Sunday, November 6, 2016

THE MYTH MAKERS IN MARYLAND: THE MIGHTY MERGANSER


Artists Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein (aka the Myth Makers), will be present in Easton, MD, from October 29 to November 5, 2016, during which time they will build one of their iconic sapling sculptures on the Museum’s grounds. Literally speaking, the bird sculpture will be based on the Hooded Merganser, a bird which is common in Maryland. Figuratively, however, the artists’ intent is to create a bird sculpture which represents a proud monument to independent thinking and bravery, referencing Eastern Shore native Frederick Douglass, who said, “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”

Although monumental in scale, the ephemeral works of the Myth Makers are temporary in nature. Made from natural materials, they are site specific and respond to their local audience. Meaning to last 3 to 5 years, they appear, fade, and disappear, adding a chapter to the life stories in their communities.

The Mighty Merganser bird sculpture will be constructed with the help of many volunteers (see Call for Volunteers). e large sculpture will stand over 16 feet high and ll a generous space in the Museum’s front yard.

Based in Boston, the Myth Makers have worked in Peru, Switzerland, Canada and China. They have shown their monumental sculptures the “Avian Avatars,” on Broadway in New York, NY; Muskegon, MI; New Orleans, and in many museums in New England.

Update: The Star Democrat covered this story on November 2, 2016, "Massive Sculpture has layers of Meaning" by JOSH BOLLINGER. The Talbot Spy covered this story on November 4, 2016, Myth Makers at Work on South Street by Dave Wheelan. Talbot County Office of Tourism covered this story on November 5, 2016, The Myth Makers in Maryland: The Mighty Merganser. Bay Weekly covered this story on November 10, 2016 The Mighty Merganser: This bird is worth a trip to Easton By Sandra Olivetti Martin.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Dance of the Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane Sculpture Graces the Grounds of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

The Dance, a towering sandhill-crane sapling sculpture, recently landed in Wausau Wisconsin. This monumental work of art was created by Boston artists Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, known as The Myth Makers, who build site-specific sculpture from ephemeral materials. For “The Dance,” Dodson and Moerlein were inspired by the way the seasonal migration of sandhill cranes to their Wisconsin nesting grounds marks the passage of time. The Myth Makers worked as artists in residence June 21-25, 2016 to complete this project.



As “The Dance” extended skyward, visitors observed, asked the artists questions, and decorated white, tan, or gray plastic bags, which the artists wove into the sculpture as plumage. The Myth Makers invited visitors to contribute “their own personal meaning and myths, reminding us all of seasonal changes and life’s rhythms” by marking bags to convey special summer family traditions. The Myth Makers’ residency is made possible by a generous contribution from the Genan Foundation.



The Myth Makers’ residency included the following public programs:
-Extra Terrific Toddler Tuesday: Crane Craft & Striking Poses, June 21, 10:30 a.m.-Noon – Little ones, 18 months-4 years, siblings, and accompanying adults sampled art making and movement-themed stations inspired by “The Dance” under construction. They also took in a family yoga session led by a 5 Koshas Yoga and Wellness instructor.



-Monumental Sculpture: From Idea to Execution, Tuesday, June 21, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – As “The Dance” took shape, participants joined The Myth Makers for insights into their site-specific sculpture and a discussion of their creative process. All ages were welcome.



-Making the Myth: Teen/Adult Creative Writing Workshop, Wednesday, June 22, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Dodson and Moerlein led a series of short creative writing exercises, utilizing a range of texts and stories as inspiration. Participants discussed the origins and meanings of diverse cultural myths and create their own stories with guidance from The Myth Makers. Read some of the creative myths.



-Sculpt with Saplings, Thursday, June 23, 4:30-6 p.m. – All ages dropped in to create their own miniature crane sculptures from bendable branches, guided and inspired by Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein.



-Art Beyond Sight, Saturday, June 25, 10:30 a.m.-Noon – Individuals with low-vision or blindness are invited to experience the Museum’s new site-specific avian sculpture through conversation, hands-on investigation, and art making with The Myth Makers and Woodson educators.


