This past weekend, Josephine Sculpture Park (JSP) celebrated its 5th birthday during its 2014 Fall Arts Festival. They couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was hot but breezy, and the goldenrod was at peak bloom. The atmosphere was just like a 5-year-old’s birthday party with bubbles, balloons, face painting and edible delights. Guests were also treated to hands-on art experiences, including metal relief sculpture, glass blowing, tie dye, pot throwing, paint rockets and other fiery, messy fun.
I took my 3-year-old son, a friend and her baby to experience the momentary enjoyment, but also to take part in something lasting. We went to see and participate in Magellan, a collaboration among JSP, Governor’s Arts Award recipient Latitude Artist Community, the Expressive and Wellness Program at Employment Solutions and StudioWorks at Zoom Group.
On JSP’s eastern ridge, Latitude artists handed each new voyager a bottle and asked them to put something in it that was meaningful to them and decorate the interior. When the bottles were complete, they were capped and displayed together.
What happens later is the transcendent part. The bottles will be placed into tubes and sealed with Plexiglas. The tubes will then be placed in a boat-shaped hole dug into the ground, which will be filled with concrete. Once the cured concrete boat is pulled out of the ground, it will remain on display at the park with the bottles visable in the tubes. According to Latitude, “The focus of this project is on relaying what is the core of our essence, what are the most profound aspects of ourselves that we would like to share with the Planet.” In essence, we are all human-shaped vessels, carrying around our own message, and we are all afloat in a greater vessel together.
When we left, the eastern ridge was lined with bottles full of things — things with personal meaning. All held messages sent to no one in particular — just anyone who will find them, see them or hear them. Not every message in a bottle begs for rescue. Most are just something that needs to be said to someone, and that “someone” can be anyone willing to look in the bottle and listen.
Sarah Schmitt, arts access director