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Creating Connections: Local Fabricator Hosts Workshop for Local Artists

November 12th, 2022. On a cold Saturday morning, six local artists gathered in the break room of JL Troupe Company, sipping hot coffee as they prepared to spend the day learning about industrial metal fabrication and how artists can create partnerships to enhance their art, especially in the public arena.

The artists (Andrew Luy, Emmie Mayne, Josh Phillips, Gwyer Sinclair, Craig Van Cleave/Hunter Vroonland, and Justin Ward) all applied to a Request for Qualifications to design artistic lighting to be suspended from the trees of Apollo Park adjacent the Orion Amphitheater. The six were selected as finalists to submit full proposals for the park’s installation.

Artists

The finalist artists pose at ‘Peekaboo’, the sculpture beneath the lighting installation area at Apollo Park, with tour guide and Business Partnerships Manager Victoria Jones, and James Figtree of JL Troupe Company.

The project is part of Huntsville’s Public Art Program, and is one of several public art programs in 2022 that have exclusively targeted local talent.  The Artistic Lighting Program (internally referred to by the program name ‘Skyline’) also served as an opportunity to provide professional development for local artists, one of the goals identified by Huntsville’s Public Art Master Plan.

This is not the first public art professional development workshop Arts Huntsville has conducted for local artists. A five-part workshop series was held in 2021 at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment. Over the course of the series, two participating artists were selected to fabricate and install a temporary sculpture. One of those artists, David Nuttall (Artimaps) had this work fabricated by JL Troupe; the fabricator’s first public art project. David, also in attendance on November 12,  shared his experience and process with the group.

David Nuttall (Artimaps) spoke to the group about his process of working with a fabrication partner.

Artists also received a tour of the installation site and Orion Amphitheater led by Victoria Jones, and learned about LED lighting design options from LED Orange and Notorious LED. The core of the workshop, however, focused on an introduction JL Troupe’s fabrication technology, including the opportunity to experiment with a small hands-on project to see the tech in action as it intersects with art.

Aluminum Butterfly

An aluminum butterfly designed on-site by participating artist Justin Ward as part of a hands-on exercise at the workshop.

Artists will work on their proposals over the next two months and present their ideas to a selection committee in January of 2023, after which one artist will be selected to receive a commission to bring their idea to life.

 

Local artists sought to design artistic lighting installation at Apollo Park

Arts Huntsville, in cooperation with The Orion Amphitheater and local fabricator JL Troupe Company, has released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for local artists to produce a design for an artistic lighting installation to be suspended from the trees in north Apollo Park outside The Orion Amphitheater. The lighting installation will become the latest piece of public art to be installed at the park, illuminating the trees above “Earth Bather” and “Peekaboo” which the Huntsville Venue Group donated to the City of Huntsville and installed at the site over the summer.

photo of giant young girl sculpture with her half buried face in the earth. Two giant hands grasp trees nearby.

Lighting installation will be suspended in the trees around currently installed art, including “Peekaboo” (above) – by artist and lead designer Heather BeGaetz with Alchemy Arts Collective. Photo by Josh Weichman; courtesy of the Orion Amphitheater.

The selection process will provide the opportunity for up to five semifinalists to participate in an artist development workshop in November with JL Troupe Company. The team at JL Troupe will work with artists to develop design proposals appropriate for production using their fabrication technologies such as a water jet, industrial laser cutter, welding, and a variety of finishing treatments.

The final selected artist will receive a $15,000 artist award to bring their design to life in partnership with JL Troupe Company. This project is funded through the Huntsville Public Art Program; Arts Huntsville serves as the public art agency for the City of Huntsville. The finished piece will be installed by the Huntsville Venue Group in spring of 2023 and will welcome park visitors and concertgoers alike with an illuminating experience.

“This program is an exciting first step in connecting our local artists with a local fabricator,” says Arts Huntsville Executive Director Allison Dillon-Jauken, “The development of such partnerships will prove to be essential to Huntsville’s artistic ecosystem as our city expands its Public Art Program.”

Applicants must be 18 years of age and reside within the Arts Huntsville Service Area. Interested local artists and designers can read the full RFQ and begin the application process at artshuntsville.slideroom.com. The deadline for submissions is October 30, 2022.

A video orientation for interested artists will be released in early October on the Arts Huntsville YouTube Channel. Questions can be directed to Arts Huntsville Public Art Program Manager Jennifer Johnson at publicart@artshuntsville.org.