Guest Blog: 2014 AiR Lauren Ferebee by Tim Giles

In our newest blog, former AiR Lauren Ferebee talks about working with Spartanburg-based artists and invites you to collaborate on her current year-long project as an artist-in-residence for Spark and Echo Arts.

Book of Hours

Hello from Texas!

My time in Spartanburg in 2014 as the theatre artist-in-residence had such a profound impact on me that I ended up coming back and staying through 2015, working with local theatre artists and companies in creating a lot of amazing projects and events.

Part of that time involved curating Spartanburg artists into Spark and Echo Arts, a project that I’ve had the privilege of being a part of since 2013.  Each year, Spark and Echo commissions works responding to scripture from artists of all disciplines and faith backgrounds, with the intention of one day completing a sprawling multimedia illuminated Bible.  So far this year, Spartanburg-based artists Lily Knights, Chandler Crawford, and Tim Giles have completed works in theatre, visual art, and music for the organization (click on their names to check out their amazing work!). 

This year, I’m also serving as an artist-in-residence for Spark and Echo, which means I’m working on a yearlong project responding to Proverbs 8. In my first project update, I outlined the shape of the piece: a multimedia book of hours, focused on wisdom and acts of contemplation.

A snapshot of the website Lauren is building as part of her project.

A snapshot of the website Lauren is building as part of her project.

A piece of this work is going to be a public exchange of contemplations.  In their original medieval setting, books of hours were individually crafted and deeply intimate, illustrated and selected to reflect the concerns, challenges, and daily lives of their owners. As I began working on this book of hours, I became curious about how to replicate that process.

What I’ve decided is that as a part of it, I am reaching out to ask for contemplation requests: for people to send me one-sentence descriptions of an event, action, or situation in their lives that they need some time and thoughtfulness to contemplate – along with their physical address. My commitment is to send back a handwritten contemplation, and my plan is to make and document 365 contemplations as a part of the book of hours.

So, this blog post is also an invitation. Send me something.

Prior to her current project with the group, Lauren's latest project for Spark and Echo Arts was a short film in response to a section of Psalm 107. Watch it below!

WONDERS OF THE DEEP A response to Psalm 107 23-32 By Lauren Ferebee Music/Cinematography: Tim Giles  | Featuring: Shianna Whitner and Liam MacDougall

Guest Blog: 2014 AiR Amber Hansen by Tim Giles

Called To Walls

Hello the friends of HUB-BUB and the Spartanburg community!

I am writing from Lawrence, Kansas to announce the recent completion and premiere of Called to Walls! (debut, documentary, feature by co-director Nicholas Ward an myself, Amber Hansen.)  As a 2014 HUB-BUB Air, I would like to share this project with you not only because it was in production during my residency but because the film and my time in Spartanburg greatly influenced one another.

Called to Walls is an 82min film chronicling the heartening story of unlikely partners in middle American communities, working together to reexamine their histories, celebrate what makes their towns unique, and imagine their futures in the form of monumental murals in the heart of their downtowns. The film follows four of the six projects making up the Mid-America Mural project including Tonkawa, Ok, Newton, Ks, Joplin, Mo and Akradelphia AR. The projects are lead by muralist Dave Loewenstein.

Nicholas and I began as assistant muralists on this project and brought our camera on a lark. The filming began very playfully in 2010 when we created a series of comedic vignettes to post to the mural blog site so that people could follow the project. As we became more invested in our host communities and the collaborative art process, our approach to telling the story became more focused. We lived in each of these communities for three months and made several return visits to gather follow-up interviews. Two of these return visits were made in route, traveling from Lawrence to Spartanburg to begin my HUB-BUB residency, stopping in Joplin, MO and Arkadelphia, AR.

Amber Hansen and Nicholas Ward

Amber Hansen and Nicholas Ward

The different perspectives shared by the HUB-BUB Airs and community were both timely and crucial to helping us think through different aspects of the film. One of the most difficult parts of editing the film together was imagining how four projects in four different communities, each with their own stories and characters, could be woven together into a single coherent narrative. 

This challenge was aided by evenings spent previewing works in progress with the other AiRs as well as with interested community and board members. Not only did we dedicate a night to watching an early, rough-cut version of Called to Walls, but the process of facilitating a feedback session became a tangible process that we recreated several times after returning to Lawrence. The critical feedback we received during these events became crucial to the completion of the film and helped us to see the film with new eyes. 

