Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Mar 02nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Inside Out and Larger Than Life

ae4-1HugoConejoSanta Cruz Public Libraries joins global art project

The libraries' most powerful asset is the conversation they provide – between books and readers, between children and parents, between individuals and the collective world. Take them away and those voices turn inward or vanish. Turns out that libraries have nothing at all to do with silence."

Bella Bathurst ended her 2011 essay, “The Secret Life of Libraries” with this insight. The conversation she started in the Manchester Guardian has jumped the pond and landed squarely in Downtown Santa Cruz, and it sounds a lot like the shutter of a camera. (Remember those?)

“The Santa Cruz Public Libraries has been doing a lot of thinking about its role in the community,” says Janis O’Driscoll, a division manager for the SCPL, “and we knew this was what public libraries are all about.” Their way of chiming in will be 60 portraits of library patrons, larger than life, exhibited on their outdoor walls.

ae4-2ChelseaMcKeownChelsea McKeown (above) and Hugo Conejo (left) take part in the Inside Out project. (Photos by Joop Rubens; collage on opposite page by Joop Rubens, Hannah Nicholson, Monique Islam and Mariah Roberts.)The path from print (word) to print (photo) involved a wide variety of voices—from a world-renowned artist to Santa Cruz middle school students.

The conversation was first started by French artist JR, and his 2011 TEDprize talk, an inspirational 24-minute video viewed by O’Driscoll and almost one million other people. JR’s quietly activist, boldly community-oriented and undeniably iconic portraits are installed via paper and paste on the outside public spaces. He invited the world to participate in his Inside Out project. Santa Cruz accepted.

Lending a passionate voice to the dialogue is local teacher and mother Mariah Roberts, who worked with students on similarly themed images gracing the facade of the Live Oak Market at Capitola Road and 17th Avenue.  The prints give drivers a reason to look forward to red lights (and traffic). She is now the project manager for the large-scale libraries ae4posterproject. Roberts is thrilled to be part of this. “The library believes that conversation between voices is the essential building block of who they are,” says Roberts, who supports furthering the conversation through the celebration of community and diversity.   

Almost 100 photos were snapped the last few months—of patrons, staff and supporters. The photography teams included local treasure Joop Rubens and two graduates of the UC Santa Cruz photography program, Monique Islam and Hannah Nicholson. UC Santa Cruz videographer Nick Paris captured the process for posterity (and, we suspect, YouTube).

The results will be eye-catching and unavoidable: ten-foot tall portraits affixed to the outside of the downtown branch of the library, at Church and Center streets. Smaller three-foot images will be exhibited inside the building, and will become part of a permanent movable collection.

For Roberts, the process was the most moving part of the project. Six middle school students, subjects of the Live Oak photos, became Subject Matter Experts for this new undertaking. Saray, Itzel, Rene, Dyana, Casey, Joel and Sid joined photographers at the library and recruited, informed and invited a cross section of patrons to be photographed, a process that quite literally extended this conversation beyond age, race, culture and lifestyle.

All work on this huge mission has been volunteered, from photography and design to organizing and promoting. However, the oversized printing of images is costly. A Kickstarter campaign is underway to fund this project through donations from the local community and beyond. The modest $5,000 budget is close to being met at this writing, but needs more pledges for completion.

The end result will be part of a global Inside Out project viewable on the web, with other worldwide participants. In true Santa Cruz form, Roberts and her crew are inviting the community to think globally and smile locally. “This project is at once extremely high tech in its process and absolutely basic in its humanizing results. What could be more Santa Cruz?”

Another element of the ongoing exhibit will appeal to our local democratic bent. The project crew will install voting booths at library branches and at the Museum of Art & History, in time to coincide with our nation’s quadrennial election season. We, the general public, will vote on which large-scale photographs will be displayed downtown for the following month. And the conversation continues. 

Santa Cruz Libraries Inside Out celebrates its opening on Aug. 3 as part of the monthly First Friday Art Walk, and will continue through Dec. 3. Learn more at kickstarter.com; search for Santa Cruz Public Library Inside Out.

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Chelsea McKeown, July 09, 2012
THIS IS AMAZING! Glad I could participate!
What company was printing these photos?
How large are these over sized images?

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Green Swell

Local surfboard company greens up the industry with an eco-conscious business model

 

Two Fish Bound by a Golden Cord

Until March 20, (Spring Equinox), Earth and her kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human) experience the influence of Pisces, sign of the World Savior. Whereas the task of Aquarius is as world server, the Pisces task is saving the world—tasks given to the two fishes. Pisces never really enters matter, and as the last sign of the zodiac includes all the signs. During Pisces, having gathered all the gifts of the previous 11 signs, it is a good time to prepare for new initiating plans when Aries (sign of beginnings) begins. No wonder Pisces, like Scorpio, is so difficult (both are ruled by Pluto, planet of death, new life, regeneration, transformations). Both signs (with Scorpio drowning in dark and deep waters) find life on Earth a hardship, disorienting (from the spiritual perspective), at times feeling betrayed. Life is a paradox, especially for Pisces. Each zodiacal sign represents and distributes a different phase and facet (12) of the Soul’s diamond light, Pisces is the “Light of Life itself, ending forever the darkness of matter.” It takes two fish to complete this work (creating eventually an extraordinary human being). One fish turned toward the material world (in order to understand matter), the other fish toward the heavenly world. Around the two fish is a silvery cord binding them together. The two fish are forever bound until all of humanity is redeemed (lifted up into the Light). This is the dedication of all world saviors (Buddha, Christ, the NGWS). Thus the sacrifice and suffering experienced by Pisces. Knowing these things about Pisces, let us help them all we can. Sometimes all of humanity is Pisces.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Seal Change

Celtic selkie lore comes alive in dazzling ‘Song of the Sea’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Teresa’s Gourmet Foods

New owners for Santa Cruz’s leading local salsa company

 

What defines a good dive bar?

It’s slightly dirty, and they serve cheap drinks. Stella Celeste, Santa Cruz, Barrista

 

Picchetti Winery

After enjoying its contents, I couldn’t throw away the empty bottle of Picchetti Winery’s Red Table Wine.

 

Happy Birthday, Manny

Manuel’s turns 50, farmers market steel head pairs with Pinot, and a Birichino Malvasia