May Meeting Recap | ARTS in the Park

May 27, 2015 | Branden Schwab

This past Thursday’s monthly meeting at Springfield’s south-side creative oasis, Farmers Park, featured presentations by defacto director of arts, Jeff Broekhoven, and a trio of resident artists – Kenneth Moore, Ankica Mitrovska, and Matthew Mazzotta. Before recapping their presentations, lets knock out the general SC news and updates…

Membership: We have more than 20 new members and are swiftly approaching 200 total members! Joining us this month are:

Smokie Lee
Nathan Remington
Rowena Raborar
Elise Haverstick
Erick Rodriguez
Elizabeth Salley
Nathan Fisher
Danielle Begnaud
Chris Langson
Amanda Gallamore
Josh Warren
Rachael Snow
Jesse Nivens
Robert Muench
Jordan Corbett
Drew Gann
John Pennekamp
Gwynne Mccauley
Sean Jones
Lindsay Todd
Christie Snelson

Community Outreach: The Bird House Auction benefiting Habitat for Humanity at Obelisk Home will continue through the month of May. Stop by to view and bid on the crafty work of SC’s own Joel Loera, Liz Alberson and Marcy Chandler (and others) to help support this deserving cause.

Special Events: Last week’s happy hour at Scotch & Soda led by Special Events coordinator Josh Sullivan brought in +/-15 members, many of which reported having a “jolly good time”. If you didn’t make it out for this one, don’t worry, more are on the way! Sullivan also announced an upcoming Summer Party, stay tuned for more details to be announced at the June meeting.

Website: Charlie Rosenbury continues to refine and perfect our website with an unmatched tenacity. To help keep the site running smoothly, remember to update your profile and contact information AND take advantage of member perks by displaying your digital membership card (when logged-in on your smartphone or tablet) for Free Fridays at the Creative Foundry, discounted tickets at the Moxie Theater, and lots more!

Advocacy: If you have not already, please fill out the quick, 30-second advocacy survey provided by Jim Michels and located here. More specific surveys are coming soon to help us determine how best we can use our collective voice to bring about positive change in our community.

If you want to get more involved by joining a committee, contact one of the Committee Chairs or President Charlie Rosenbury. Special thanks to Dominique Barnes, Liz Alberson, Jessica Kennon Spencer, Chad Spencer and others that helped with setting up, taking down, and making this event possible… now, to the ARTS!

Jeff Broekhoven cracked open his talk with a quick history lesson about Farmers Park and the Outpost Artist Residency project. The twice-weekly gathering of local farmers, artisans, craftspeople, dreamers and hard workers known as the Farmers Market of the Ozarks™ has become a burgeoning hub of good attitudes and fresh ideas that serves the Ozarks while encouraging individuals and families to embrace healthy, happy lifestyles and support local farmers and businesses. In partnership with the Springfield Regional Arts Council, Farmers Park is furthering its commitment to the community by hosting resident artists tasked with creating public art for the Park.

3 artists_large

Missouri-native Kenneth Moore presented a slideshow of a series of works examining what he described as the four aspects of our experience of daily life: Time/Nature, the Political aspect, the Societal, and the Individual. Completed over a period of 7 months, the 130(+) sanded acrylic paintings share similarities in their color and content, yet no two are the same. Using repetition, routine, and pre-established rules, Kenneth’s work is rigorous and determined, using monotony as a tool for deciphering a language of small changes over time. Moore’s second project, the Drawing Box, was inspired by fellow resident artist Ankica Mitrovska’s encounter with a piece of public art in Yokohama, Japan. First featured at the 2015 Beaux Arts Ball and constructed of reclaimed materials, the Drawing Box veils artists within a small space (similar to a voting booth) where they create high energy drawings at a fast pace, relying on expressive mark-making to quickly communicate an idea, concept or sentiment. The booth temporarily isolates the artist, allowing them to take in the sounds, smells, and feel of the space while visually obscuring both audience and artist from each other. The Drawing Box serves as both a public art spectacle and an art-producing mechanism, churning out drawings that are unique to the specific shared moments during which they are created.

Originally from Macedonia, Ankica Mitrovska has made the most of her residency (and the opportunity to distance her self from everyday problems and concerns) by focusing more exclusively on her creative work. Mitrovska’s charcoal drawings of androgynous, humanoid, monstrous figures communicate through a series of visual metaphors to illustrate themes of social inequality. Many of her characters lack specific limbs, appendages and facial features, further conveying their roles as victims or oppressors and emphasizing the accompanying power relationships that exist between the characters. In her Lynchburg, Virginia exhibition, Ankica took on a curatorial role by organizing her work in a gallery to create a story within a story, revealing a layered narrative by encouraging a procession through the work. Her characters have gone on to become 2”x5” stickers that she placed throughout New York City, then carefully composed in photographs to create a humorous and sometimes sardonic narrative about social inequality. Showing us her range, Ankica revealed another project, cleverly hidden in plain sight. The dozens of unassuming yet colorful bean-bags (actually filled with Missouri corn kernels) that had been littered about the table and room were part of a playful, immersive, and interactive piece that would be displayed on the following Saturday on the outdoor steps of the public plaza (login to Facebook and see the Farmers Park album from Saturday’s events here.)

Rounding out the trio, Farmers Park Art Project Open Call finalist Matthew Mazzotta, presented a series of distinct public works for various sites, all of which encourage their participants to assume new perspectives and engage in an on-going, meaningful social discourse by creating an unexpected sense of place. Whether harnessing the energy of methane from dog waste in Cambridge (“Park Spark”) or cow manure in the Netherlands (“Steeped in Exploration”), reexamining the potential of public transportation to connect members of a community and offset the cycle of top-down environmental racism in American cities (“Buscycle”), or transforming a blighted property into a neighborhood amenity in York, Alabama (“Open House”), Matthew’s work forces us to challenge our notions of where we get our energy, how we relate to one another, and how we spend our time and resources in our communities. Over the course of his career, his approach to promoting social change has varied from confrontational (the protests of his youth) to emblematic (“Insertion Module”, “Looking for a Landscape”), but his core message has remained the same. We look forward to learning how Matthew plans to trigger transformation at Farmers Park with his thoughtful, unconventional and ultimately optimistic stance on the role of public art in shaping communities and places.

Following the presentations, the energized group of artists and SC members along with Farmers Park owner/developer Matt O’Reilly engaged in spirited conversations about what lies ahead for Farmers Park and Springfield’s Creative Community. Thank you again to everyone that made this night possible!


CAST Co-working Space @ Farmer’s Park
B201, 2144 E Republic Rd
Springfield, MO 65804
Phone:(417) 823-4567


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