A special art installation presented by Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Aspen Institute, and children of the Roaring Fork Valley July 24-26th, 2008
The installation began as a conversation between Kitty Boone, Director of Public Programs of the Aspen Institute, and Hunter O’Hanian, President of Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Ms. Boone explained that His Holiness the Dalai Lama enjoyed being surrounded by children’s artwork, and O’Hanian quickly recognized it as an opportunity for a community arts collaboration and outreach with the Institute and local arts organizations.
A month later, under the guidance of Anderson Ranch Arts Center Children’s Program and Outreach Coordinator Sarabeth Berk, the installation concept became a reality. It is a large-scale public installation for the Dalai Lama’s talk on July 26, 2008 during the program “His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Aspen: A Celebration of Tibetan Culture”. It was designed by nationally renowned artists Mike and Doug Starn and will be created by children living in the Roaring Fork Valley.
“This project has been a tremendous opportunity,” Berk says, “Not only because it honors a world leader, but it connects artistic energy in the Roaring Fork Valley, both children and adults alike, and demonstrates the power of collaboration among different groups of people. It hass been an incredible process to act on behalf of Anderson Ranch to pull it together.”
Anderson Ranch Arts Center recruited the help of three local arts organizations–the Wyly Community Art Center, Carbondale Council on the Arts and Humanities, and the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts—as well as forty-eight Roaring Fork Valley children ages 6-12 to create the individual artistic elements comprising the installation. The children will be encouraged to explore and express their prayers and wishes for peace, love, and understanding while experiencing the spirit of collaboration.
The installation, specifically created for Aspen Music Festival’s Benedict Music Tent stage, has been designed to convey interconnectedness, and the artistic elements are meant to be experienced as a whole. It includes a 6 foot tall and 45 foot wide digital mural placed behind His Holiness and a cloud of 1,200 handmade prayer flags floating above him, mimicking the tradition of spreading prayers, hope and good wishes by wind throughout the world. Additionally, snowflakes will be included in the mural to represent themes of ephemeral beauty, uniqueness, and the power of coalescence.
The artists Mike and Doug Starn serve as the conceptual designers of the installation. They are identical twins who work collaboratively in the territory between photography, sculpture and painting, and occupy a unique position within contemporary art practices of photography. The Starns engagement with Buddhist principles takes many forms, both concrete and abstract. The Starns will be in Aspen from the 17th to the 27th of July to attend other Aspen Institute programming and help install the artwork. See www.starnstudio for a full bio and other projects completed by the Starns.
Aspen Institute Benedict Music Tent, July 26th, 2008.
Installation Installers and Organizers
The installation, reflecting the temporal and transitory nature of existence, will be installed in two hours the evening of July 25th, and taken down immediately following the event on July 26th. The Aspen Music Festival, Aspen Institute, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and Mike and Doug Starn will be facilitating the installation.
Aspen Institute, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Wyly Community Arts Center, Carbondale Council on the Arts and Humanities, and Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts all played a key role in conducting children’s workshops to create the installation and providing the logistical support for the children to attend and participate in the symposium.
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Aspen: A Celebration of Tibetan Culture” has been organized in compliance with the guidelines of the Office of Tibet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama does not accept honoraria and symposium proceeds will be used solely to defray event costs. Sponsorship for the artists and art installation was provided by the Stanton Fund through the Aspen Institute.