McColl Countdown

In just 19 days, I will be boarding a plane for Charlotte, North Carolina where I will be an artist in residence for two months at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation. McColl is a nationally acclaimed contemporary art center dedicated to connecting art and artists with the community.

Last fall, the Rasmuson Foundation launched a new eight week long residency program to bring four artists to Alaska and to send four Alaskan artists outside.

Once the Alaskan artists were selected, the Rasmuson Foundation brought all eight of them and all nine organizations together for a convening. It was kind of insane (in a good way) being surrounded by so much talent and creative energy for a weekend. I wrote about what I learned during that weekend here.

At the time, me going to Charlotte, North Carolina seemed like such a far away dreamlike adventure, but now its only 2 1/2 weeks away. It really is happening. I’m trying my hardest to tie up loose ends, get the kids ready for school, leave the house in order, and make sure my quilts are where they should be. It’s maddening, its thrilling, its scary.

What will I do for two months at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation? I don’t have a complete answer for that yet.

I do know I will be making a community quilt for a community in Charlotte. I’m made many of these quilts, and the idea of making one there feels very good. Here is McCarthy Solstice made with the community of Kennicott and McCarthy. You can read and see more image about this quilt here. McCarthy Solstice by Maria ShellI know I will be participating in Open Studio Saturdays at the Center September 27 and October 11 from 11AM – 4PM.. If you are in the neighborhood, you should stop by and say hello.

All of the fall residents, including myself, will be sharing information about their work at the Artist-to Artist Talk on September 18th from 6 to 8PM.

I have been thinking a lot about how I want to approach my work while I am there. I originally thought I would spend some time making word quilts, which I have long wanted to do.

Maria Shell McColl CountdownI am also interested in blowing up traditional quilt blocks. The last time I studied at the Crow Barn, I started to blow up this Flowering Snowball block to be six feet by six feet. Part of me really wants to go there with my work, but I won’t be doing that.

Maria Shell McColl CountdownI want to embrace living in the south and what that means for the two months I get to do that. I want to explore the city as best I can and then translate that into my work. What would that look like? I don’t know yet because the experience is ahead of me.

Several years ago, in another Crow Barn Class, I started but never finished a series of quilts based on abstracting the buildings of Kennicott, Alaska.

I sketched and pieced but never completed a small grouping of these quilts. The actual photos of these pieces are lost some where on my first lap top, so these are photos of photos in my journal, but you get the idea.

I would like to start and FINISH a similar project in Charlotte. I think I will start where I will be working.

Maria Shell McColl CountdownBuilt in 1926, the building was originally the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

McColl-centerAlthough the building had been designated a historic landmark, it sat untouched for 15 years after a fire destroyed the interior. I’ve been told that homeless people used it as refuge.

overview-215 years ago, the building was rehabbed into the space now known as the McColl Center for Art + Innovation.

McColl_CenterInside the historic, neo-Gothic church there are now nine artist studios and over 5,000 square feet of Gallery space. Can you believe it? I’m going there to make art.

10446659_10152582275272162_1291303808777248275_nI hope you will join me on the journey.

PS- Thank you Rasumuson Foundation for your ongoing support of Alaskan artists!

This entry was published on August 14, 2014 at 11:10 AM. It’s filed under News And Events and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

10 thoughts on “McColl Countdown

  1. Wow,Maria..Looks like you’ve got a busy 2 months ahead of you!What a beautiful work space! Can’t wait to see what transpires while you are there.Bon voyage!

  2. great architecture can only inspire great art. looking forward to your posts.

  3. So incredibly awesome! I can’t wait to hear all about it!

  4. How exciting, what a lovely space to work in. I am looking forward to hearing all about it.

  5. I’m excited for and with you, Maria! Looking forward to your posts.

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