Projected video images bathe downtown Willimantic in art
By Melanie Savage
Willimantic - posted Tue., Feb. 1, 2011
WILLIMANTIC - Folks might remember some projected art appearing on the façade of the Willimantic Public Library last spring. “I did what I considered to be a pilot project,” said June Bisantz, a local artist and Willimantic resident who was responsible for the event. While the spring exhibit featured Bisantz’ own work, “My intention all along was to present the work of many artists,” she said. That vision will come to life this February, when The Screen Project will bring a series of video projections to a number of Main Street storefronts and building facades in downtown Willimantic. Scheduled to run Feb. 11 through 21, the event will overlap Valentine’s Day as well as the Willimantic Chocolate Festival.
“It’s going to be a very interesting, diverse, and entertaining exhibition,” said Bisantz. Visual and written works of art will be represented, done by artists from all over Connecticut and as far away as Texas. “We have a number of advanced design students from Eastern Connecticut State University,” said Bisantz, “and it’s worth mentioning that Flash Rosenberg is the artist in residence for the New York City Public Library. It’s an honor to have her represented.”
Projection locations are buildings and store fronts between High Street and Church Street, including Nasiff’s and Cafemantic. “There have been a lot of people onboard to make this happen,” said Bisantz. Sponsors include the EastCONN Capitol Arts Theater, Standish Johnson Outdoor Advertising, ECSU, and the American Association of University Professors. Cafémantic, Atty. Joan B. Sinder, The Willimantic Public Library, Meehan & Daughters Real Estate, and Developer Dean Roy are also supporters.
“I am committed to making artwork available to the public audience, and making it part of everyday life,” said Bisantz. The exhibit is part of a trend known as the Urban Screen Community. “There are events like this happening all over the world,” said Bisantz. “They’re done in whatever way that people manage to do them, whether it’s a monitor in a window or a huge electronic billboard.” The Willimantic exhibit, entitled “Love in a Cold Climate,” is a global partner with the StreamingMuseum.org. “People from all over the world will recognize Willimantic as part of the Urban Screen Community,” said Bisantz. “I find that very inspiring.”
Bisantz hopes that the project will eventually lead to a permanent continuous Urban Screens location in Willimantic. “I can think of a number of ideas for where to locate a permanent screen,” she said. “Heritage Park, Jillson Square, Memorial Park all would work.” Bisantz describes an incident that she witnessed during a test projection. “A little kid was walking down the street with his mom and he ran up and embraced the building,” she said. “It’s amazing to see moving images on the side of a building.”
For more information about the Willimantic project, go to thescreenproject.com. Also see www.streamingmuseum.org for projection exhibits in cyberspace and public space on seven different continents.