Northampton-based artist Samuel Rowlett and a dynamic crew of 15 local high school students collaborated on The Known Universe at ‚ÄúTEENSPACE‚ÄĚ a project of Kidspace at MASS MoCA¬† in downtown North Adams as part of the annual DownStreet Art festival. Visit the space at 26 Holden Street to see the results.
Samuel Rowlet has written a guest blog for MASS MoCA, check out what he has been working on:
With sketchbooks filled after a month of meeting twice a week on the 3rd floor of MASS MoCA as part of my residency with the Teenspace crew, we finally saw the space for our installation this summer.¬† The site of the old Artery Lounge at 26 Holden Street was perfect!¬†¬† With a patina of character and quirky architectural palimpsests it was just the raw space we needed to take the ethos of the sketchbook (the artist‚Äôs equivalent of a diary), blow it up large scale and make it environmental.¬† The process, based on my own studio practice of turning the unpolished immediacy of sketchbook drawings into wall drawings, certainly gave the project an uncertain future.¬† Especially having 16 sketchbooks to source from!¬† However, after seeing the sketches the Crew had made, I knew we had the makings of something great.
Perhaps the most pleasing part of the project (in addition to the rocking installation: a mash-up of social commentary, angst, honesty and satire, that somehow reminds me of a Nirvana music video) has been the camaraderie and sense of collaboration that has developed within the group throughout the installation process.¬† As we helped draw each other‚Äôs drawings, we got to know one another, to rely on one another, riffing off each other‚Äôs ideas, and (quite literally) drawing connections between our sketchbook worlds.¬† I had charged them with the task of mapping their own universes, however it has become less about individual paradigms and more about stewardship of the work as a whole and the conversation they have put into motion through the process of working together.¬† Which, primarily, is what I hope for them will be the real take-away from this experience.¬† One that they can repeat in the future in whatever their chosen field may be:¬† a sense of creative collaboration.¬† ‚ÄúThe Known Universe‚ÄĚ expands‚Ä¶