Creating Installation Art w/ Cheekwood’s Artist-In-Residence

Article written by Allyson, a graduate student in the dual MAAA/MPA program at SPEA. During the academic year Allyson serves as a Graduate Assistant at the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation and as a Teaching Assistant for Professor Wilkerson. She is currently interning with Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art in Nashville, TN.

This is my 10th week at Cheekwood and I only have one left! My time here has been so wonderful and full of awesome learning experiences! One experience I am very thankful for was to be able to work with the new Artist in Residence, Soo Sunny Park. Soo Sunny is a sculptor who is originally from Korea, but completed her schooling in the US and is now a faculty member at Dartmouth. She creates pieces that play on the idea of light and space as well as the differences and similarities in two-dimensional art verses three-dimensional art. I find her work to be really interesting and inspirational.

While she is here, she is creating and installing several pieces for an exhibit opening at the end of August. There is so much to be done before then though that she requested volunteers to assist with the creation and installation process. It did not take me long to sign up! I picked up two shifts to help her create a piece made from wire, sheet metal, and a special kind of tar paper. The shifts had anywhere from four to eight volunteers and we usually paired up to work on individual sections of the wire mesh. We worked together to carefully weave long strips of the black tar paper through the wire, creating almost a basket type piece.

The first shift I volunteered, I worked with an older woman who was incredibly excited about everything! The second shift, I worked with a woman who used to be an art teacher and now she has moved to Nashville to try a new career in nonprofit and public arts education. It was really awesome to work with both of these women. All together, we made about six sections of the 100+ that will go into the final installation. It took about an hour per section.

It was really awesome as an arts administrator with a background in creating visual art to be able to go back to my roots a bit and help a professional with something amazing! I am so thankful to have had this experience along with the many others Cheekwood has allowed me. It will definitely be bittersweet to move back to Bloomington for my last year of school. Hopefully I can come back to visit and maybe move to Nashville for work next year!

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