Western Project is happy to announce a solo exhibition of new works
by Daniel Brice: Polaroid Paintings
June 3 - 29, 2018 at Werkartz / Chinatown
119 Wilhardt St. Los Angeles, CA 90012
*Enter main WERKARTZ building on Wilhardt Street
Opening Reception: Sunday, June 3, 2:00 - 4:00 PM
Regular Hours By Appointment (310-838-0609):
Wednesday - Sunday 12:00 - 4:00 PM
Group Show with:
Carole Caroompas, Dion Johnson, Patrick Lee, and Wayne White
For appointment call 310-838-0609
Follow us on Instagram @westernproject
For more images and information please contact :
GROUP SHOW: Carole Caroompas, Dion Johnson, Patrick Lee, Wayne White
June 3 - 29, 2018
June 3 - 29, 2018 at Werkartz / Chinatown
119 Wilhardt St. Los Angeles, CA 90012
*Enter main WERKARTZ building on Wilhardt Street
Opening Reception: Sunday, June 3, 2:00 - 4:00 PM
Regular Hours By Appointment (310-838-0609):
Wednesday - Sunday 12:00 - 4:00 PM
Dion Johnson’s abstract paintings inhabit hairline margins between technologic and handmade. The ten examples in “Feel the Sky,” Johnson’s decadal retrospective at Azusa Pacific University, chart his pictorial evolution while affirming his enduring interests.
From across the room, Johnson’s hard-edge linear compositions evoke spectroscopic absorption lines, television interference, digital filaments and desktop computer backgrounds. These images might as well be computer-generated, so coolly precise they appear. However, closer examination reveals subtle textural quirks: pockmarks where bubbles effused from wet paint, scratches, wash irregularities and masking-line thickness from overlapped paint buildup.
Johnson devises his pictures with the premeditation of an architect. He crafts his compositions in Photoshop, then transfers the initial sketches, which he considers “blueprints,” to canvases via rulers and masking tape. Even his utensils—drywall tools, rubber spatulas and spray guns—seem more like that of a mason. It is within vagaries of paint application that Johnson’s pictures accrete homey idiosyncratic charm.
Via his informal painterliness, Johnson imbues his pictures with familiarity that counterbalances their digital schema. Edge (2008) appears as a nonchalant watercolor banner of juxtaposed blue, orange and yellow blocks. Bleed-lines betoken the hues’ slight imbrications, while a toothy border underscores the paper ground’s texture. This piece evokes a fabric swatch.
Slide (2010) and Flipside (2011) channel 1970’s Lucite accessories, with burnt orange and brown-gold glazes emitting vibrant luster. However, resinous color strata would never bear such sharp demarcations.
Having studied with Karl Benjamin at Claremont Graduate University, Johnson is clearly a contemporary heir to California Hard-Edge painting. Yet his hand-wrought idiosyncrasy also suggests movements associated more with New York, such as Color Field painting of Morris Louis, Barnett Newman, Frank Stella, et al.
Johnson also cites Pop Art as inspiration. Indeed, his references to the pervasiveness of digital aesthetics could be viewed as a contemporary iteration of Pop, similar to Lichtenstein’s appropriation of comic book styles. While his early pieces invoke Pantone-esque graphic design and vintage home decor, Johnson’s later paintings become more ethereal, heightening the atmospheric nature implied by the show’s title. Ad Astra(2017) conjures sunrise and sunset bifurcated by quotidian activity. Radiant pictures as these bring to mind digital screens as replacements for stained glass.
Dion Johnson, “Feel the Sky,” Jan. 12- Mar. 2 at Azusa Pacific University’s Duke Gallery, 701 E. Foothill Blvd., Azusa, CA 91702. www.apu.edu/gallery
See original article at artillerymag.com
FEEL THE SKY
A Ten-Year Survey
Exhibition: Jan. 12th - Mar. 2nd, 2018
Lecture: Jan. 12th, 6pm
Reception: Jan. 12th, 7pm
Gallery hours: M - F 10am - 5pm
Exhibition catalog available
Duke Art Gallery | Azusa Pacific University
701 E. Foothill Blvd. Azusa, CA 91702
(626) 815-6000 x 5726 | email@example.com
"Johnson is circumstantially a digital painter, but free from the pessimism and the burden of perfection – endowed with an analog attitude, maybe. In Ad Astra (2017), the most recent painting on view here, the composition announces itself as something that could only exist now, in an era in which artists can stretch and condense colors and shapes on computer screens. But the digital is a tool, not a fixation. A compression of warm and cool, straight and curved bands of color coexist, moving in and out of each other, at the center of Ad Astra. The lines are clean, but matter-of-factly so; even if they were painstakingly produced, none read as obsessive. On either side is a spacious expanse of red – on the left, the red fades upwards toward pink and on the right, downward. Because the composition leaves breathing room, the mind feels free to ricochet out, to move back and forth between screen and landscape, surface and atmosphere."
