Wednesday, May 10, 2006

tales of an ex-expat: rural alabama

Saturday, May 6

We arrrived in rural Alabama late in the evening to participated in an artist residency program at the Coleman Center for the Arts ( Here's the PR for our project:

Public Art Project Speaks of Hope

The Coleman Center is pleased to announce a new project of their Public Artworks Program by resident artists Owen Mundy and Joelle Dietrick. The project, titled The Darkest Hour is Just Before the Dawn, is named from a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and hopes to document the optimism of the region, both past and present, by collecting objects and stories from the residents of Sumter County.

The artists are asking community members to lend them a lamp from their home that will then be installed in a vacant retail space in York, Ala. This space, formerly the York Real Value grocery store, is being renovated this week by the artists with the help of community volunteers, city employees, and Coleman Center staff.

The lamps will be installed in the finished space and set to timers. Each day around dusk the lamps will begin to turn on one by one, representing the participants in the project, as well as the possibility that collective action can impact our communities in positive and lasting ways. Dietrick remarks that the metaphor the lamps create reminds her of candles at a Christmas Eve service and says, “the underlying focus is the room full of lamps—fading in and out, pulsing at their own pace, human in the imperfections and variety, and more powerful as a collection.”

All participants will receive a handmade lamp from the artists in return for the lamp they lend to the project. If you are interested in lending a lamp from your home please bring it to the old York Real Value grocery store across from the Piggly Wiggly in downtown York from May 11th through the 13th from 1-6PM. The artists will be accepting help cleaning up the building throughout the week and volunteers are encouraged to drop by from 1-6PM on May 11th and 12th.

For more information please call (205) 392-2005, or visit

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