Home and place will be explored artistically in 8 Hour Art Project

The Doane Hall of Art will host several artists both from the college and from the surrounding area to participate in their annual 8 Hour Art Projects on Sept. 5 from 9 a.m to 6 p.m.

Heather Brand, the acting gallery director, is working to organize the event. She said that the show is both for people to watch and for people to get involved and participate in.

“We’ve invited eight artists to make work in the gallery over eight hours that will then be displayed in the exhibit,” Brand said. “Some of this work is very participatory, they need students there interacting or volunteering and then other people will be there just making their art.”

Steve Prince, an art professor on campus, will be participating for the second time.

He said the art event is a way for artists to not only show their artistic abilities but also to show the process behind it.

“Each artist that is participating has the opportunity to create a work of art in the span of eight hours,” Prince said. “People can get a glimpse of what an artist does within the studio space in terms of how they create and how they make and begin to see people’s individualized processes.”

Prince said because the show is hosted within the context of an institution it offers students the chance to engage with working artists and give them an example to follow. He said it shows students how there are many different ways to approach one topic.

This year to tie the show back into the Year of Meadville Gateway theme, the topic the artists will be interpreting is home or place.

“I begin to reflect on those different things in terms of what comes to mind when I begin to think about that,” Prince said. “I have to think about how far I can stretch that definition of place and space and home. When you think about it there’s some things that may automatically come to your mind based upon your experience. My idea of place and space and home is going to be completely different than another person’s vantage point.”

Brand said that while the artists know about the show in advance they are asked to think about the theme and act right away. She said that some artists will come to the event with an idea in their head about how they want to approach the project and others will come with no idea where to even start.

“I know what a few of the artists are planning on doing but we are asking the artists to act on their feet, to think on their toes kind of thing,” Brand said. “Sometimes your plan doesn’t always work out. Many of [the artists] have never been to this gallery before so they’re allowing themselves to be vulnerable. They’re walking into a situation where they don’t know how many people will be coming through, they don’t know how much space they exactly have but some of them have it very well planned and other seems to be open to improve. It depends on the artist and the way they work.”

Byron Rich, an art professor on campus, will be contributing to the show for his second year and said he will be going into the gallery on Saturday with no idea what he will create.

“It should be an interesting way to go about it,” Rich said. “I’m bringing with me a bunch of things that might help me out like some microphones, some speakers, some miniature amplifiers and a computer and a large printer. I have a loose set of parameters I’m going to work with.”

Rich said that he wants all that attend to walk away from the show recognizing the different elements that make up one academic experience.

“I would like people to come away with the idea that there is still spontaneity even in an academic setting like this,” Rich said. “All of us have our own media that we use and our own fundamental ideas that are at the root of everything we do but there is still a sense of adventure and wonder when we make stuff. Not everything is this premeditated, overly academic art works.”

After the initial show there will be a panel discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 8 from 7-9 p.m. in the gallery.

“It’s a nice way to start a conversation with students about the [Gateway theme] right at the beginning of the semester,” Brand said. “It’s a great way to set the tone for the rest of the year and work shopping that idea in many ways.”

Brand said at the discussion a couple artists will be in attendance to present their work and talk about their process and answer any questions.
She said while the project itself is informal the panel discussion will be more formal and informative.