- Cathrine Wagley, exhibition essay excerpt
Dion Johnson: Momentum - Film by Eric Minh Swenson
Exhibition on view through June 28, 2017
LOCATION: Werkartz 927 S. Santa Fe Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90021
HOURS: Wednesday - Sunday 12:00 - 6:00PM
Western Project is proud to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Dion Johnson. This new body of work, Color Chords, will be shown at Werkartz in downtown Los Angeles.
Influenced by his recent trekking through the Himalayas in Nepal, along with the natural and urban terrain of Southern California, Johnson has found new compositions and color relationships for his abstract language. Like his predecessor, John McLaughlin, Johnson has found a bridge between an Eastern sensibility and Western iconography. This appears primarily in his spatial relationships; dense color fields and gradient atmospheres suggest skies, water, or glowing city nights. While one could sense a familiarity with Turrell environments, Johnson's scale is far more intimate: a feeling of some internal vision, or steep vista, or perhaps as an abstract thangka. It is the play of solid color fields and ambient gradations, which make these works a melding of the natural, architectural and cinematic worlds. They convey a sense of not looking at nature, but being present in it; as in a grand city on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
Johnson has always had a keen interest in color, especially in Paul Klee's polyphonic approach; of simultaneous blocks of colors producing a kind of rhythm and harmony, a musicality of time, fluctuation, and sensation. It is Johnson's shapes and compositions, which set up rhythms and visual chords. His progressive forms have a kind of linear sense, but more importantly a wholeness, much like the beginning of a cool morning walk which ends in the mid day sun; the path and the perception are one.
This is a marked departure for Johnson's work as it is more pointedly a subjective declaration of experience and less a formal construct. His luminous depictions do not divide the natural and the synthetic but celebrate their marriage as a contemporary value. Using a spray gun to produce layered horizons, and Photoshop to produce drawings, he fuses the tradition of historic abstract painting with the exactness of digital film production. Johnson's paintings are flawlessly made by hand; each inch is pristine. The 1960s expressionism of Jules Olitski and Sam Francis edge paintings echo in these works but are antecedents of a Western trajectory and time. Johnson's works synthesize a global techno world sensibility with a quiet personal communion.
Johnson is represented by Western Project, Los Angles, California; Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, Texas and Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona. He has shown at DeBuck Gallery and Bill Maynes Gallery, New York; Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, Ohio; Stephen Stux Gallery, NewYork; CarlBergGalleryandRichardHellerGalleryinLosAngeles; James Kelly Contemporary in Santa Fe; Torrance Art Museum, and other galleries and museums across the US. He received his MFA from Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California and BFA from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
His work is in publiccollectionssuchasTheColumbusMuseumofArt, Columbus, Ohio; The Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, Ohio; The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio; Twitter, Santa Monica, California; The Capital Group Companies, Los Angeles, California; Creative Artists Agency, Century City, California; ProgressiveCorporation, MayfieldVillage, Ohio; WellingtonManagement, Boston, Massachusetts; The Copelouzos Family Art Museum, Athens, Greece, and more.
