ArtsFest, Conway's annual festival of the arts supported by the Conway Alliance for the Arts, will feature Celebration Artist Alice Guffey Miller who will create a sculptural installation made from recycled materials, including CDs/DVDs and glass prisms scrounged from a local restaurant chandelier. The resulting sculpture will be on display during ArtsFest (Sept. 26-Oct. 3, 2015) in the pre-existing circular fountain in Simon Park, be moved to Laurel Park for display at Conway's EcoFest (Oct. 10) and, finally, moved and installed in the triangular Metro Square fountain in Conway for a 6- to 12-month display. In keeping with ArtsFest's STE[+Art]M theme this year("Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics plus Art"), the artwork will focus on community creativity, recycling, and public interest design.
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Miller will create a 10-foot column made of Drivet-coated styrofoam into which she will insert recycled, reflective CDs/DVDs in a spiraling pattern. Recycled cut-glass prisms, together with bubbling water flowing up and out the top of the column, will add further layers of reflectivity that will animate the work.
Community involvement is central to Alice Guffey Miller's work. During August and September, she will conduct a citywide call for unwanted CDs and DVDs (with a goal of 3,000), which will cultivate community curiosity in the project and generate interest in both festivals. During the festivals themselves, participants will be asked to reflect on the meaning of community and to write thoughtful messages on additional CDs/DVDs. Festival goers will also glue glass beads on the discs, acting as weights, so that the artist can arrange them around the fountain wall at Simon Park and in spiral patterns in the grass at EcoFest. These inscribed discs (about 1,500) will eventually cover the floor of the Metro Square fountain, making the "Pillar of the Community," a work that will reflect the community's voice and celebrate environmental awareness.
Alice Guffey Miller, a resident of Monticello, Arkansas, has created sculptures across Arkansas, including works at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock, and the Arkansas Children's Museum in Little Rock. These works have included a 75-foot floating dragon constructed of 2,000 green plastic bottles, a giant kaleidoscope and bubble-making machine, and a 13-foot tall race horse constructed of steel barrels and Mountain Valley Water glass bottles. Miller's work is more than just a product; her art also includes community engagement activities that bring together diverse groups of all ages and abilities. Her semi-permanent fountains, mobiles, murals, inflatables, etc., are first and foremost a celebration of environmental awareness, the freedom of the human spirit, and cooperative community creativity.
This project is generously funded by the Arkansas Arts Council's Arts on Tour program and by Salter Properties.