Tunnel Vision: Bringing Art Closer to Life
Grand Opening July 8
When the City of Lebanon NH put out a Call for Artists to create art installations for the tunnel construction project that connects the Northern Rail Trail to the Mascoma River Greenway, 33 artists responded. The numbers have been winnowing ever since, as potential candidates toured the space and, in some cases, aligned with others to form group projects. The final stages of the selection process will soon be in play.
According to Recreation Director Paul Coates, the Grand Opening on July 8 (4:30 to 6:30 p.m.) of the new tunnel will be more than just fun and games—though there will be plenty of those—with an inaugural dog walk and a bicycle rodeo. It will also be the first and likely only opportunity for the public to view and comment on the participating artists’ proposed works. Following public input, a jury will make the final decision.
Why art at all? Public art is its own specialty, installed in public spaces and usually after some sort of public process (which leaves out spontaneous graffiti, though some beg to differ.) Often it is site-specific with a great deal of consideration given to how the art fits into the landscape. In its Call for Artists for the tunnel project, the City of Lebanon encouraged participating artists “to select themes related to Lebanon’s history, geography, natural environment, and recreational activities. (Artists also may, but are not required to, use railroad spikes left over from the development of the Mascoma Greenway.)”
Most of all, public art is accessible to everyone. It’s there. No gallery hours to look up, no social distancing or timed tickets in museums. Viewers can take a quick glance at it while careening through an errand-filled day or pause to take a good long look. According to the curator and art/architecture historian, Mary Jane Jacob, “public art brings art closer to life.”
For more information and a schedule of events for the Grand Opening on July 8, click here.
(Architects’ renderings courtesy of City of Lebanon)
Welcome! You’re reading Artful, a blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley, and I hope you’ll subscribe and then share this with your friends and on your social media.
And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.