December 3, 2016
MAINX24 PUPPET PARADE
Main St., Chattanooga
1800 Rossville Avenue, #108
Chattanooga, TN 37408
Join Wayne-O-Rama and march with giant puppets in this year's MAINX24 parade! Puppets and walkers welcome. Meet us at the Wayne-O-Rama space at 10 AM to march or cheer the puppets on from the parade route! - Visit Event Page
MAINX24 WAYNE-O-RAMA OPEN HOUSE
1800 Rossville Avenue, #108
Chattanooga, TN 37408
Visit Wayne-O-Rama and the working studio in the Love Gallery for a fun open house event. Tour the studio and talk with team members about the yearlong installation. - Visit Event Page
Derek Peters of @Chattographer took some great pictures of some dedicated volunteers working hard to help bring Wayne-O-Rama to life -
Walter Gropius Master Artist Series Presents: Patrick Lee Solo Exhibition and Drawing Workshop at the
Huntington Museum of Art, WV
September 24 - December 30, 2016
October 13 - October 24, 2016
at FOUR SIX ONE NINE: 4619 W. Washington Blvd. LA, CA 90016
Thursday - Sunday 12:00 - 4:00 PM and by appointment
October 13 - October 24, 2016
Open Thursday through Sunday, 12:00 - 4:00 PM
Opening Reception Thursday October 13, 5:00 - 9:00 PM
FOUR SIX ONE NINE
4619 W. Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016
Western Project is proud to present a group exhibition, Tales of the Flesh Part 2: Born Adversaries, featuring Carole Caroompas, Patrick Lee and Aaron Sheppard at FOUR SIX ONE NINE (4619 W. Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016) Each artist works and lives in Southern California and has exhibited numerous times with the gallery. This special pop up exhibition highlights a second look at work that addresses the human figure as a narrative source. All three artists work with the body/figure as an origin of story telling for political, social, historical and/or erotic purposes.
Carole Caroompas is perhaps the most underrated yet influential painter of her generation, producing 30 plus years of hard-core figurative works unlike any other female counterpart. As an artist she is no Joan of Arc martyr of the early feminist moment, but more the Hindu Kali figure disrupting and fiercely reconfiguring ideas and images. Caroompas has never settled for simplistic questions or answers, and her work has never been polite. It challenges our notions of power and gender, and relationships between men and women, most often in large, epic scale works; monster-scale cosmologies dissecting our cultural assumptions of what is normal and/or true. Her use of collaged imagery creates a fragmented, non-linear narrative; on first glance appearing as the dream-like nature of the mind but is instead a highly organized composition. Her signature format is a visual and conceptual overload: a Surrealistic collage aesthetic on steroids.
Included in this exhibition are works from the series, Fairy Tales (1988 - 1990), and Before and After Frankenstein: The Woman That Knew Too Much (from 1991 - 1994). In these pieces Caroompas reworks our assumptions - as she has written “to deconstruct sexist and authoritarian perspective in order to retell and reconstruct the narrative”. It is a kind of gleeful (and theatrical) remapping or rewriting of cultural binary norms: scripting alternate histories and myths as incisive new sets of possibilities. In both the Grimms’ Fairytale series and Before and After Frankenstein: The Woman Who Knew Too Much, the artist uses a heavy dose of humor to cajole the viewer through her kaleidoscopic imagery. Violence, sex and humor become a lethal combo, echoing the exciting and disturbing films of Russ Meyer or Quentin Tarantino. The difference is, she is not kidding. In the same way science fiction can talk about psychological and ethical issues (a la Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein), Caroompas’ tales evoke hopes of a new world; outlaw at first glance, ultimately as romantic as the Sex Pistols Here Comes The Bullocks. In our age of seven billion plus hall monitors, it is remarkable to witness conviction without compromise.
The drawings of Patrick Lee have for twenty years dealt with the poignancy of human experience. Creating immensely detailed portraits of real people found on the streets of America, his work has a profundity and presence not typically found in academic portraiture. Quite possibly because he is interested in people on the fringe of American culture: the poor, addicted, abused or unlucky. His graphite drawings are typically one and a half size larger than human scale, producing a monumentality unassociated with depictions of the downtrodden. Using photographs of his subjects as well as long interviews, Lee is able to conjure a likeness that has tangible feeling more than pure accurateness. He is fascinated with ideas of masculinity: how it is acquired and developed for power and sex, along with its shifting qualities. His interest in the outer edges of society are its’ reflection; appearances mask the vital essence of our humanity. Unlike the bleak realism of Ingmar Berman’s films, Lee’s images are perhaps more similar to the humanist film work of Jean-Luc Goddard. Lee’s images point only to the subjects, not the artist or the art world. His drawings emanate a kind of dignity and respect that is not romanticized or illustrated. It appears only in the minds’ recognition of a tangible ‘us-ness’ of his images. They are us and we are them: scarred, tattooed, drugged and impoverished. But simultaneously magnificent.
