholson@mail.house.gov

Ericfboyd@mail.house.gov

lucy.walker@sen.ca.gov

Holly.mitchell@sen.ca.gov

Michelle.chambers@asm.ca.gov;

Keara.joe@asm.ca.gov

craig.watson@arts.ca.gov

kelan10@att.net

ashley.stracke@lacity.org

 

  

 
 

Raise your voice in support of Philadelphia's Painted Bride!

Posted in Take Action, Threatened Environments

APPLICATION SUBMITTED TO HISTORICALLY DESIGNATE THE PAINTED BRIDE ART CENTER

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens seeks to protect important mosaic mural.

 

Postcard for the “Skin of the Bride” exhibition, 9/19/1993. Don Camera, 1993.Postcard for the “Skin of the Bride” exhibition, 9/19/1993. Don Camera, 1993.

OLD CITY, PHILADELPHIA:  When it was announced in December that the Painted Bride Art Center was going up for sale, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) immediately recognized the risk that this posed to the roughly 7,000 square foot mosaic mural on the building’s façade.  PMG’s mission is to preserve, interpret, and provide access to Isaiah Zagar’s unique mosaic environment and his public murals. Zagar’s mural at the Painted Bride, located at 230-36 Vine Street, is one of his most iconic works.

In the early 1990s Zagar was invited to work on the façade of the Painted Bride building, formerly the Eastern Elevator Co. It provided one of the largest canvases to date for Zagar’s work and was the first time he created a full sidewalk to roof mosaic mural.

The decision to choose Zagar was apt, since both the artist and the Painted Bride began on South Street in the late 1960s and both were artistically, socially, and politically active in the South Street community. Today, their collaboration on the mosaic façade in Old City commemorates their shared history and dedication to the arts in Philadelphia.

In his 1993 article in the Philadelphia Daily News, Ron Avery wrote: “From sidewalk to roof every inch is colorfully painted and decorated in wild, imaginative detail. There are swirls, circles, seashells, Chinese writing and bits and pieces of ceramic birds, butterflies, flowers, human figures, and ceramic feet. ‘Isaiah took a simple industrial building with no character and made it fascinating,’ says Gerry Givnish, executive director of the Painted Bride. Zagar’s weird art has given the Painted Bride near landmark status.”

PMG’s Executive Director Emily Smith remarks, “As community members, I think it’s important to fight for the character of our city. The history and culture of our streets is what makes Philadelphia such a special place to live. What does it mean if we don’t try to keep our art and the history behind it from being destroyed?”

The application for historical designation would protect the outside of the Painted Bride building from being altered or demolished. It will be reviewed at a hearing at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, April 18, at 1515 Arch Street. PMG encourages the public to read the application, and if they support it, voice their opinion and attend the hearing.

CONTACT:

Emily Smith | 215-733-0390 ext. 113 | esmith@phillymagicgardens.org

____________________________

ABOUT PHILADELPHIA’S MAGIC GARDENS (www.philadelphiasmagicgardens.org)

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) is a nonprofit visionary art environment and community arts center located in Isaiah Zagar’s largest public artwork.

Spanning half a block on Philadelphia’s famous South Street, the museum includes an immersive outdoor art installation and indoor galleries. Zagar created the space using nontraditional materials such as folk art statues, found objects, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, hand-made tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors. The site is enveloped in visual anecdotes and personal narratives that refer to Zagar’s life, family, and community, as well as references from the wider world such as influential art history figures and other visionary artists and environments.

PMG is a unique Philadelphia destination that inspires creativity and community engagement by providing educational opportunities and diverse public programming to thousands of visitors each year. For more information, visit www.phillymagicgardens.org.

 

If you would like to contribute and write a letter of support for the historical designation for the Painted Bride façade , please send to:

Philadelphia Historical Commission
1515 Arch Street, 13th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

 

Isaiah Zager in front of mosaic. Ted Degener, 2014. Isaiah Zagar in front of one of his vibrant mosaics. Ted Degener, 2014.

