Setting Forth: Artwork Launches SoCo Blueways
AHA! Night Opening, May 8, 2014
Setting Forth Artist Talk at UGLY Gallery
Followed by trolley tour of sites
May 8, 2014 at 6:30pm
Setting Forth (Hannah Verlin, Artist)
Exhibition at UGLY Gallery
May 8 -20, 2014
Today's paddler setting off in a kayak from New Bedford for a day of adventure on Buzzards Bay follows in the long wake of the whaling ships of the past. A new outdoor artwork by Hannah Verlin, Setting Forth, will use text and song to link paddlers to the region's maritime history and to introduce SoCo Blueways, a National Water Trail initiative along the South Coast. (www.socoblueways.org)
"Setting Forth is a great way to launch SoCo Blueways," explained Rob Hancock, Buzzards Bay Coalition. "Our goal is to increase responsible paddling and enjoyment, especially by young people, of the waterways of Southeastern Massachusetts. By directly experiencing the water and seeing others do the same, more people will feel a sense of connection, ownership, and eventually stewardship for our region's natural and cultural heritage."
Setting Forth will be a series of temporary installations at five SoCo Blueways access sites (see map) featuring lyrics from the traditional maritime song "Rolling Home." At each of the sites, multiple lines of text will be stenciled onto the pavement, marking the access points and leading people to the water. The words will be wavy and layered, creating waves of words. "We chose Fort Taber as the focus for Setting Forth because of its strong connection with the region's maritime story and because we wanted the sites to be accessible to bicyclists and walkers" said Joseph Lopes, President, Whaling History Alliance.
Working with New Bedford volunteers and UGLY Gallery, artist Hannah Verlin will use stencils and tempera paint (a medium akin to liquid chalk) to create the artworks on site, shaping them fit the space. Depending on weather and wear, the words will remain visible for several months. According to Frank Barrows, acting Superintendent, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, "UGLY Gallery has been an excellent Park partner, helping us to engage young people with New Bedford history. We're glad to have their assistance in recruiting young artists to assist Hannah Verlin with the installation."
In addition to the SoCo Blueways access sites, four downtown New Bedford locations will feature a Setting Forth Marker—Buzzards Bay Coalition, New Bedford Public Library, New Bedford Whaling National Park Visitor Center and UGLY Gallery.
From May 8 to May 20 other artwork by Verlin will also be on view at UGLY Gallery. This pop-up exhibition will feature pieces based on historic texts Verlin researched at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. An artist talk will take place on May 8 at 6:30 at UGLY Gallery. It will be followed by a trolley tour leaving from the gallery of the different sites of Setting Forth.
About the Artist:
Hannah Verlin received her BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2005. In addition to gallery based sculpture and installations, she has created many site-specific and temporary public works throughout New England. Text (often hand-written) features prominently in her work. Some writing is original, but most is transcribed from historic texts, traditional songs, and collected data, etc. The text imbues the art with the significance of the source material. It is a way of expressing complex ideas simply, forming from expressionless data into something meaningful and beautiful.
In 2011 the Massachusetts Cultural Council awarded Verlin a Fellowship in Sculpture/Installation and she received a Fellowship in Visual Art from Somerville Arts Council. The Saint Botolph Club Foundation awarded her an Emerging Artist Award in Visual Arts (2012). She was a Scholar in Residence at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (February, 2013). She lives and works in Somerville, MA.
About SoCo Blueways:
Buzzards Bay and the South Coast of Massachusetts is blessed with hundreds of miles of rivers and coastline, rich with cultural and ecological treasures. These resources are best experienced from a small boat but due to a lack of information and awareness, only a small fraction of the region's residents have had an opportunity to enjoy them. To celebrate the region's maritime heritage and to encourage outdoor recreation, the Buzzards Bay Coalition and its partners, the City of New Bedford, National Park Service and Whaling History Alliance, are working to develop SoCo Blueways, a new National Water Trail along the South Coast. When fully realized, SoCo Blueways will include an online resource for access points, recommended paddling routes, guidelines for safe and responsible on-the-water exploration and interpretive signage.