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Let this guide take you into ‘Project Atrium’

February 6, 2017 // by Anthony Aiuppy

When you walk through the front doors of MOCA Jacksonville, the first thing you notice in front of you is a large open space that has been transformed into an original artwork. The closer you get, the more consumed you become by an artist's interpretation of the Atrium Gallery. Currently, prints on Mylar hang by cube magnets, supported by metal beams. A building within a building is what some visitors have called Nicola López's installation artwork. Where does it end? Or begin? The interpretation is in the eye of the beholder.

Project Atrium Family Guide b
Explore Project Atrium, such as Nicola López's A Gentle Defiance of Gravity and Form, with MOCA Jacksonville's new Family Guide. Image courtesy of Denise M. Reagan.

Project Atrium  is unique to MOCA Jacksonville. Three times a year, the Atrium is opened up for reinterpretation be contemporary artists on a regional and national scale. The Project Atrium series challenges emerging and mid-career artists to create an original, site-specific or site-sensitive installation never before seen. Whether it's painting, drawing, printmaking, or building, artists explore untapped possibilities that implore visitors to engage with the Museum in new ways.

Months of planning go into the preparations for the selected artist to fully realize a vision for the space. A common question these artists ask is, “What tools am I going use to bring my artistic vision to life?” Another question is, “How are visitors and the community going to respond to my installation on the first, second, or third floors of the Museum?”

I had a personal experience working in the Project Atrium space last summer. I was an artist's assistant while Ethan Murrow created his monumental sharpie drawing, Plethora. I know the space intimately, literally from top to bottom, side to side.

Project Atrium Family Guide Detail
The Project Atrium Family Guide prompts children and their caregivers to explore the materials and tools artists use to create the installations. Image courtesy of Denise M. Reagan.

The Project Atrium Family Guide is an excellent resource for families to explore and better understand what it takes to create a monumental, site-specific work of art. With the Family Guide, you can see some of the most commonly used tools Project Atrium artists have used in the past, as well as some unusual ones. Art terms help you better familiarize yourself with these large-scale artworks. Make sure to take the Project Atrium Family Guide home with you. Flex your creative muscles and imagine how you could reinterpret the Atrium Gallery by sketching your own Project Atrium installation.

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