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Sara Brooks
Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts

Kristin Carlson
Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts

Jennifer Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, August 11, 2009

IU, community artists collaborate to present 'Interpreting the Square'

Aug. 11, 2009

WHAT: Interpreting the Square: Thirty Artists Explore Downtown Bloomington
WHEN: Sep. 4 through Sept. 30; opening reception is Friday, Sept. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m.
WHERE: Bloomington City Hall Atrium, 401 N. Morton St.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Throughout the month of September, the work of 30 artists and creative writers from Indiana University Bloomington and the surrounding community will be on display throughout downtown Bloomington.

The collaborative art installation, titled "Interpreting the Square: Thirty Artists Explore Downtown Bloomington," will explore the cultural, social and economic complexity of Bloomington's thriving business district, said Kristin Carlson, a graduate student at IU Bloomington's Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts who is co-administrator of the project with SoFA grad student Sara Brooks (their faculty advisor is Laurel Cornell, an IU professor of sociology).

Interpreting the Square

This piece-in-progress (it is meant to be viewed vertically) by Kristin Carlson combines digital and silkscreen print and will be 55-inches tall by 21.5-inches wide. Carlson designed the piece for the space at 124-134 N. Walnut (the building that houses Roots Restaurant and the Walnut Street Inn) as part of "Interpreting the Square," a collaborative project that matches area artists with downtown buildings.

Print-Quality Photo

Each artist has been paired with one of the 30 buildings facing the Courthouse Square, and each will create a distinctive artwork based upon personal interests and medium. The layout of the artwork in the final exhibition, which is scheduled to open Sept. 4, will be a multimedia installation that portrays the complexity of the Bloomington Square by combining 30 points of view into one work of art, said Carlson.

"We created 'Interpreting the Square' to discover how the collaboration of a group of people on an art installation can emulate -- and therefore teach viewers about -- the complexity of a real-life environment," said Carlson, who is working on her master's degree in printmaking. "Sara and I were inspired to organize the project because we are both interested in small, independent businesses, public space and the vitality of downtown communities. Since we knew that a healthy business district depends on diversity of use and function, we thought a good way to explore the downtown square would be to invite many different artists to contribute points of view."

Participating artists include IU graduate and undergraduate students, members of IU faculty and staff and local Bloomington artists representing areas of expertise that include painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, book arts, digital art, sound design, landscape architecture and creative writing.

The project was awarded the Fran Snygg Grant for Artistic Collaboration from the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties in January.

"Interpreting the Square" will be on display throughout the month of September in the atrium of City Hall (in the main entrance of the Showers Building, 401 N. Morton St.). The exhibition will be open for viewing from Sept. 4 through Sept. 30, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information about IU's Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts, see