The Dance of the Sand-hill Crane is a tango of anticipation and a timeless romance. 
- The Myth Makers, Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein

"When we hear the call of the sand-hill crane we hear the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution. Amid the endless mediocrity of the commonplace, a crane holds a paleontological patent of  nobility."
Aldo Leopold

Update: Laura Schulte, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin covered this story in the Wausau Daily Herald on June 20, 2016, Artists to build live sculpture in Wausau. Becky Meyer covered this story in City Pages: The Wausau Area News and Entertainment Weekly in the June 16-23, 2016 issue, Artists in Residence: The Myth Makers. Laura Schulte, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin covered this story in the Wausau Daily Herald on June 27, 2016, Woodson's newest sculpture rises. The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum created a video of the complete project, The Myth Makers on "The Dance," Jeff Eaton aka Random Button Pusher created an inspiring video on Youtube,"The Dance" at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum."




Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Avian Avatars join Sculpture for New Orleans

THE POYDRAS CORRIDOR SCULPTURE EXHIBITION PRESENTED BY THE HELIS FOUNDATION EXPANDS TOWARDS MID--CITY WITH TWENTY FOOT TALL BIRDS Public art initiative announces the addition of The Myth Makers’ “Avian Avatars” series between South Claiborne and South Galvez.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – May 25, 2016 – On Thursday, June 2nd, The Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition presented by The Helis Foundation, a Sculpture for New Orleans project, will install two new additions to the largest rotating exhibition of public sculpture in the South. Artist collective The Myth Makers’ “Avian Avatars,” a series of five twenty--‐foot tall bird sculptures, will be installed on Poydras Street between S. Claiborne Ave. and S. Galvez St.  All installations are open to media throughout the morning of Thursday, June 2nd with interview opportunities available upon request.

Regarding the expansion of The Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition presented by The Helis Foundation, Sculpture for New Orleans curator Michael Manjarris stated, “What was once an industrial warehouse district is now becoming a world class, open air art museum. We understand how art can invigorate neighborhoods, adding to the quality of life in New Orleans.”

The “Avian Avatars” installation marks the furthest north that the Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition presented by The Helis Foundation has ventured. The “Avian Avatars” are five twenty--‐ foot tall bird sculptures comprised of saplings, wire ties and found objects. The Myth Makers is a Boston--‐based art duo comprised of Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein. Prior to New Orleans, the pieces have spent time on public display in both New York City’s garment district and most recently, Muskegon, Michigan.

The Myth Makers’ note “New Orleans is an iconic North American city with wide variety of cultural roots nestled in a vulnerable environment. Known as a trendsetting art vortex, the city’s rich blend of peoples, music and foods create a gumbo of possibilities.”

About The Avian Avatars

1. The Tourist Poydras Street & S Galvez Street A close relative of the common and often debased downtown pigeon, the Victorian crowned pigeon has recently arrived from far away. Like many who are visiting New Orleans for the first time, this lively bird wants to experience it all. “Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from.” – Malcolm Gladwell

2. The Scold: Poydras Street between S Galvez Street and S Johnson Street A raucous chatterbox who dresses in ever chic, uncompromising artist black, the crow is gregariously gadfly and a peripatetic poet who has an opinion on everything. “I wish to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau

3. The Realist Poydras Street between S Johnson Street and S Prieur Street The most common of raptors, the red tail hawk is a determined competitor. Everyone has a killer instinct, a desire to fly and an ambition to achieve their fifteen minutes of fame. “When it comes to luck, you make your own.” –Bruce Springsteen
4. The Taste Maker Poydras Street between S Prieur Street and Bertrand Street An uncompromising harbinger of taste, the critic is not a populist The falcon is an idealist, a philosopher and an opinionated vocalist with a social vision. The revered place of the falcon in many cultural traditions lends virtue to this sacred avian gathering. “The truth is not for all…but only for those who seek it.” – Ayn Rand

