Art institute professor, student injects color and conversation in Manchester city center | A&E
The geometric shapes that James Chase paints on a concrete barrier for use in outdoor dining spaces are more than an artistic statement; it’s a conversation starter and a way to inject color into Manchester city center.
“Our plan is to take advantage of the rich cityscape to transform a dark, tasteless space in the middle of downtown into a thriving public art destination,” said Chase, associate professor at the Institute of Art and Design at New York. England College in town. .
He calls it a form of economic development, “a way of giving new life to downtown and the restaurants that really need it right now.”
Painted barriers aren’t new, but they have become much more common in cities across the state as businesses hit hard by more than a year of the pandemic create outdoor spaces to retain or attract new customers.
But it’s a trend that Chase doesn’t see as a simple reaction to the pandemic and social distancing. He sees public art projects as a blueprint for the future of the Queen City – a way to “activate” cityscapes and encourage more community bonds.
Her work can be seen at the outdoor seating areas across from Ben and Jerry’s and Café La Reine on Elm Street.
It features the distinctive layers of patterns that mark Chase’s contemporary work. Chase, who lives in Hooksett with his wife, Amy and daughter Sienna, plays with the concept of memory. His multi-layered works often feature repetitions – slices of memories that constantly change as stories are recalled, told and reinvented over time.
“There is this dance of interruption, remembering and information that can be exaggerated or left out in the process. It’s those in-between moments that I hang onto and use as a catalyst for my work, ”said Chase, who has also worked on public art projects in Nashua and Rochester.
On Monday, Erol Pierce, a senior at the institute who took Chase classes and also worked in the cafe for two years, helped Chase paint barriers in Manchester city center.
“Being right on Elm Street, there were a lot of people passing by, stopping to say hello or asking questions about the project itself,” said Pierce, who is from Jacksonville, Fla.
He will also be able to see customer reactions to barriers from today.
Pierce’s work will be on display at the 2021 NEC Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibition May 5-20 on the Manchester campus and online.
Her thesis work, “Messages from Home”, focuses on the themes of interactions and family relationships while her art installation is entitled “It takes a community to make dreams come true”.
There are also screen-printed 3D paper boxes that will float above his works. There will be in-person visits by appointment and an online consultation will be available.