Aaron Sheppard is an artist’s artist. His work traverses painting, sculpture, drawing, performance, and installation. The new Double Wide With Hydra, is his version of Dürer's Feast of the Rosary from 1506. Sheppard’s sensibility has always appeared profane, gritty and often taboo, but internally contains the humility of spiritual adoration. He thematically hopscotches across time, history and styles often using classical compositions as a trope to explore more fluid ideas about desire and sexuality. From the formal religious painting Feast of the Rosary, Sheppard has created a circus barge of characters:
“A Victorian mermaid queen with two vaginas allows Dante closer examination of her "second beauty". Baby Jesus fish crowns Captain Nemo while he himself gets crowned by the fangs of Leviathan. Eek the Geek waits in line to meet the Mer-Queen, as do characters from Alice in Wonderland, a pregnant Zulu princess, Judas, a dragon, a clown, a cannibal, Death...even Dürer himself. They flank her like kids at the mall waiting to sit on Santa's lap. A barker donning Gallagher's top hat hands out halos and urinates on the crowd."
He often presents human biological variation as gifted saints come to deliver a different message: life is all forms, and desires all forms. Mary as mermaid with two vaginas. Is this reverence, blasphemy or Bhakti? Is this a divine freak show? Dante is beguiled and bewitched by his desire as are all the figures surrounding the mermaid. This work addresses his question, “is it not possible to have earthly and heavenly delights simultaneously? Use and enjoy it all while still properly expressing love? Have your cake and eat it too (without losing/off with your head)?”
Sheppard’s enormous 20 foot painting is mural size, nearly identical to the scale of Ensor’s, Christ’s Entry Into Brussels from 1889. Both share an expressionistic quality and energy; each event stylistically depicted with grotesque figures enhancing the pathos of human drama. Additionally, his paint quality is forcefully ragged yet calculated. It is a kind of pop or camp expressionism, able to suggest the emotionality and fervor of sex and desire; a fury of exaggeration in which Life is seen as flourishing.
The right panel of Double Wide may contain another moral tale: in a cave Hercules is battling the Leviathan threatening the mermaid, while his own penis is sprouting into the Hydra itself. Consumed by one’s own craving? It is perhaps the similar path.
Sheppard gives no answers except to suggest that the complexity of mortal life is to be enjoyed; variance is a gift, the pageantry is to be participated in, and living is immediate and vital. However in another moment, he writes, “I don’t know what it is all about. Fantasy and fish, piss and cherub cock…”
It is all good.
Carole Caroompas’ work was recently include in, Romancing the West: A Legacy of American Images, William Roland Fine Art Gallery at California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California and Lore and Behold: The Art of Carole Caroompas, at The Boone Family Gallery at Pasadena City College, Pasadena California. She has exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C. She has also been the recipient of numerous artist grants such as, National Endowment for the Arts (twice), The Esther and Adolph Gottlieb Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.
In September 2016, Patrick Lee is the subject of a Solo Exhibition and Drawing Workshop at the Huntington Museum of Art, West Virginia. He has had numerous national and international exhibitions. He was included in, Drawings for the New Century, at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, B-B-B-BAD, an exhibition with attitudes, at Anna Kustera Gallery, New York, Male at Maureen Paley Gallery, London, UK, curated by Vince Aletti, and Lush Life at Salon 94, New York. He has also exhibited at Ameringer McEnery Yohe in New York, the Francis Young Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina, University of La Verne, La Verne, California, Howard House in Seattle, Washington, and the Marc Selwyn Gallery in Los Angeles, California. He is in the collection of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Georgia Museum of Fine Arts, Georgia, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas. He is also a recipient of the Peter S. Reed Foundation grant for 2006.
Aaron Sheppard recently appeared in the Nameless Skypeband performing at Sraatliche Akademie Der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe (Academy of Fine Arts, Karlsruhe, Germany), performed and inaugurated Bearded and Shucked, 1st Annual Mermaid Parade, Joshua Tree, California. He is a recipient of the Peter S. Reed Foundation Achievement Award. He has had solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, Austria, Volume 1E Brooklyn, New York, and galleries in Tokyo, Beijing, London, Las Vegas and Washington DC. Sheppard has performed in “Conceptualizing the Body: Gaze, Masquerade, and Spectacle”, at SUNY College in Old Westbury, New York, the Fringe Festival in Australia, and shown video in, Maid in China(town), Chinese Biennale, Ku Art Center, Beijing China. His work has been written about in BOMB magazine, Artillery, The Huffington Post, Las Vegas Weekly, among many others.
Commission for private collection, Los Angeles.
