Giant Letter 2017

  • Austin, Tx
    Austin, Tx
  • Austin, Tx
    Austin, Tx
  • Austin, Tx
    Austin, Tx
  • Austin, Tx
    Austin, Tx
  • Chicago, Il
    Chicago, Il
  • Austin, Tx
    Austin, Tx

Read all Giant Letters HERE.
Since the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012, Giant letters on lined paper between Santa and a fictional boy named Bobby have been appearing in Chicago. The project, which is created annually by Caro d’Offay, Laura Gilmore and Marj Wormald, aims to foster compassion and awe between strangers as a way of exploring difficult topics in a creative and open way. The artists hope to engage and unite observers of all backgrounds through empathy as we learn about a boy’s struggles to understand himself in a world that can be violent and confusing. The letters, often accompanied by items such as an 9-foot pencil, cookies, a glass of milk, and even smaller letters included within the giant letters, slowly build the backstory of a giant boy who has a special ability to transform destructive emotions into emotions that can alter his reality in positive and productive ways.

The letters can currently be found in Chicago, Illinois and Austin, Texas until mid January. The Chicago Letter is located at approximately
1300 West/6000 North (Norwood) and in Austin at approximately
1300 East/5500 North (Broadmoor).

PRESS 2016:
KXAN News Austin
DNAinfo–Linze Rice, Chicago

  • Giant Letter 2015
    Giant Letter 2015
  • Giant Letter 2015
    Giant Letter 2015
  • Giant Letter 2014
    Giant Letter 2014
  • Giant Letter 2014
    Giant Letter 2014
  • Giant Letter 2013
    Giant Letter 2013
  • Giant Letter 2012
    Giant Letter 2012
  • Giant Letter 2012
    Giant Letter 2012
  • Giant Letter 2012
    Giant Letter 2012

Letter 2015, expressed the pain of emotional loss and discussed the ways we can move past it by transforming ourselves through it. This letter garnered local, national and international press.

Letter 2014, the 3rd letter, brought to light the dangers of self-hate and apathy and the power of self love to transform anger into acceptance and compassion.

Letter 2013 was written by Santa to Bobby, which touched upon the indifference and blame a culture can place on the less fortunate members of society.

Letter 2012, the first letter, was a fictional boy responding to the Sandy Hook tragedy and the bullying trend that so often leads up to violence among youth.

Read letters in order HERE

PRESS:
DNAinfo by Linze Rice 2016
DNAinfo
 by Linze Rice 2015
WGN TV Chicago Gaynor Hall
CBS Local Chicago Brad Edwards
Fox 32 Bettina Chang of DNAinfo
ABC7 Chicago
WGN Radio

 

Current/Upcoming

Giant Letter design and construction: Currently underway in Austin Texas for Sept/Oct and in Chicago for December, 2016.

Karen McCoy (June)

KAREN MCCOY

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“…If we can only take time to see the beauty in our world, perhaps we will be less disposed to destroy it…” Rachel Carson

Alternative Spacetime welcomes Karen McCoy June 17-21, 2015. On the 21st, the summer solstice and Father’s Day, Karen will undertake a solo walk, Dawn to Dusk, to mark the longest day of the year. During that long walk you are invited to join her for a special portion called the Sound and Sight Walk. To listen to our city in a more focused way, participants will use hand held listening trumpets carved from burls of Box Elder, Elm, Maple and Oak trees (image above). A burl is a tree growth in which the wood grain has grown in an abnormal manner due to an injury, either physical or microscopic. The event is free but participants must RSVP to reserve a place. Those who RSVP will meet Karen at a time and place to be determined (to begin approximately between 2p and 3p, at Kathy Osterman/Hollywood Beach) and walk for approximately two hours, returning to a picnic of sandwiches and drinks (provided by Alternative Spacetime). To see a list of other artists involved see below:

Events during Karen McCoy’s residency:

