Please sit on the art!

BY TAMIEKA BRISCOE, PHOTOS BY KERRI REDDING

Another year, another environmentally conscious art project draws Takoma Park businesses and artists into the spotlight.

“reCycle Please Sit on the Art” is a public art project sponsored by the Old Takoma Park Business Association. Beginning on 4th Street, Northwest and ending on Carroll Avenue at The Green Commuter, the 12-piece exhibit features chairs made of recycled and re-purposed materials. Viewers follow the exhibit through a self-guided walking tour with each site having a map posted that gives the location of the next piece.

The exhibit runs from June to October. The custom seats are strategically placed in front of and inside Takoma Park and Takoma DC businesses.

Drawing people in

This is the third year of the annual project. For the 2011 exhibit, artists created sculptures from bicycle parts and last year artists made trees out of recycled materials.

The Old Takoma Business Association does public art projects once a month with the purpose of attracting people to the neighborhood.

“The idea is to highlight independent businesses and make people want to come to Old Takoma,” said Laura Barclay, a representative of the Old Takoma Park Business Association. She said that while viewing the artwork, people are likely to shop and dine at the restaurants.

As in prior years, an auction will be held in October where all the art pieces will be auctioned off to the public. The proceeds will be used to pay the artists.

Match

Howard Connelly, a Silver Spring resident, has four projects in the exhibit and is participating for the third consecutive year. The program’s stipulation of using recycled parts is not a departure from his usual process.

“The philosophy of the program matches my routine experience, I am very resourceful, especially material wise, even in my high end commercial sculptures.” Connelly said.

Connelly, who calls himself a “Takoma Park-enthusiast,” due to his business and shopping relationship with the city, discovered his artistic talents in grade school. He found that this year’s theme had an “excellent banality of simplicity.”

He discussed the inspiration behind the installations made by him and his team for this year’s exhibit.

Just right

“Plumbers Butt” is no. 4 on the tour map. Connelly said that it is “a backyard sci-fi captain’s chair made using cleaned and lacquered valves/dials/pipe from a defunct dry cleaners.”

“The conceptual bench based on Robert Southey’s tale of 3 bears, came to mind when contemplating a chunk of granite before me.” Connelly said about constructing the piece “Goldilocks” which is no. 5 on the tour map.

Daddy Long Legs, no. 7 on the tour list was inspired by Connell’s study of Salvador Dali and Louise Bourgeois. “Originally it was designed to be standing 20+ feet in the air, but I allowed the practical advice of the projects coordinator Laura Barclay to win, and we have a grounded version.” He said.

“Full Upright, is what happens when you deconstruct a large piano, and reconfigure it to throne proportions. It is what was on hand.” Connelly said. This piece is no. 9 on the tour map.

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ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Kerri Redding is a native Washingtonian who is thrilled to be a volunteer photographer for the Takoma Park Voice. Kerri is the Artistic Director of Brown Girl Breathing Media (browngirlbreathingmedia.com) which is home to keredding photography (keredding.com). Kerri lives in the Takoma Park area with her partner, three cats and turtle.

About the Author

Tamieka Briscoe
Tamieka Briscoe, is a writer/journalist in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism from Bowie State University. She is a mother of two, and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Maryland.