public art

Love Our Island Art Walk in Alameda, CA by Nicole Mueller

In September, I created an installation for Rhythmix Cultural Works’ Love Our Island Art Walk in downtown Alameda, CA, as part of their “Radical Beauty” series. Love Our Island Art Walk is an art-centric creative placemaking project that utilizes public art, storefront art installations, and music performances to activate Alameda’s historic downtown districts.

I was given a 40 foot long stretch of windows to work with over the course of two weeks, and created a translucent painting that spanned the length of the vacant storefront. This project gave me an opportunity to combine my painted works with my “stained glass” window installations using colored vinyl and dura-lar. Introducing light was a completely new challenge, and I’m grateful to Rhythmix Cultural Works for providing the opportunity for such a big experiment.

Support for Love Our Island Arts Walks come from the California Arts CouncilCity of Alameda Public Art Commission, the Downtown Alameda Business Association and Rhythmix 2018 Sponsors.

Afterglow, Dura-Lar, acrylic, spray paint, colored window film, 6' x 40' (dimensions variable), 2018

Photography by JZLim Photography

Photography by JZLim Photography

Photography by JZLim Photography

Photography by JZLim Photography

Photography by JZLim Photography

Photography by JZLim Photography

Photography by Dave Colson

Photography by Dave Colson

Photography by Dave Colson

Photography by Dave Colson

Photography by Dave Colson

Photography by Dave Colson

Nicole Mueller activates the corner storefront with a wraparound installation for this pop-up exhibition within a vacant building in downtown Alameda. Best viewed at night, when the interior transforms the piece by creating a lightbox effect, the piece layers clear and colored films to create a translucent, light-filled painting.

Merging traditions of stained glass with contemporary abstract painting into a site-specific collage, the piece is made of clear sheets of dura-lar, painted with acrylic and spray paint, layered over transparent colored vinyls that mimic stained glass, cut into bold, graphic shapes. Together the films act as a filter, slightly opaque in some areas while letting more light through in others. 

Mueller’s paintings, which are typically dense and layered, become airy and nearly transparent here when activated with light. Her process-based works are painted, cut, collaged, arranged and rearranged through an additive process of layering, with the resulting works existing in a perpetual state of flux. While her paintings revolve around an interplay between color and light, this piece “Afterglow” represents a new move that brings together the simple, colored shapes found in her window installations with her process-based paintings, introducing light as a new ingredient into her collaged compositions.  

In connection with this series on “Radical Beauty,” Mueller aims to beautify an otherwise unimagined storefront, capturing the attention of passerby by presenting an unexpected experience in a public setting, and with her piece “Afterglow” to offer an expression of optimism filled with both color and light.

Block Party Photos by Nicole M

The 5th annual "Boundary Block Party" that the No Boundaries Coalition has been planning for all spring, finally happened last Saturday May 12th, and it was awesome! The block party has been an opportunity to bring people together from the various neighborhoods around West Baltimore, and establish good connections between people in the communities. They had free food, live music, face painting, stilt walking, and lots more. 
I'd been helping to coordinate this year's public art project, which was an interactive photo mural featuring neighborhood leaders along with their thoughts on community, paired with chalkboards for people to fill in ideas on why community is important. 
If you missed it, I'm sad, but you can relive the experience vicariously through all these great photos we took (and there's always next year!)! ;)

Here are some images of the photo mural, which came out fantastic! Thanks to Sean Scheidt for taking such beautiful portraits, Dave Colson for designing the layout, and of course all the participants who were a part of it. Below is one of three photo spreads, and two out of three chalkboards that will later be installed along Pennsylvania Avenue. We'll also soon have an online component where you can view the portraits & each person's full quote. 

 Here are some photos from the rest of the block party!
Facepainting!
Chalk drawing
Mrs. Reid & Mrs. Boyd viewing their portraits on the mural
Mrs. Ida Moore, lifelong Baltimore resident, seeing her portrait that will be on the mural for the first time!
Colorful stilt walkers!
Beautiful weather for a dip in the fountain ;)
A guy with a snake, and ice cream
Little Miss Ladybug & Captain America 

Check out even more photos from the block party here! They're really worth taking a look! Thanks to everybody who came out, it was a beautiful time!


Community Art Projects & the No Boundaries Coalition by Nicole M

This spring I've also gotten to work with a community group called the No Boundaries Coalition, which is a "resident-run initiative dedicated to deconstructing boundaries and reconstructing community" throughout the neighborhoods of Central West Baltimore. I've been helping to organize their annual block party and public art project as the "public art project coordinator."

The Coalition is an awesome group of people from across the neighborhoods of Bolton Hill, Upton, Sandtown, Druid Heights, & Madison Park, who have all come together out of a desire to see their communities become more connected and to break down the socio-economic & man-made barriers that separate them. They're very relationship-oriented and believe in the idea that the more we all get to know one another on a personal level, the more unified and empowered our communities as a whole will become.

The block party this year is coming up on Saturday May 12, and will be on the corner of Pennsylvania Ave. & Presstman St. between 1–4 in the afternoon (i'll post more info. about the event soon!) If you want to catch a sneak peak of the interactive photo mural we're working on for the public art project, check out photographer Sean Scheidt's blog post about the project here: http://seanscheidt.com/blog/?p=1958   Looking great so far!

The Coalition also hosted a day-long retreat recently at the Carrie Murray Nature Center (a really cool place) in Gwynns Falls to brainstorm ideas for the future, redefine what No Boundaries is all about, and figure out logistics of things. Here's some photos from the retreat!


Our facilitator helping us redefine what No Boundaries is about, and helping us come up with a future game-plan for next year. 
 
Breakfast & roundtable discussions
 
 
 
  
 
Group brainstorming
 
 
Some good discussions going on here ;) 


I also got to be featured in the Baltimore Collegetown's Class Two Yearbook for LeaderShape! LeaderShape is a leadership development retreat I participated in last summer, that focuses on helping you develop service-minded "visions" for the future based on your own passions. That was a whole other experience I could go on forever about, but basically this opportunity with No Boundaries was the perfect next step to further exploring the intersection between art and community for me. And I'm super excited about being a part of both of these amazing networks of people! View the rest of the yearbook and read about what other projects people are working on from different schools here! Baltimore's a cool city, you know?

I want to say something funny about how inspiring this photo is, but I'm afraid of people getting the wrong impression so I'll just let it speak for itself ;) 


I will definitely be sharing more about the art project and block party as they culminate in the next couple of weeks! Oh yea and thesis...