5. The Great Spirit: Poydras Street and Bolivar Street The owl sees it all and embraces both the strengths and weaknesses of humanity. The Great Spirit is an advocate who seeks out the best in each of us. A humble leader and a mystic, the Owl inspires from a spiritual perspective. “Not all of us can do great things, but we can [each] do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa



About The Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition presented by The Helis Foundation The Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition presented by The Helis Foundation is a Sculpture for New Orleans project, which began shortly after Hurricane Katrina by artist and curator Michael Manjarris with the mission of lifting the spirits of the people of New Orleans through public art and to provide local and regional artists the opportunity to show in a public venue. In cooperation with the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and The City of New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways, the Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition was launched in January of 2013 to create the Southeast’s leading rotating exhibition of public sculpture. Since the exhibition’s inception in 2013, 26 sculptures by artists of local and international acclaim have been installed on the Poydras Street between the interstate and Convention Center Blvd. The project is generously underwritten by The Diana Helis Henry and The Adrienne Helis Malvin Art Funds of The Helis Foundation. To learn more, visit the PCSE/SFNO on Facebook and Instagram, or text “poydras” to 56512.

About The Myth Makers The collaboration between Moerlein and Dodson is born from a mutual love of the wild. Moerlein takes inspiration from events in the natural world, which leave visual marks that strike a narrative chord in the artist. Dodson takes inspiration from the mysterious nature of animals that spark her imagination. Although monumental in scale, these ephemeral works are temporary in nature. Made from natural materials, they are site specific, and respond to their local audience. Meaning to only last 3--‐5 years, they appear, fade, ad disappear, adding a chapter to the life stories in their communities.

Update: John D'Addario covered this project for the New Orleans Advocate on June 1st, Check out new 20-foot-tall 'avian avatars' along stretch of Poydras Street in New Orleans. Doug MacCash covered this story for NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune on  June 2nd, Giant bird sculptures land on Poydras Street. Doug MacCash also made this great video of the installation and story of the Avian Avatars. Heather Miller covered this story live on June 2nd for WGNO/ABC TV, Artists create 20-foot-tall ‘Avian Avatars’ for new Mid-City art installation. Jade Cunningham covered this story live for WWL TV/CBS in New Orleans on June 2nd- watch Part 1 and Part 2 online. Wild Bill Wood covered this story on June 7, 2016 for WGNO/ABC TV, Who Wins the husband-wife bird calling contest in downtown New Orleans? Carter Cincore covered this story for Where Y'at Magazine on June 10, 2016, Giant Metal Birds Make a Stand Around New Orleans. Diane Mack featured this story on her podcast "Inside the Arts" on June 21, 2016 ( @ 8-15 minutes approx)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Wildwood Phoenix

The Myth Makers, Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, are pleased to announce the completion of a successful residency in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on April 7-9, 2016. Their recent installation of five monumental  Avian Avatars in Manhattan attracted the attention of Marcy Brenner who serves on the committee of Art in the Wild. She invited The Myth Makers to jury this annual outdoor sculpture exhibition at Wildwood Park, give a public talk, and create a monumental site specific work.


With only two days to build the sculpture, The Myth Makers asked for help. The volunteers at  Wildwood Park gathered over 150 ash saplings for the project. Dodson & Moerlein proposed to build a phoenix. This mythological bird is the most beautiful bird of the forest because its plumage is composed of one feather from each of the other birds. After a sunny first day, it snowed overnight...


Luckily the volunteers came to the rescue one more time. They helped The Myth Makers gather, sort and hang plastic bags of every color onto the sculpture in the freezing, wet, cold weather. It was an inspiring community event that gave meaning to the legend of the phoenix by adding renewed energy to Art in the Wild.


By noon on the second day, The Myth Makers had completed the Wildwood Phoenix. Now they invite the public to take part in their photo contest, "Capture the Myth! A Digital Photo Contest of the Wildwood Phoenix

April 10, 2016 - May 1, 2016

Share your best digital image of the Wildwood Phoenix with your friends, fans of Wildwood, and the Myth Makers, Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein. A Grand Prize of a $50 gift certificate to Passage to India will be awarded to the best image as selected by the Myth Makers!