Summer Internship Opportunity at the Hartman Rock Garden

Posted in job opportunities

Hartman Rock Garden, 2010

The Hartman Rock Garden (Springfield, Ohio) is offering a paid internship this summer to students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs who wish to gain professional experience in the fields of geology, history, art history, conservation, and museum studies. Applications are due April 6.

 

This intern will work alongside the garden’s strong volunteer base and professional advisors, including art historians, geologists, and art conservators. Tasks will include identifying the types of rocks and minerals that Ben Hartman used in the construction of the garden and attempting to ascertain the sources of those materials. This will include fieldwork in nearby streams and fields. The internship will also include interpreting and writing a “rock tour” of the garden, as well as basic hands-on conservation of rock and mineral art objects. This internship totals approximately 185 hours during the summer term. Schedules are based on the intern’s academic calendar. A $1500 stipend will be awarded at the completion of the internship.

 

Hartman summer internship 2018 information PDF

 

Hartman Rock Garden, 2010, Nicolas Lowe.Hartman Rock Garden, 2010, Nicolas Lowe.

Learn more about the Hartman Rock Garden on SPACES here!

See the Hartman Rock Garden website here.

University of Granada in Spain offers course in Art Brut

Posted in Resources

The course Art Brut: Parallel Worlds. Brutality and Sincerity in Art is being offerred at the University of Granada (Spain). 

This course will focus on the interdisciplinary analysis of the work of artists of different nationalities who, without having received a formal education, develop their work outside the commercial circuits of art with their own poetic and creative process, resulting in creations that don’t presribe to all norms of the contemporary artistic world. This is sometimes referred as Outsider Art or Art Brut.

There will be a tour through unique collections such as La Fabuloserie, L’Aracine or the one gathered by Jean Dubuffet in Switzerland, all the result of a different and revolutionary historiographic and artistic approach. 

Two workshops will be carried out: the one proposed by Los Hermanos Oligor and Microscopy and another one of drawing proposed by the director of the course and titular professor of the Department of Drawing of the University of Granada Dª.Asunción Jódar Miñarro.

For further information, contact Pepa Mora Sánchez, at pepamorasanchez (at) gmail.com.

Art Brut: Parallel Worlds. Brutality and Sincerity in Art

art-brut-mundos-paralelos-brutalidad-y-sinceridad

Justo Gallego's Cathedral may be saved!

Brick by brick, Justo Gallego has been constructing a full-scale cathedral since 1961 in the small city of Mejorada del Campo, located just outside of Madrid, Spain. Building without permits, plans, or permissions, he trusted that his labors would ultimately be rewarded and the cathedral would be finished and used for its intended purpose, despite literally decades of threats from municipal and ecclesiastic authorities that it would be demolished immediately following his death. In February 2018, however, all of the political parties of Mejorada del Campo unanimously approved a resolution to designate the cathedral as a Bien de Interés Cultural - a cultural heritage site – and to begin the process of “legalizing” it and bringing it up to code.

SPACES’s Director Jo Farb Hernández has been working with Don Justo since 2008, and a chapter about his work appears in her book Singular Spaces: From the Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art Environments. For further information about the Cathedral and images of the work in process, see http://spacesarchives.org/explore/collection/environment/justo-gallego-martinezs-cathedral/

 

Le gazouillis des éléphants by Bruno Montpied arrives at SPACES Archives

Posted in Resources

fullsizeoutputf9

In this monumental 900-page book, artist and writer Bruno Montpied explores the art environments of France. Le gazouillis des éléphants (the Chirping of Elephants) digs deeply into over 300 sites scattered across the country in great detail, with photographs and information on each site. Arranged geographically, each section focuses on a different area of France and the beginning of each chapter includes a map of the region with indications of where the sites are located. 

elephants

“It seemed to me that it was necessary to gather together all of the sites in a kind of general inventory, as a whole and as completely as possible, including all of the environments or little outdoor museums created by self-taught artists as well as the inventive artwork of non-professionals…” said Montpied of the project. 

 fullsizeoutputf1-87f

A perfect tool for researchers, Le gazouillis des éléphants features statistical information in an index that offers insights not typically examined on such a scale. Sociological statistics like the number of sites per region, the number of female creators, reasons that triggered a site’s creation, and sites newly discovered by the author, among others, empower researchers to gain valuable information for analyzing the phenomenon of artist-built environments across France. 

