The 2020/2021 Art Maze in Julius Kleiner Memorial Park in Meridian Idaho was so fun and interesting to set up. It came down on Sept. 11th, 2021. I am always interested in creating new ways for myself and others to experience art. The 150ft in diameter Maze was in the shape of a coronavirus. In the viruses nodules, there were artworks printed on canvas and displayed. The print images were created during the 2020/2021 time period. The images were displayed in chronological order.
My hope for the artwork was to create a space where art goers could unpack some of the pandemics events and mental challenges. I was hoping that they would find comfort in knowing other people are going through similar emotions. As people walk through the maze and exited the other side the expectation was that they would have a sense that they are and have made it through something significant, metaphorically and physically. I would love to set up this exhibit in other cities. I think it is a unique and fresh way to take in an art experience.
I believe documenting and sharing our experiences can help us to process trauma, grieving, feelings of isolation physically and mentally. We can learn from one another, console one another, and see how other people in our communities have survived and moved on, through, up, and away from mental and physical harm.
I am a community builder artist, and yes, I did just make that title up, but it doesn’t make it any less accurate. Part of my art practice is to work within the community and help create an understanding of one another and some common good. I have partnered with shelters, churches, refugee organizations, schools, arts organizations, miscellaneous non-profits, and individual do-gooders. I try to provide resources, connections, project scheming and creative brainstorming, event planning, consulting, fundraising, awareness, and images to help the organizations create a caring world for us to live in. If you are interested in a collaboration, you can contact me through my website. I would be happy to dream and scheme with you.
Professional Judges comments from Art and Soul of the Magic Valley 2021
2D Honorable Mention - 11-054 - Wendy Blickenstaff
This is a powerful mixed-media piece that really illustrates the chaos that has ensued over the past year, during the pandemic. It is a celebration of art and creating during a time of fear and death. You can see the emotional gymnastics the artist has been subjected to, as well as the sense of collective suffering. Clearly a printmaker, the artist has pieced together lots of different prints, each conveying some little piece of human experience, whether its empathy, hunger, isolation, connectedness, or even the joy we felt during an otherwise excruciating time. Each print is seemingly sewn together with her own humanity, and the whole thing is tied and weighted down with large blue rocks, as if to emulate the weight of such difficult times. A wonderfully quirky, large footed figure also rests at the bottom right of the piece, with hands over its face as if overwhelmed by the all the emotions and the possibility of re-assembling the impossible puzzle pieces surrounding the outer edge. Will we ever recover? A lovely element in the work is the artist’s invitation for the viewer to participate and share their own experience in their own words- an obvious reminder that we are all in this together. It offers an altruistic, therapeutic experience that is accessible and very much appreciated as we are all moving forward together. Sincere gratitude to the artist, her intentions, and her medium.
150ft in diameter Art Maze shaped like a coronavirus in Julius Kleiner Memorial Park