Romancing the West: A Legacy of American Images
William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art
On view: June 10–July 11, 2016
This exhibition predominantly features work from the William Rolland Art Collection. Including paintings, sculptures and drawings, the exhibit highlights how Western-themed art influenced ideas about what America is, abroad and at home. Beginning with images of the late 19th-century frontier and early 20th-century works, the exhibition tracks the social, political and cultural implications of these images, while showcasing gorgeous examples of modern and contemporary works.
Artists featured include István Benyovszky, Carole Caroompas, Nicholas Coleman, Cyrus Edwin Dallin, Glenn Dean, Tracy Felix, David Grossmann, Logan Maxwell Hagege, Frank Tenney Johnson, Roy Kerswill, Jeremy Lipking, Albert Micale, Billy Schenck, Harold Shelton and Oleg Stavrowsky.
This is a Block Party Puppet Parade kicking off the public events for WAYNE-O-RAMA part of an ongoing organization to bring life to the historic Glass Street neighborhood in East Chattanooga.
Please visit the GLASS HOUSE COLLECTIVE website for more information and for ways that you can participate!
Award-winning artist Wayne White is part of year-long interactive art event focusing on his hometown
August 22, 2016 By Barry Courter
Inspired by his childhood in Chattanooga, artist Wayne White, perhaps best known for the designs and characters he created for "Pee-wee's Playhouse," wants to repay the favor.
In collaboration with the Shaking Ray Levi Society and several community partners, White, a three-time winner in the Daytime Emmys for art direction — he designed the puppets on "Playhouse" in the late '80s — has created Wayne-O-Rama, a year-long interactive installation that will include giant puppets, live music, sculptures and classroom experiences for teachers and students. White says he wants to focus on the city's history, beauty and art to perhaps inspire the next generation of artists just like he was inspired.
"There's a very long story waiting for you when you're born. Mine was Chattanooga. Now it's my time to add to and hopefully enrich that story with my art," says White, who also earned an art direction Grammy for Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight, Tonight" video in 1996 and a Billboard award in Best Art Direction for Peter Gabriel's "Big Time" video in 1986.
"This project and my hands-on involvement with it will not only inspire and help grow the creative community, but also will reach out to people who have never been in a museum or a gallery and become a nationwide destination. Everybody likes a good story."
As part of Wayne-O-Rama, a working studio will be set up at 1800 Rossville Ave. in the former Chattanooga Folk School and Ignis Glass space. White, who also won a Billboard award for best Art Direction for Peter Gabriel's "Big Time" music video in 1986, will visit the studio periodically throughout the year and also will be available to communicate electronically with teachers, artists and students who are there working.
In some cases, they will be at the studio working on four installations designed by White. He has created four maquettes, or small preliminary models, for the larger installations — some 20 feet tall — that will be created and kept at the studio. The four models depict blues legend Bessie Smith, Lookout Mountain, local kids TV pioneer Bob Brandy and Chief Dragging Canoe, war chief of the Chickamauga Cherokee.
Each represents a person or part of the city's history that have impacted White throughout his life. They will have interactive parts and will be mobile, requiring two to three people to maneuver them, so they can be utilized at off-sight events.
Organizers have been reaching out to local teachers and artists, enlisting them to use the space and incorporate it into their classroom work, according to Jennifer Crutchfield, director of public relations at WTCI-TV 45 who's helping with publicity for Wayne-O-Rama.
"We also will be hosting workshops and events that Shaking Ray does there throughout the year, and there will be field trips for Hamilton County art students to the studio," she says.
White said in a Huffington Post interview that he remembers the day he knew he would become an artist. It was at Hixson Elementary School.
"It's the day my first-grade teacher, Sandra Stoddard, stood me up in front of the class and told everybody I was going to be an artist one day," he said. "It's the first day of school, and she had just seen a drawing I had made of the cafeteria lunch.
"My parents had always called me an artist because I drew all the time, but having a teacher say something like that in front of a crowd of teachers really sealed the deal. I was convinced from that moment on that there was really nothing else for me. Plus, it was rare to find that kind of support in the little Southern town I grew up in. I was lucky that day."
In addition to the four sculptures, White is creating two 12- to 14-foot marionettes depicting Confederate Gen. Patrick Cleburne and Union Gen. Tecumseh Sherman that will be part of a parade during Glass Street Live. That event on Sept. 24 is the first big public Wayne-O-Rama event.