  • SCHEDULE OF EVENTS  JUNE 17th-21st
    (Numbers reflect RSVPs available. Space is limited.)
  • Wednesday 17th, Listening to “6018 North” with Karen McCoy
  • Friday 19, 3-3:45pm Yoga with Gina Fitzpatrick at AS1300 (6/10)
  • Friday 19, 7pm Live, Music by Angela James (10/10)
  • Saturday 20, 11a Reiki Guided Meditation with Laura Gilmore (5/10)
  • Sun. 21, 2-4p Sound & Sight Walk/Karen McCoy, Hollywood Beach  Due to a concert at Montrose beach, Karen will be moving her walk to Rogers Park. (0/10)
    Sandwiches and drinks provided to participants after the walk.
  • Sun. 21st, 4p Yoga Mala with Lauren Roads, Foster Beach  Due to a concert near Foster beach, Lauren will be moving her event  just north of the tennis courts at Farwell and Lake in Rogers Park. There is a small, yellow pole in the ground at the location. 4pm!(10/20)

More on Karen McCoy:

“I never would have imagined hearing spring through snow, but there it was, thanks to your ear trumpets. It gave me a feeling of hope and wonder.” (Lydia)

“I felt like a walking tree. The burl not so much amplifying sound as enhancing the quality of our presence in the landscape. Richness through timbre. Each wood, each instrument’s shape, a tesseract opening.” (Maureen)

“…like putting on a pair of glasses.”(Dillon)

“In a conversation with Karen, she described a stream, frozen over and silent to the unaided ear, the sound of water gurgling under the ice coming into focus only through an ear trumpet. Karen explained to me that if you hold a trumpet up to falling water, you can actually “hear individual strands of water rather than the general sound of the water falling into itself”.  (Caro–director at Alternative Spacetime 1300).

This June residency with Karen McCoy at Alternative Spacetime 1300 will also provide free group-meditation and yoga workshops, to help bring our minds into the present moment.  Our busy lives sometimes cause us to overlook the beauty of the world, Yoga and meditation help us more easily access these details.

More on Karen McCoy:

“My work has to do with making in relation to seeing and conversing with the world; with issues of perception, how and what we see as we seek to understand the workings of the world. I explore how we experience place and person by amplifying and intensifying ordinary phenomena, things there for everyone to see, but so woven into the fabric of the everyday that they are not usually noticed. I create places and situations for contemplation, for humans to gather, listen and observe. They invite us to slow down and allow us to increase our sensory perception. My work seeks to encourage an aware state of being. I think of Rachel Carson and her great influence on our thinking about the ways we understand the substances we use in our relation to the environment we inhabit. I paraphrase her words here — If we can only take time to see the beauty in our world, perhaps we will be less disposed to destroy it. To this end I seek a cultivation of the gentle and the simple— walking, digging, seeing, hearing, feeling, and putting parts together. My work supports the effort of understanding how things interconnect to make the world work by slowing pace enough to make sense of complexity. I want to transform simple natural occurrences into things mysteriously intriguing enough to inspire others to find their own sense of wonder all around themselves and at any time.” (Karen McCoy)

“The Sound and Sight Walk is based on contemplation of place, with emphasis on its sound as the focusing element. It will provide a variety of soundscapes from hardscape and traffic to birdsong and lapping waters. We will focus on discrete sounds by using hand-carved wooden listening trumpets (look up Beethoven’s ear trumpets). These are carved from burls of trees common on the east coast, Maple, Oak, Box Elder and Elm. A burl is a tree growth in which the wood grain has grown in an abnormal manner due to an injury, either physical or microscopic. The trumpets allow us to hear in subtly different ways. By placing an ear to the small end of the trumpet you may hear amplified sounds from insects, water flowing, and birdsong as intermixed, or separated from, the human-made sounds. The sights and sounds we are interested in are often so woven into the fabric of the everyday as to be scarcely noticed. Of central concern in this work is recognition of the importance of perceptual possibilities, of simple awareness. A cultivation of these facilities allows frequent conscious retreats from the usual patterns of our fast-paced lives, and nurture the human need to break from the often mechanical rhythm of contemporary life. The sight and sound trumpets provide a way of cupping our ears and eyes to the earth.”

