My goal with this public art project was to create a field of pinwheels.
Seven local artists, myself included, each created a set of small pinwheels. I gave each artist a set of 11 'Design Your Own Pinwheel' kits by Coloration to provide a standard size. The only requirements were that each pinwheel must spin freely and that each design include references to e. e. cummings' poem "i carry your heart". The pinwheels would be installed for one day from dawn to dusk. Community members would be invited to take a pinwheel in memory of someone they were missing. The goal was to have all the pinwheels gone by the end of the day. I intended project to go along the lines of guerilla art and did not seek permission from the city.
Seventy-seven pinwheels were installed on a berm at the intersection of Third St and College Dr in Marshall, Minnesota on July 29, 2011 at 6 a.m. In addition to the pinwheels, I created signs explaining the project and wrote the poem in chalk on the sidewalk. I included the names of artists who donated their artwork. I did not publicize the event. I planned to take pictures at three hour intervals to see how the field of pinwheels changed throughout the day. By noon, five pinwheels were gone.
At 2 p.m., I was notified by the Marshall Police Department that the pinwheels had been removed because I was in violation of a city ordinance which required written permission before placing objects on city property. The pinwheels and all signs were returned to me. I consulted with the artists about how to distribute the remaining pinwheels.
Click HERE to view the gallery of pinwheels
A reporter from our local paper chanced upon the installation and wrote an article which appeared in the paper on July 30, 2011. Elaine Zarzana also wrote about the project in a July 29, 2011 blog entry called 'i carry your heart'. Both of these pieces can be found at The Marshall Independent.
EMAIL RECEIVED AUGUST 2, 2011:
"Took my pinwheel to a workshop at school today. (are schools a public place?) With no conversation about it I placed it in a holder on the table in front of me. At the end of the workshop another paraprofessional sitting at table behind me asked if that was one of the "pinwheels from the paper". Yes I answered. There was question about what was it about. I briefly explained that a handful of artists made pinwheels that people could have in memory of someone and told about the ee.cummings poem. In the end I gave my pinwheel to the woman next to me who wanted to give it to a cousin who had just lost her husband to an accident.
....so...the ripples on the water effect...thanks for creating this splash."