Mural ideas

The Orange Chat blog reports that the Chapel Hill News has received 12 submissions for it's Draw Your Own Mural contest. The deadline is Monday. I wonder if the Chan's gave them permission to determine what would be painted on their wall or if they're just making suggestions. Here's one:

"The mural meant a tremendous amount to Club Nova," Karen Dunn at Club Nova writes. [...] I ask that Club Nova remain the focus in the next mural. This could be a wonderful opportunity to reaffirm our place in the community, especially in what has become some of the worst times for community mental health."
- |Orange Chat - Carrboro mural update



Ruby, thanks for this post. By way of clarification, every time we (The Chapel Hill News) have promoted the contest, we've been sure to say that it's just for fun and has no official connection to the painting of the mural. It's our way of involving the community in our paper. The OrangeChat post you're referring to also mentions that this is not an official contest.

You are correct in saying the deadline is Monday. We are promoting the contest one more time in the paper this Sunday as a last call for submissions. For the mural drawing we like the best, we're giving away a gift certificate for two to a Carrboro restaurant, and possibly a second prize just for participating.

Glad for the clarification, Meiling. Can one participate without actually drawing the idea?

Catherine, I realize I'm responding too late now, since the deadline for our contest was yesterday. But to answer your question, people could have participated without necessarily "drawing." We've received submissions using crayon, colored pencils and what I think is chalk as well.

Ruby, I wish to thank you for calling attention to the mural erasure.

I tried to quietly organize my own project by collaborating on a design with Carrboro artist Phil Blank but it never took off. He did a mock-up and that's as far as we got, as we lost touch due to the auguries of life. It was pretty sad for me that the wall was painted over, and even sadder that no one actually ever contacted me about it, no one ever really took the poem in consideration. When I saw that the newspaper was having a contest, I was crushed.

The tacit but loud message I got from this whole ordeal is that it made me feel as if Carrboro considered that poem, "I am not a wall," disposable, I mean by virtue of its omission form consideration. I'm not saying anyone deliberately said, "hey, at least that poem is gone so we don't have to deal with that any more." Nothing like that is in my imagination. It's just that it never seemed to come up.

Here's what I am thinking. That poem was a site-specific piece I wrote for that wall and was dedicated to Mike Nelson. I feel quite strongly that it is a piece worthy of maintaining a place on that wall, that it is one of a small number of things that I have written that I feel has some artistic and historic merit.

Unfortunately for me and perhaps for Carrboro, throughout the public reporting and discussion of the erasure of the poem, no one ever said the poem should be preserved. That was pretty hard for me to take. A part of me died. It's only now that I can talk about it, a year later, here it is, 2008.

The absence of the poem's absence made me feel that either (a) I stink, (b) no one really cares about what the laureate contributes to the community, or (c) art is disposable, art is forgettable, particularly poetry, even in Carrboro. No one's saying (a) (at least I hope). So it's some combination of (b) and (c) I guess.

I do feel as if the newspaper is contributing to the erasure of art and poetry in Carrboro as they above everyone should have done some due diligence on the wall, that they should have called me.

Maybe I am overreacting but hey. Imagine what it's like to work on a piece like that as a gift for a community, and then the community to hardly notice that gift, a community that supposedly values the arts, its laureateship, and my contributions while I was a part of that laureateship and that community. It was hard work to get that poem right and while I don't feel the previous visual design was conducive to the community's embrace (or lack thereof) of the poem, I feel that the poem in that place--on that wall--was a small moment of perfection. If a sculpture commissioned by a community was vandalized beyond repair, would it be fair for people to just go ahead and discuss what to do with the space now that the sculpture is gone, discuss that with the sculptor standing there, discuss it as if the sculptor doesn't exist? Maybe it's easier to downplay cheapen or ignore it because it is made from words, not stone?

Thanks for the space to post this Ruby, even if perhaps no one ever reads this, as I fully realize I am making a comment on a year-old post.

Dear Patrick, that poem of yours was not only a marvelous tribute to Mike but a great gift to the Town in the course of solving the mural problem.  Thank you.  Thank you.  I still have "I Am Not A Wall" on file, but we all know it's not the same since the wall got painted over by a vindictive jerk. 

For a community that ostensibly values the arts (ouch), Carrboro should have honored you for your service and has a long way to go before we can really claim this reputation.  



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