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Karen McCoy is an artist and professor of Sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri. She is a member of the Walking Artists Network and teaches a class entitled Artists in Conversation with the World which is featured on the Smithsonian Institutes Conservation Education website. More of her work may be seen at karen-mccoy.com

KStraightenedCrp©Tania Kimche
Credit: ©Tania Kimche

RSVP HERE

Lonnie Potter Events

See Results below:

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Lonnie Potter just completed his residency at Alternative Spacetime, where many friends and strangers joined him to make collages using his technique. The art space basks in the glow of his wisdom and gut-busting humor. Thanks Lonnie!

Now Laura and I look forward to Barbara Stone’s Visit in May!

Stone/Peterson (May)

Storyteller
“Storyteller” by Barbara Stone

“Emerging from Water” 5-14-15

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of her calendars, Barbara Stone brings stories of her life and experiences with polar bears in the arctic. Stone has  illustrated her personal inner narratives about her polar bear experiences since 1979. This residency also features the video-work of Annie Stone and Mikey Peterson during an event on Saturday 16th. See events and details below:

You can see her on “World of Discovery’s: Arctic Terror”
at 37:32

Expanded event descriptions:

  • THIRTY YEARS of the POLAR BEAR CALENDAR  (FREE)
    “In celebration of the 30th Anniversary issue of the Polar Bear Calendar I will tell it’s story in an hour long presentation at Chicago’s Edgewater Public Library on May 14th at 6:30 pm.  The talk will describe the evolution of several themes of the polar bear art that have appeared as calendar illustrations.  The influence of trips to the subarctic region of Canada’s Hudson’s Bay, as well as Japan, India and Europe are evident in many of the art pieces.  My stories will demonstrate how perfectly polar bear characters have allowed me to explore and explain my life’s experiences and personal insights.
  • POLAR BEAR STORIES (FREE)
    “I’m honored to be hosted as artist in residence by ALTERNATIVE SPACETIME (www.alternativespacetime.com) at the studio facility at 1300. The first of my offerings there will include a talk called “POLAR BEAR STORIES”. I encourage anyone interested in true stories that reveal the profound interconnection between human and other species to join us.  My observations of Polar Bears, the community of animals at my Fox Friendly Farm and my life as an artist translate into humor, poignancy and paradox when “life as it is” is told in story.  The talk is free; there is limited seating.
  • CREATIVE WORKSHOP with BARBARA STONE
    “I’ve designed a Saturday session of activities that will stir and extend your imagination. ALTERNATIVE SPACETIME provides the perfect environment for each participant of our small group to safely develop and traverse new creative thresholds. By engaging personal stories, mythology and practiced exercises one can understand how bears and other natural characters open doors within and give voice to personal discovery.  No art experience necessary, however the exercises will be useful to artists, writers and other creatives.
  • STORIES BY THE FIRE (FREE)
    Fireside stories with Barbara Stone and Caro d’Offay offer two unique narrative angles on the theme of “Emerging from Water” that we invite the community to add to. The story-telling event takes place in the front yard of 1300 on May 16, 7-9:30pm.
    “I’ve seen the popular images of  polar bears emerging from the icy arctic water for a kill, and of the lone, furry, white figures floating off into the sea as their home seems to be crumbling and melting away in the debate of climate change, but getting to hear stories of personal relationships with Polar Bears from the mouth of someone whose has had as much experience with polar bears as Barbara Stone, feels like getting to explore parts of humanity we don’t often get access to. I am so excited to get to bring Barbara Stone to the community and to share stories of emergence from water with her. “Emerging from Water” also includes stories by me (Caro) about pirates and nobles, who emerged from water to settle a group of tropical islands that had no mammals at all before their own human arrival. I found the two seemingly disparate experiences (of arctic life and tropical life) to have many surprising and striking points of connection.” – CaroMikSisFireball1
    Anything goes in this story-telling event set against the glowing light of a campfire, in the front yard of AS1300. Passersby are invited to stop by, have a drink by the fire and to share or just listen to stories as myth, narrative or simply useful information.
    Fireside stories led by Barbara Stone and Caro d’Offay is further accompanied by the video works of Mikey Peterson and Annie Stone, which will be exhibited in the basement windows, all working together in May 2015’s Alternative Spacetime Residency theme “Emerging from Water”
    SATURDAY EVE MAY 16TH