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Art Museum Turns City into Giant Photo Exhibition

July 31, 2014 — The Springfield Art Museum will reveal a public art project Thursday, Aug. 14, at the Springfield Art Museum. The projects, titled “Springfield Neighbors” by Memphis artist Richard Lou is meant to spark dialogue within the community regarding race,identity and diversity.

The project highlights five familiesliving in various parts of Springfield. Each family was photographed and interviewed by Lou and a group of student volunteers, who then worked together to create large, outdoor digital photo-collages to be displayed outside of each family’s home.

Over a period of five months, the photo-collages will rotate from home to home on a monthly basis, with each family hosting another during the run of the outdoor exhibition. The artworks will be unveiled on 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 14 at an artist talk with Richard Lou in the Museum’s Auditorium.

A two-hour driving tour of the artworks will begin at 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 15 and 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Art Museum. Receptions following each driving tour will also take place at the Art Museum.

“We are very excited about ‘Springfield Neighbors’,” said Nick Nelson, director. “This project moves art outside of the Museum walls and provides a form of public art that is as much about empowering people with a voice as it is about activating space or memorializing the past.”

In an artist statement, Richard Lou explains, “My interest in this project was to act as a facilitator and cultural worker, where the content of the work are the residents of Springfield, to shift the focus of cultural production from the museum/gallery space to people’s homes where actual production of culture occurs, to collectively think about the expanding notion of home, family, and community, and finally to have a group of people, mostly strangers, accept the symbolic images of another ‘family’ into their home space for a period of time ­ inviting and extending the notion of a loving sanctuary.”

He goes on to say, “These ideas are in the spirit of a phrase often used in Chicana/o parlance, ‘Tu Eres Mi Otro Yo,’ ­ or ‘you are my other self’.”

The “Springfield Neighbors” project is part of a series of activities planned around the Springfield-Greene County Library District’s traveling exhibition “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963” which is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History.

The exhibit is part of a year-long educational initiative by the Greater Springfield Race & Faith Collaborative that began in August 2013 with aUnity March to the Square. The “Springfield Neighbors” project is meant to carry forward the Greater Springfield Race & Faith Collaborative’s efforts to engage the community in dialogue about race relations through public art. The mission of the Greater Springfield Race & Faith Collaborative is “to enhance and promote a deeper understanding of race and race relations in the Greater Springfield area, and to educate and mobilize people to help build a fair and just community for all.”

The “Changing America” exhibition will be on display at the Library Center from July 9-Aug. 22, 2014. The “Springfield Neighbors” project will remain on display until January 2015 at various locations in Springfield. Admission to all events is free.

For more information regarding the “Springfield Neighbors” project, contact the Springfield Art Museum at 417-837-5700 or artmuseum@springfieldmo.gov.

PRESS CONTACTS

Kathleen O'Dell
Community Relations Director
kathleeno@thelibrary.org
(417) 616-0564
Sarah Jane Rosendahl
Copywriter
sarahr@thelibrary.org
(417) 616-0566
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