Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Mar 28th
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

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015

In 40 years of publishing, Good Times has seen a lot of “bests.”

 

Spring Triangle: Three Spring Festivals—Aries, Taurus, Gemini

The Spring signs Aries, Taurus and Gemini constitute a triangle of force that sets the template for the nine signs that follow and the template for the entire year (Spring 2015 - Spring 2016) ahead. Aries initiates new ideas, Taurus stabilizes the new thinking of Aries and Gemini takes the initiating stabilized ideas of Aries/Taurus and disperses them to all of humanity. It is in this way that humanity learns new things, with the help of Mercury, the messenger. As Spring unfolds, three elements emerge: the Fire of Aries (initiating new ideas), the Earth of Taurus (anchoring the ideas of God through Mercury) and the Air of communicating Gemini. These three signs/elements are the Three Spring Festivals. They are the “triangle of force” forming the template (patterns) of energy for the upcoming new year. After these three we then have the soothing, calming, warming, nurturing and tending waters of the mother (Cancer). Cancer initiates our next season under the hot suns of summer. Planets, stars and signs create the Temple of Light directing humanity towards all things new. March 29 is Palm Sunday, when the Christ, World Teacher, was led into Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (humility). Palms waving above His head, signified recognition of the Christ’s divinity. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before the Easter (Resurrection Festival). Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the week of capture, imprisonment, passion, sacrifice, crucifixion, death and resurrection of the christ. All events in the Christ’s life represent events (initiations) that humanity experiences through many lifetimes. We turn our attention to these holy events this week. Their concepts portray and reveal to us greater spiritual understanding. Then, Aries, the “light of life itself” shines through us.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015 Editor's Picks

BEST NIGHT CAP WARSAW MULE AT SHADOWBROOK
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Spring Spirits

Sean Venus’ gin straight up, remembering Rosa’s and a tasting of Hungarian wines

 

What’s your favorite most recent outdoor discovery in Santa Cruz?

A hike that’s across from Waddell Beach. I didn’t realize you could go across the highway and do a super simple loop, and it’s beautiful. You can see the coastline. Liz Porter, Santa Cruz, Community Outreach

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Muscat 2012

 

Front Street Kitchen

Pop-up spot attracts paleo crowd with locally sourced low-carb meals