Chapel Hill’s Public Library is creating a new installation to showcase on their walls.
It’s a selection of public art on display by an uncommon homegrown artist… you.
“It’s called Unbound because I was looking at the library as a place that binds together material, books and CD’s and DVD’s.” says Erik Carlson. “And all these pieces of information so that they can be protected but then also they’re unbound and shared with the community.”
Carlson is an artist from Providence Rhode Island. His proposal for the space was chosen amongst many other submissions.
Susan Brown, Director of the library, says it was a competitive process.
The national call brought in about 238 submissions and Carlson’s was chosen because of the unique community aspect of his proposal.
It was about a four hour process, but Brown says she can’t complain.
“It was a great process. And we were so thrilled with Erik’s because it really captured the idea of the community and the library,” Brown said.
All of this was made possible by the towns Percent for Art program, where development projects allocate a percent of their budget for a work of public art.
Members of the community can submit their own memorabilia to be on display. Things like your grandmother’s best recipe, a photo of your great uncle sitting in his car on Franklin St. or any other mementos that show the evolution of Chapel Hill and your time spent here.
“This is an opportunity for them to take those things, and bring them in, and make them part of the artwork,” says Carlson.
What’s even more cool than being able to see your submissions displayed in the public library, is how Carlson and Brown plan on making it come to life.
“Folks that are familiar with the library, right across from the main service desk there’s two blank walls there. And then there’s going to be four panels,” says Brown.
Behind the panels are video monitors.
“But the thing is, these monitors are covered over so you can’t see most of them, and you only get these glimpses into the images through these very cool optical lenses,” Carlson says.
Brown compares it to looking through a viewfinder. Or a glass dome with your digitally converted work inside.
Why digital and not original pieces you might ask? Carlson explains this concept and his use of Braille in the installation.
“Now with everything being digital I thought it was very appropriate that, as libraries are moving into a new phase where they’re dealing with all these digital information and processing that,” Carlson says, “I thought it was appropriate that Braille played a part in besides being very interesting digitally.”
If you need help converting your work, the public library has you covered.
“The library’s digital media lab will be open every Thursday. So you can come and learn how to scan things, or take photos, or take your own super 8 and digitize it,” says Brown.
For the remainder of Carlson’s stay in town, he’s working with Mary Scroggs and Northside Elementary School so they can get involved in the Public Library’s public art work.
They’ll create works of art that portray what they feel is important about the community.
“And then also we’re encouraging them to go home and get their parents, and their siblings, and their neighbors to submit,” Carlson says.
So if you’re in the area, from the area, or have ever visited Chapel Hill, submit your work for display!