Glass Street Live is a community-wide block party hosted by neighborhood partner, Glass House Collective, in correlation with the National Park Centennial Celebration. The 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. festivities will include a street party, a giant puppet show and a parade led by musician Nick Lutsko from Glass Street to the newly reopened Sherman Reservation on Missionary Ridge. The quarter-mile parade will highlight new access points for a trail constructed to connect the Sherman Reservation to Glass Street.
"This is actually the third Glass Street Live event, and we're excited to be connected with Wayne-O-Rama," says Glass House Collective Director of Operations Zachary Atchley. "It's going to be amazing."
Also as part of Wayne-O-Rama, the Hunter Museum of American Art has an exhibit through October of some of White's works, including his "Word" paintings, wood and bronze sculptures, puppets and sketches.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.
4-Time Emmy Award Winning Artist And Shaking Ray Levi Society Announce Wayne-O-Rama Year-Long Interactive Art Installation
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - http://www.chattanoogan.com/2016/7/27/328786/4-Time-Emmy-Award-Winning-Artist-And.aspx
The Shaking Ray Levi Society, Emmy Award-winning artist Wayne White and hosts of community partners announced Wayne-O-Rama on Tuesday afternoon at the Chattanooga Public Library’s fourth floor.
Officials said the four-time Emmy award winning artist and Chattanooga native Wayne White "will astound and inspire with a unique indoor Southside installation, Wayne-O-Rama,which will playfully and vividly recreate scenes and pay tribute to notable figures from centuries of Chattanooga’s rich history with incredible interactive sculptures, giant puppets, large-scale dioramas, immersive sound design and much more."
Recipient of four Emmy Awards and Billboard and MTV Music Video awards, Wayne White was also the subject of an Independent Lens film, “Beauty Is Embarrassing,” shown on PBS stations around the country.
Officials said, "Imagine Pee-wee’s Playhouse crossed with the Smithsonian – that’s the vision for Wayne-O-Rama, which will serve as a hub of cultural activity for art, education, music and history with events, performances and educational and professional development opportunities."
Wayne White said, “This will be like a history of Chattanooga as seen through my eyes and my sensibility. I love history. I grew up with Chattanooga's history. I love the romance of it. I love the characters. Of course, this is also my bid to be a part of the great Chattanooga tourist-trap tradition."
The project and the working studio will be in the Southside at 1800 Rossville Ave. in a space formerly occupied by the Chattanooga Folk School and Ignis Glass. The project will host a wide variety of art, storytelling and animation workshops led by Wayne White, including collaborative community events like giant puppet parades, music and dance performances and art showcases. Throughout the project’s year and beyond, it will impact the community and reach diverse audiences, stimulating the imagination of all; young children and adults, all socio-economic groups in schools, universities and under-served communities throughout Chattanooga, it was stated.
Maquettes were revealed of installations that will be created during the year by Wayne White, his supporting artists and Chattanooga volunteers. These installations, some 20 feet tall, will remain in Chattanooga. They include Bessie Smith, Lookout Mountain, Chief Dragging Canoe and Bob Brandy. Installations will have interactive elements and some will be mobile, to be featured in parades and events throughout the city. Each model represents a part of Chattanooga’s history that Wayne White has carried with him throughout his celebrated career, officials said.
Corinne Hill from the Chattanooga Public Library welcomed a crowd of almost 100 with a projected live video stream showing Wayne White’s office and major awards in the background, kicking off an entertaining afternoon press conference. Johnny Smith, executive director of the McKenzie Foundation, spoke of the impact of the arts, the work of the Shaking Ray Levi Society and Wayne White. Bob Stagner, Shaking Ray Levi Society co-founder, led the guests in a parade of announcements with Wayne’s office and the occasional sound of a banjo in the background.
Teal Thibaud and Zachary Atchley from the Glass House Collective announced a community festival on Sept. 24 featuring two-story puppets of Civil War generals who charged the hill 100 years ago, created by Wayne White. "You can see Sherman Reservation from Glass Street, but few of our residents are aware that we have a National Park within walking distance to this community," said Teal Thibaud, executive director of the Glass House Collective. "We have an opportunity to connect our community with nature and history, increase physical activity, and make this neighborhood a more inviting place to live." The Glass House Collective invited the entire Chattanooga community to Glass Street LIVE, an all-day festival.
