FlyOver: April 2008 Archives

It's a heartfelt event for me when kids are allowed to truly interact with art and this is just what happens at the annual Clydefest celebration each April in Chatham County, N.C.  It's a grassroots event in the tiny community of Bynum and the feeling is more of village festival which it in fact is, although it is organized with the intention of also honoring a specific individual: local outsider artist Clyde Jones.  The festival is at the Bynum ballpark with all sorts of tents and activities set up across the outfield grass. Clyde himself takes up residence in a folding chair under a tent canopy set up right in the middle of all the action and it's great fun to be able to walk right up and talk with him and check out a rough work-to-be by his side in the tent. A highlight of the day is when Clyde does a demonstration and carves a work right on the spot for a charity auction.  Clyde's trademark artworks are his 'critters' which are extremely rough-hewn, large wooden animals, usually brightly painted and festooned with glitter, metal scraps, and all other sorts of found objects. (A giraffe on display this year had its markings demarcated by old tuna cans for instance and many smaller pig critters have attached objects like softballs for eyes.) They are often decked out in these tremendous pastel colors like mint green or lavender.  I think whatever old house paint color palette Clyde has going at the time. The festival this past weekend had my personal favorite, a Harley Davidson-size glittery silver critter - decked out with a saddle even- and of course all are invited to climb aboard for a photo op or just a momentary ride down the highway of one's imagination.  Kids of course love all this, mine are certainly no exception, and Clyde has also sawn and carved several other attractions at the festival for them: a hoop toss onto a few medium size spiky critters, a ball toss into a slanted piece of brightly painted plywood, a few fish critters that kids can fish for in a small wading pool, an open painting area with pre cut animal shapes and plenty of open paint cans in a wide variety of colors and a whole bunch of glitter where you can make your own take-home critter.  I think you get the idea. It is crowd participation par excellence. The fact that kids can so directly interact with the artwork I think is the best part. Rather than be all touchy and particular about the sculptures, Clyde in fact encourages this interaction and the fact that kids can be so hands-on I think is a tremendous benefit for them. Kids have that natural inclination to learn by touching and the Bynum ballpark on this day is a great learning field.   The fact that Clydefest's main attraction and namesake (not to mention all the volunteer help) puts in this amount of work and personal energy to give everything such a personal touch and also takes the time to make it so fun for all the attendees and especially for all the kids makes this a new favorite day out adventure for me.  Now if I can just wrangle up one of those critters to keep at home...


April 27, 2008 6:40 PM |
I was able to get out over this past weekend to enjoy a beauti-mous day out at the outdoor sculpture area and path around the NC Museum of Art's campus known as the Museum Park or artwalk. You can check it out here.

'Tis a good thing the art walk is in such good shape (although it's still awaiting some real construction action on the yet to be constructed pavilion designed to be a model in environmental stormwater management with high art mojo to boot)  as the rest of the museum's grounds are a bit of a wreck at the moment. A highly anticipated museum addition is in the early to mid-construction phase and there's basically a whole bunch of exposed red clay dirt punctured by a little raw steel framing on that side of the site.

There is however some definite progress on the Thomas Pfifer-designed addition which promises to provide much improved galleries more in line with contemporary standards of gallery design.  Let's face it, the museum's Edward Durell Stone bunker building from 1983 (which in truth feels much older - surely I'm not alone in feeling this?) is a little lacking compared to the spaces being churned out now by the big starchitects who have been benefiting from the big museum building boom of recent years.  Nowadays the light filled soaring spaces that seasoned museum goers can experience from MoMA to the Tate to the Nelson-Atkins are not only getting them accustomed to some serious spatial extravagance, but now they are indeed expecting this every time out I think.  While the Phifer addition still has a long ways to go until completion, it will be a very interesting project to see as it moves toward completion.  One of NCMA's biggest problems is their hodgepodge of a campus which besides the Durell Stone building and Museum Park also includes a Smith-Miller Hawkinson designed amphitheater and concert pavilion as well as Barbara Kruger piece designed to be seen in aerial view.  There is a lot to see out there and it all sprawls around the grounds so the question of how the Phifer piece fits into this menagerie will be a very interesting one to watch...

April 2, 2008 10:37 PM |

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This page is a archive of recent entries written by FlyOver in April 2008.

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