A community based art project managed by The Community Engagement Through the Arts Class, 1000 Dolls sought to creatively engage neighbors in doll-making and dispersing their creations to bring playful art into unexpected places.
I had the pleasure of working with the 1000 dolls project as a contributing artist and community collaborator as I audited this course taught at Transylvania University by Kurt Gohde & Kremena Todorova. It was my first experience with a collaborative project that dealt with fine art objects and the process of creative disruption.
Here are some of the words I shared as I went through the experience of CETA:
“The thought of 1,000 dolls conjures up images of a whimsical childhood adventure or a collector’s expansive horde of action figures, but a good imagination can think up a wilder dream. Two professors, Kremena Todorova and Kurt Gohde, inspired by local artist and doll maker, Ed Franklin, set out to invade the North Limestone corridor with 1,000 dolls made for Lexingtonians by Lexingtonians. Their colleagues, a group of students from Transylvania University, are reaching out to north Lexington residents and hosting a series of doll-crafting workshops to inspire the necessary multitude of doll makers. Each doll will be displayed and, then, given away as part of this collaborative art endeavor.
Their project is as much social as it is creative. Yesterday, as I watched students sit by community members young and old while working on the first 100 paper dolls destined to become wooden figurines, I could see both artistic and social outcomes emerging from the shared work of doll-making. As stated on the Community Engagement Through the Arts blog, “The goal of this class is to form a relationship with the community by engaging in artistic projects with the community. The outcome of this will manifest itself in many ways, some recognizable and others not so much.”
The truth is, there is no way to predict how the 1000 Dolls project shaped our neighborhood, the students participating in the class, or the residents who live in the neighborhood day in and day out, but I believe in supporting and encouraging the creation of small things with great love.
Funded by Transylvania University and in collaboration with The Community Engagement Through the Arts Class. Owl photograph by Kurt Gohde & Kremena Todorova.