Discovering the Unexpected | Art in Odd Places Greensboro

So far this semester, I have been no stranger to the familiar. Through interviews and many gallery visits, I’ve explored then shared with you the unique yet conventional aspects of the art community at Guilford and in Greensboro. This week, I go beyond the acrylic and canvas, move past the pen and paper and emulsion, and hit Elm Street for the installment of Art in Odd Places: Greensboro. AiOP has been an active grassroots organization in New York City since 2005 and has brought art to cities all over the country in order to reinforce the idea that “public spaces function as the epicenter for diverse social interactions and the unfettered exchange of ideas”. Their mission was embraced to the fullest this weekend with Greensboro’s first installation of the project, including local and national artists, as well as our own Mark Dixon and his FYE class Art, Sound, Noise. This installation was far from ordinary and led me on a different path than I normally do for blog research. Join me…


My journey started at the corner of Elm and Lewis St. with the FYE students’ performance, Mobile Devices. The intersection is adorned with students as they walk between the street corners, carrying brightly colored sculptures that project a specific and continuous sound. Some are blockish and solid, while others have protruding antennae or fins, or windows with panes. They range from blue to green to yellow to brown and pop against the black background of most students’ attire.


As they pass one another, the specific sounds from each sculpture intermingles with the others  close by, creating a constantly changing soundtrack to the performance. At one particular  moment, I remember hearing a conversation between a few students that was overdubbed with  passing cars, a jackhammer, music,and a ticking clock. I found myself not knowing which elements  were fabricated or actually happening around me. It was a bit surreal but affirming; the unsure  feeling I had was exactly the point of their performance and one of the reason’s why Guilford’s  contribution to AiOP was pretty perfect.


Just up the street, in front of Elsewhere, another performance was slowly forming. Megan Marlatt, a Richmond based artist who has gained notoriety for her “Big Head” projects, is part of a group of preparing for what they titled the Big Head Brigade. The large sculpted heads are worn by the artists who created them and, aside from their uncanny realism, they are both beautiful and comical, as seen pictured below. They begin to march up Elm, and as my group walked ahead of the parade, we are slowly passed by artist Daniel Dean and his mobile installation RAD10. Though the Big Head Brigade literally marches to their own beat (provided by the rhythmic sounding of a bell) the music coming from RAD10 sets the happy and exploratory mood of the evening. His music remains to weave in and out as we continue to explore the event, ducking down side streets to see chalk art or peaking into mini greenhouses. For the night, Elm Street is a big backyard as I play a game of hide and seek with the contributing artists. I search the familiar street for unfamiliar objects that will share my home for only a few days. Check out the images below to see some of the treasures I found.

Where do you see unconventional art in Greensboro the rest of the year? How does art in unfamiliar locations change the way you see it? We would love to hear from you in the comments section!

Miss out on AiOP but wish you hadn’t? Check out the Greensboro webpage here and the national page here.

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