Monday, September 28, 2009

When it rains, it falls on everybody's house.

This Sunday it rained. It rained hard, like it did most of the summer, a summer where I did not put my winter clothes away until July. One swatch of the quilt has been delayed until now, and if anyone is reading this that is not an artist, it will explain how sometimes a mundane experience can trigger an idea to be finished.

I was riding in the car a few days ago and got behind a cab which had the following vinyl lettering, "When it rains, it rains on everybody's house." I love phrases that on the one hand seem contradictory in image and different in what they mean. I think this makes the message stronger. The image of rain could be torrential, black clouds, hail pelting those huddled in houses below trying to stick it out. It can also be the same, but a hard, spiritually cleansing rain, washing away what needs to go down the drain. In both interpretations, it reflects that we are all affected by things larger than ourselves.

When I started the quilt, the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina was in the news. I listened to survivor's stories. Within the horror of the situation, there were so many who stuck together, and rose above the situation. New Orleans is in transition, but the spirit is surviving. I was not sure how to put this in a visual form, and then Sen. Kennedy died and that flooded the news, so to speak. So I put off.

So when I saw the phrase on the cab, I knew how to finish the swatch..I thought of raindrops, rooftops....all together now! It also reminded me of the acute hosuing crisis we are having in Rhode Island.

Come and see this section placed on the quilt this Thursday, Oct 1, from 11-1 p.m.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My name is...

While monitoring all of the installations for Providence Art Windows last week, a woman named Jenny stopped and helped artist David J. Delay at the 203 Westminster site, and inquired about what the project was. Jenny is an enthusiastic woman who had an interesting story herself. Jenny is an advocate for the homeless, finding shelter, transporting and giving hope to many. She asked if I could sit down for an interview for the homeless newspaper Street Sights, and talk about the project with one of the staff writers, David. I agreed, and I met her and David this past Friday outside of Tim Horton's on Westminster Street.

I work down the street from Tim Horton's, at the Arts & Business Council of RI. I had passed by David almost every day I was Downtown working, and he seemed to be a person of note, giving advice, his writing being interrupted by the many who stopped by his table trying to find Jenny. I had met David briefly last year when my husband Erik Gould started a photographic project on the economic crisis, and we had visited the tent cities that had recently cropped up in the area. I always try to pass by with a smile when I see him.

So now, last Friday, we sat down together to talk about Providence Art Windows as a free, open art project that is available for anyone to look at 24hrs a day... at least that was the premise of the original story. We had a little time before Jenny arrived so I wondered about David's story. He is living at a Vet's center, writes constantly and finds it to be his salvation to keep writing. If he is writing, that is all he needs to be content. When Jenny arrived, we started to talk about piece(work) and I think they will talk about the project as they asked for my picture in front of the last panel. Erik came along to introduce himself and talk about his project,and we were invited to attend a editorial meeting to learn more about the paper.

This meeting and interview inspired my current panel, which will go up tomorrow. I have been reading a lot of negative information about the homeless in the major papers of the region, and I decided to give the voice of my current panel to the people who come to David's table. I cut up a pair of old Carhart's (a la Gee Bend quilt style), and gave them to David to collect individual stories or positive messages from individuals he knew. Some of these requests I got to make in person(a particularly nice one is from Paul H. Botelho), but for others David carried the pieces of cloth and some Sharpie pens in his rucksack.

I will be adding these pieces tomorrow, from 11AM-12PM. This section may grow, with different colors, but for now each piece is stacked upon each other, at least 12 so far. Not all are signed, as not everyone felt comfortable to do so. I know most of these individuals by first names only. BUT-I think viewers will find some of the commentary insightful and/or hopeful.

Many thanks to David, Jenny, Dave, R.W.M., Paul, May, D', RAM, and anonymous contributors.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

There is WORK to be done.

My first panel at the cornerstone of the quilt is a dedication to the late Senator Edward Kennedy. I was very moved watching his funeral, and the title of the section is , There is WORK to be done., after his famous and touching oration at his own brother Bobby's funeral many years ago. As I watched a lot of the news commentary, the phrase would not leave my mind. With all of the debates about healthcare, the economy, the world....the news seems flooded with angry Americans, spouting hateful words, and all I can think is,"Well, what are you doing about it? How are you personally going to make it a better place to live?" There is work to be done. Let's get to it. Let's work hard and be compassionate while we are at it.

The panel is 6'3" long, the height of the late Senator, and made of sailcloth, velvet, and suit material. As part of my ongoing "lottery series", I have added stars from found lottery tickets,which hang from the panel and spread across the floor in the shape of stars and words. This is the majority of the material I find in Providence and Pawtucket where I live, which says a lot about our economy at the moment. We just passed the 10.3 % mark for unemployment. Small wishes on the ground, fluttering away.

Like many Americans, I feel I have a personal connection to the Kennedy's,with all of the family's tragedies and triumphs so public. My brother Bob was born not long after Bobby Kennedy's assassination in 1968, and is named after him. My father Art Siemering, was a reporter in the 1960's, and took photos of Senator Kennedy when he stopped in Omaha, NE, on his train trip across America, campaigning to be President. One of these photos always had a prominent place in our home, where ever we moved to.

My condolences to Sen. Patrick Kennedy(my Rhode Island Senator) and his family.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Thank you to everyone who came to see my Cryptic Providence installation that lasted through the Winter. The group is trying to bring back this exhibition next year, so stay tuned!

My current installation is a time-based piece called piece(work). The title is a wordplay, the installation being put together piece by piece, like a quilt, the work being finding and reflecting on Providence itself, and making a visual commentary.

piece(work) is part of the Fall installation for series for Providence Art Windows(of which I am Director), and contains artists invited by me that reflect intensive labor, obsession for materials or passion for subject matter. Several artists and collectives within this round of Art Windows have an intense enthusiasm for making Providence a better place to live and work. My “crazy” quilt, with pieces culled from the streets of Providence and the news of the day, will be a reflection of the time from September 1-December 1, 2009, the duration of the show, and a new section of the quilt will be added every week. Since a window reflects the viewer and the city, the installation as a finished piece of art will also reflect the City of Providence. The city is a work in progress, and this quilt is a hopeful, demonstration piece.

Come back to this blog as I document the process, and go to to see the other fantastic artists!