 

The publisher’s website sheds some light on the title of the book: Le gazouillis des éléphants is borrowed from an inscription found in the listed site of Alexis Le Breton in Brittany. It refers to a curious aspect of this inventory: the unusual recurrence of representations of elephants, which become a motif throughout the book, as if these animals played the role of mascots for these outstanding creators. 

 

This book, written in French, is available at the SPACES Archive at the Kohler Foundation, Inc., for researchers and interested parties to review, by appointment. 

Laura Pope Forester home sees bright future ahead!

Posted in Gardens, Preservation News

 

fullsizeoutput128May 1990

The current owners of the Laura Pope Forester home, also known as Mrs. Pope’s Museum and Garden or Pope Store Museum, have been hard at work with the goal of refurbishing the site’s gardens, sculptures, murals, and other works of art. Laura Pope (1900-1953) had built an extraordinary garden around her antebellum rural residence in Ochlocknee, GA, which included over 200 figurative sculptures. Most were three-dimensional, but others were bas-reliefs or busts set into or topping the walls and the elaborate arched gateway on the periphery of her property. She built her works up on a metal infrastructure composed of found objects such as scrap iron and tin cans, later covering them with concrete. 

 

Her subjects, mostly “outstanding individuals of fact and fancy” and mostly female, focused on a diverse and wide-ranging group of significant or iconic women, but there were also figures from tales and legend. Other works included a series of seven faces representing the world’s major religions; thought to have been taken from plaster casts, it has been suggested that they were molded from her friends.

 

fullsizeoutput126May 1990

After Laura Pope’s death, the family maintained the property without making significant changes, and for some time it remained a local tourist attraction and roadside curiosity that was supported, in part, by a civic club and Pelham’s Chamber of Commerce. However, in 1974, her only surviving son sold the site to a mill owner from the nearby town of Meigs. He thought that the sculptures had “passed their days of being useful,” so he dismantled and destroyed most of the freestanding works, leaving only some dozen that had been built into the walls. Most of the rest were destroyed in 1981, yet by 1990 several still remained within the garden walls.

 

By the time the current owners purchased the property and moved on-site in July 2017, the entire property had been severely neglected. Since then, considerable effort and progress has been made to rebrand both the property and Laura Pope Forester’s work, as well as to restore the structure of the building. A new nonprofit corporation – Pope’s Museum Preservation, Inc.- has been set up, and they are going through the process of preparing an application to add the home and grounds to the National and Georgia Registers of Historic Places under the categories of art, recreation and leisure, and women’s history. 

 

fullsizeoutput124Image from Popes Museum Preservation

You can follow along with the progress of the restoration through their newly launched website, which includes a blog with behind-the-scenes images of daily discoveries made while working on the site. You can learn more about Laura Pope Forester at SPACES here and see the Pope Store Museum website here.

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Highlights

Hoffman's The Last Resort in California to Form Non-Profit
Preservation News, Take Action, Threatened Environments

Dispatch from the Field: Singular Spaces, Volume 2 in progress!

Kohler Foundation seeks Preservation Coordinator
job opportunities, Preservation News

UPDATE! Save Nashville artist William Edmondson's homesite!
Preservation News, Self-Taught Arts in the News, Take Action, Threatened Environments

Save Nashville artist William Edmondson's homesite!
Preservation News, Take Action, Threatened Environments

Upcoming Hearing on Historically Designating the Painted Bride Arts Center
Gardens, Preservation News, Take Action

Sign petition to save Justo Gallego's Cathedral!
Religious, Devotional & Spiritual, Take Action, Threatened Environments

Raise your voice in support of Philadelphia's Painted Bride!
Take Action, Threatened Environments

Association des Amis de Chomo unveils new website

Gabriel Albert Sculpture Garden Undergoes Restoration
Gardens, Preservation News, Self-Taught Arts in the News

The SPACES website allows you to save your favorite art environments and share them with your friends or colleagues. Create your own portfolio of your favorites from environments in the online collection.

Send them to your friends, post them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and tag #spacesarchives 

Look for this button on pages that can be saved:

Add Page to my spaces