Shaun Townley, vice president of Content and Digital Strategy at WTCI, announced that Wayne White would be featured in November as a guest of the community PBS station’s long-running series, “The A List with Alison Lebovitz,” featured in an episode of the “Greater Chattanooga” series and that the station was fundraising to produce a documentary about Wayne-O-Rama and Chattanooga’s changing relationship to the arts.
Virginia Anne Sharber, said, “The Hunter Museum of American Art is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of Chattanooga native Wayne White, opening June 30, 2017. The exhibition, which will comprise nearly 5,000 square feet, will delve into White’s Word paintings, cardboard, wood and bronze sculptures, amazing puppets, and boundless sketches.”
Meredith Levine, head of Youth Services at the Chattanooga Public Library, said she is passionate about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) learning, engaging teens and Wayne White’s art. She said she grew up being influenced by his art and announced that the Chattanooga Public Library will be hosting a series of puppet workshops featuring his art, engaging children and adults from around the community in his art, the city’s history and their creative possibilities.
Greg Bagby, principal of Barger Elementary, said two of the Shaking Ray Levi Society’s founders went to that school. Michael Weger from Hixson Middle School noted that Wayne White had attended Hixson Elementary, Middle and High. These schools are education partners in the project.
Wayne White, in a Huffington Post article talked about the most defining moment in his life. It was at a Hamilton County School and it was with Chattanooga kids and a hard-working Hamilton County Department of Education teacher. He said, “it’s the day my first grade teacher, Sandra Stoddard, stood me up in front of the class and told everybody I was going to be an artist one day. It was on the first day of school and she had just seen a drawing I had made of the cafeteria lunch. My parents had always called me an artist because I drew all the time, but having a teacher say something like that in front of a crowd of teachers really sealed the deal. I was convinced from that moment on that there was really nothing else for me. Plus, it was rare to find that kind of support in the little Southern town I grew up in. I was lucky that day.”
Bob Stagner said Wayne White "still loves Hamilton County teachers and the community that has been so changed by the foundations and art and education organizations working in our city to foster a community where all students have the opportunity to follow that same creative dream without leaving their hometown."
Wayne-O-Rama will invite HCDE art teachers/educations to sign up for an Art Exploration field trip experience during six days of programming hosted at the working studio throughout the year. Field trips will include stations that tour the works in progress, engage in an art activity and be a part of a live Skype call with Wayne White. Today’s future-artists from all communities will have the opportunity to learn about him, engage in his art and explore their city’s history through his eyes.
Jason McKinney, deputy director of Education from the city of Chattanooga Department of Youth and Family Development, reinforced the city’s commitment to increasing art education for the city’s youth, accepting the project’s offer of Art Exploration experiences for children participating in Spring Break 2017 and Summer Break 2017 programs.
Wayne White, adorned with a coonskin hat, appeared on a large screen via Skype, mesmerizing the crowd with his spirit, love of art and dedication to his city, its history and its children. Wayne White, with special helpers, Hain Kim from Tiny Giant and Keeli Crewe from Area 61 (both Chattanooga businesses and special partners and sponsors), described each model, its connection to Chattanooga, Wayne’s history and our community’s future. Describing the event later, Wayne White said, “I was surprisingly moved at the press conference today. Beauty is embarrassing.
Additional partner organizations that were announced include Barking Legs Theater, Bessie Smith Cultural Center, Chattanooga Autism Center, Chattanooga State Community College’s Art Department, Creative Discovery Museum, Friends of the Festival, Gig City Productions, Howard School, Jazzanooga, Rock City Gardens, Signal Centers, UTC Art Department, Very Special Arts Tennessee, Winder Binder Gallery and Bookstore and MainX24.
Shaking Ray Levi Society co-founder Dennis Palmer, who passed away in 2013, was honored as a creator of the Wayne-O-Rama dream. Founded in 1986, the Shaking Ray Levi Society is a volunteer-run, non-profit arts education organization with an emphasis on increasing opportunities for art programming for students. Support for this year-long project has been generously provided by ArtsBuild, the Benwood Foundation, the Footprint Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation and the McKenzie Foundation. After the year-long installation, The Shaking Ray Levi Society will assure that the sculptures and artwork created for Wayne-O-Rama will remain visible to the public in various Chattanooga locations for many years to come, it was stated.
The Wayne White Emmies include three for Pee Wee's Playhouse and one for Disney animation.