The City of Springfield through its cultural institutions, the Springfield Public Library and Springfield History Museum, with support from the Springfield Arts Commission, invited artists who live or work in the Springfield-Eugene area to develop unique luminaria art pieces. These pieces explore, express or reflect on the exhibition’s core concepts that include bringing light to the darkness, shedding light on the cultural and racial diversity in our community, and offering a light of hope for the new year.
The Illumination exhibit opened January 11, and runs through March 1, 2021, in the civic heart of Downtown Springfield in the front display windows of the Springfield History Museum.
“Our intention is to cultivate diversity, equity and access to the arts and culture of our region. We envision a Springfield community where race, class, sexual orientation, gender, age, mental or physical ability do not pre-determine the success, safety, or health of our residents,” said Mindy Linder, Springfield Library outreach specialist and exhibit co-coordinator.
“We have an incredible group of six local artists offering light in these dark days,” said Madeline McGraw, curator of the Springfield History Museum and co-exhibit coordinator. “We are eager to share their work with the community through this storefront exhibit at the Museum. Each unique voice and perspective is represented through various media from fused glass to wood, paper to basket-weaving.”
The Illuminations will include:
Textile artist Kelsey Leib, from Cleveland, Ohio. Her recent work primarily focuses on perspective, storytelling, and community narratives. Her work, Unmasked, consists of a series of quotes from interviews with residents of Eugene and Springfield during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lanterns made out of facemasks hang above and illuminate the text, demonstrating how even in isolation, we share a collective story.
Local special education teacher Stuart Rush is a hobbyist woodworker whose work features honest and traditional design and uses the repetition and rhythm of simple geometry as a way to highlight the character of natural and salvaged materials. Lamp III is a product of its space and time. Built in the winter, it is inspired by the night sky and a desire to bring the gentle glow of starlight indoors. It is tied to the Northwest as it is made of fir trees endemic to our region, featuring panels from material Rush pulled from a fire pit at a housing cooperative in Eugene.
Carol Milliman has spent over 40 years working with sandblasting, painting and fused glass, appreciating the unique way it transforms light and offers connection to the natural world. Her piece Celebrate Connections, a fused glass luminaria, is “my prayer for everyone in this community to reach out and look for ways that we can connect with each other…”
The work, Courage, Resilience, Solidarity, created by multidisciplinary artists Aimee Yogi and Kristi Sakai Steiner, is ornamented with tsuru, the Japanese origami crane. The tsuru is the icon of recent actions spearheaded by Japanese American leaders in the face of the separation of families and children of asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants at U.S. borders. Protesting at ICE detention sites led to a planned March on Washington in summer 2020. Yogi shares that, “[s}upporters made 125,000 tsuru which would have been carried in the march. Folding the tsuru empowered all of us and led us to commit to solidarity and actions with all other groups facing social injustice.”
Kum-Ja Lee is a visual artist based in Eugene, originally from Seoul, South Korea. She works with fiber installation and different painting media. Her luminaria, Wish, is a delicate lotus flower in a suspended nest. Her work is a symbolic response to our current context, offering light, hope and recovery. Each element has been thoughtfully incorporated to feature metaphorical meaning from eastern Asian culture.
For artist Jaime Eads Maraia her piece, Everyday Magic: a luminary is very personal. In her artist statement exhibited with her work, she shares her personal journey with loss, love and her deep connection to her family that inspired her. The luminaria is interactive, featuring a downloadable smartphone app that allows patrons to engage with and change the lighting relative to their personal feelings. “You are loved” she joyfully expresses to exhibit patrons. She includes a joy warning: spontaneous dance parties may occur in music mode.
The entire community is encouraged not only to come to Downtown Springfield and visit the Illumination exhibit, but also to create their own light in the darkness at home! The Springfield Library has DIY (do-it-yourself) Luminaria Kits available at curbside pickup, from 1-3 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Simply park at the curb, call staff at 541.726.3766 and indicate you would like a kit and Library staff will deliver one directly to you. Kits are family-friendly and an all ages, all-skills activity for anyone who wishes to illuminate their own home.
Illumination and the DIY Luminaria kits are part of a larger celebration of gratitude and hope through bringing light to the darkest months of the year. Seasons of Light (SoL) is a project of the Springfield Public Library and Springfield History Museum, with support from the Springfield Arts Commission. Featured projects will include Winter Reading Program, as well as Give Light, a donation drive of basic supplies in partnership with Carry It Forward to support our community members struggling with homelessness. A complete list of activities and details is available at https://wheremindsgrow.org/c.php?g=1085272&p=8050244.
Springfield Public Library thanks our partners including Springfield History Museum, Springfield Arts Commission and Carry It Forward.
What: Seasons of Light 2021: Illumination
When: Art exhibit now – March 1, 2021
Where: Email inquiries to email@example.com
Additional Information: Mindy Linder, 541.726.3766 or firstname.lastname@example.org