During my time in Spartanburg I lead and helped out with several community-based projects in various different mediums, including a mural that also fueled the motivations for this film. Spartanburg is now a community brimming with new murals and with a passion for community and the arts! We are thrilled to announce the completion of Called to Walls, and hope we can share it with you someday!

With love from Kansas!

Amber Hansen 

Artist Spotlights by Tim Giles

This post first appeared on the Culture Aplenty blog collaboration between the Spartanburg Herald Journal and the Chapman Cultural Center.

Of the many things that have come out of HUB-BUB’s 6-month rebranding process—chaperoned by branding-guru and designer Jordan Manigo—and the many things yet to come, we are perhaps most excited about our brand new website and the new opportunities that come with it. After leaving the Showroom in August, we wanted to make sure that we would still be able to provide a platform for local artists to showcase their work and engage with the community. Our website will now become a tool to accomplish exactly this.

You’ll notice on the top menu of the new site is a section titled “Features” that is currently blank except for the following text:

"This is empty at the moment, but soon it will an amazing gallery of Spartanburg talent!

We didn’t want our departure from the Showroom to prevent us from showcasing our local artists, so we’ve dedicated a section of our website to that very purpose. Check back in the coming weeks to meet the artists that call Spartanburg home, get an understanding of their work, and take a peek into the spaces where they create."

Our plan is to create an interactive database of our local creative community. Not only will you find images and information about local artists, but there will be videos, samples of their work, and possibilities for collaboration. Our hope is that this format will lead to more artists working with each other, being more aware of each other’s projects, and more artists find opportunities within the community.

So, who will be featured here? Hopefully, you. We are interested in creative thinkers of all types. Send us your playwrights, your poets, your painters, and sculptors, your knitters, your crafters, your jewelers, and actors. We want to know what creative projects you have in the works, no matter what medium you work with. So even if you just dabble in doodling, please send us your work!

On the “Features” page you’ll find a short form. Fill it out. Tell us about yourself and your work. And let’s find a way to collaborate on something fun! We look forward to seeing what you’ve got for us.

Reimagine Place with Us by Tim Giles

When the news was first traveling around the city that HUB-BUB was vacating the Showroom most of the responses I heard were, “what a loss,” “how sad,” and “I hate to lose a place that meant so much to me.” And I understand these responses—believe me, I do. Change, no matter the outcome, is a painful process. But I must admit that my first response to learning that we were losing that space was not fear or disappointment but an excitement at the new opportunities this change could provide. Opportunities for collaboration and exploration.

I understand the benefits of occupying a performance space. Over the years the Showroom had a revolving door of artists, residents, performers, speakers, and people who simply needed a place to work and relax. Many of my dearest friends in Spartanburg were introduced to me in this space, whether at an event or just hanging around at an impromptu cookout in the driveway. Many of us saw this building as a fortress to gather and protect those who shared our sensibilities. But the problem with a fortress is that it both traps and excludes. And a community organization cannot exist separate from its larger community. And dynamic arts, ideas, and activities are not for a special group. They are for everyone.

So yes, we have lost a space. We left behind a valuable asset that gave so much to so many people, myself included. But we believe that the opportunities afforded by escaping the financial burden of maintaining such a space far outweigh the losses. When there is no immediate answer to the question of finding a venue for your programming, the questions become more exciting. In the end you have only one choice, you must reimagine place.

This principle has already guided us in the past: it has turned blank walls into beautiful murals, a downtown street into a giant water slide, a piece of the Cottonwood trail into a whimsical art installation, and an empty lot into a miniature golf course. Now we’re looking to put it at the heart of everything we do. The potential of any place is only limited by one’s willingness to turn challenges into opportunities and to seek partnerships with likeminded individuals and institutions. A vibrant city does not mean you must seek out excitement behind closed doors, it means you cannot escape it.

And in this spirit we decided to redesign our web presence as well. Losing our physical gallery means that we must find a new way to celebrate our local artists. We will be doing so here, with a digital gallery that will allow you into the artists’ work, space, and mindset. We cannot replace the intimacy of engaging with an artist’s work in person, or the communal intimacy of a gallery, but we can provide a specific, intimate portrait of the artist and possibly showcase our artists better than ever before. 

Our work is not fundamentally changing. Our commitment is not weakening. We are growing. Constantly. Sometimes in spurts, sometimes in steps. There is an exciting path ahead of us, and we want you there.

So get ready to reimagine place with us. And maybe, as we reimagine what can happen in specific locations throughout the city we just might reimagine the city itself.