Artist disassembles community-created work, hangs portion in Akron Community Foundation lobby
— Artist Francisca Ugalde likes to include the community in her larger-than-life projects. In fact, a number of community members helped her create the “Find Yourself” mural during March’s Big Love festival, and now the work has been disassembled to be shared in various locations around Akron.
As a fitting continuation, Ugalde recently installed a number of pieces at Akron Community Foundation, which has been featuring local artwork in its lobby since the building was restored in 2014.
The mural is composed of colorful swatches that were part of a large map of Akron that was projected onto the wall at Summit Artspace. And during the festival — which included live music, visual and performing artists and a healing room, among other attractions — attendees were able to help paint this mural, using the lines of the map as their guide. Ugalde assembled 22 pieces of canvas together and primed them gray, and artist Dray Evans collaborated with his airbrushing skills.
“My work has always been heavy on lines,” says Ugalde. “So lines have always been a visual language I’ve been drawn to. I love maps and layering, so they were a culmination of all my natural interests coming together.”
She set up the paint, and Big Love Festival attendees were able to help paint the mural by following a few simple rules: don’t paint over someone else’s square; don’t paint a color next to the same color; and try to avoid having too many colors in the same area.
“Giving people the opportunity to paint really makes them feel like they’re part of it,” Ugalde adds. “It’s an ownership that changes the appreciation for the work.”
This unique model of creating large works, then disassembling them for public consumption, is something she tried out last year for a show at Hazel Tree Interiors on West Market Street.
“I’m allowed to create freely without having to worry about scale, then I can scale it down to a format on which people can put it on their walls.”
The Hazel Tree show enabled art patrons to hang the abstract work in different combinations, which Ugalde says created unique “conversations” with the artwork. “They tend to be abstract in nature, so people can take them and play around with them and move them around and rotate them and put them in different positions. I like to think of them as having little conversations with each other. Every time you change them, the conversation changes. It gives people ownership in how to display and react to them.”
Look out for more of the Big Love mural pieces to appear around town, like at a future installment at Mustard Seed Cafe. The pieces will be available for sale as well, she adds.
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