Monday, May 24, 2010

Hawk on Havel

Hawk on top of work by Joe Havel, May 2010.
all photos, unless otherwise noted, are by the author.

One of the dilemmas we've debated at Laumeier is how to explain to the public that a bird can sit on a sculpture, but they can't. Since scolding doesn't seem to work, what new language do we use to get dog-walkers and babysitters not to damage the art?

detail of Laumeier's new limited edition t-shirt.

My initial idea of a t-shirt that said "you break it, you buy it" didn't fly with staff, so we modified our ideas and are just coming out with our first limited edition t-shirt (check our website soon to order yours!)

To address this issue of art safety (damage to surfaces, breaking parts) and public (falling off tall objects, breaking bones) safety, and the needs for interpreting the collection and why we exist, we've just finished Phase I of our Wayfinding Iniative.

This has been an incredibly fast-paced program, spear-headed by Mike Venso, Laumeier's pr and marketing director, who wrote his UMSL exit paper on Wayfinding at Laumeier. But the program never would have happened without good friend Patrick Castro, of LP/w Design Studios, Milwaukee, who offered his amazing design talents to help us communicate directly to our public.

Wayfinding kiosk. photo by Mike Venso.

In the four sides of the kiosks, we have written to "Place" (above); "Welcome", which talks about our supporters and how we got here; "Respect", or why we ask you not to touch; and "Explore", where you find a nice big map for orientation. The kiosks have been an incredible change in how audiences can use the park.

We are gearing up to complete the blind maquettes (with support from Lighthouse for the Blind), and will shortly begin working on a narrative arc for the park.

This will take time, but in the meantime, that hawk and its mate have great perches on top of our art!