Public Art in Focus Workshops with Helen Seebold
By: Jessica Patrick
Cary Visual Art is excited to announce our new series of workshops featuring local artist Helen Seebold! With Helen’s help, CVA recently hosted bottle painting workshops at Sunrise Senior Living and at Pathways for People, both located in Cary. The workshops engaged participants in a large scale community art project while promoting high spirits, art interaction, and fellowship.
Message in a Bottle
Helen’s methodology is simple—she “pops up” at various locations with paintbrushes, acrylic paint, and miniature glass bottles in hand. Anyone and everyone is invited to paint a bottle and, if they desire, write a message on a small slip of paper to place inside their creation. Some of the painters prefer to keep their bottles, but most of the finished pieces are given back to Helen for use in her public art installations. The finished installations are striking displays of bottles stacked upon bottles to form one large art project called “Message in a Bottle.”
“Message in a Bottle” has fostered community togetherness in many ways. The project itself demonstrates how the work of many individuals combines to make one influential piece. Additionally, the project’s simple process of painting a bottle and writing a message encourages large numbers of community members to participate in the activity. The characteristics of this project make “Message in a Bottle”—and Helen—the perfect addition to CVA’s Public Art in Focus community outreach programs.
Cary Visual Art Workshops
Helen’s first workshop was held at Sunrise Senior Living of Cary on June 20th. With the help of Sunrise staff and CVA volunteers, Helen guided residents in painting their own bottles. By getting to talk with the artist and see a slideshow, the senior citizens learned about Helen’s public art installations as well as some interesting facts about her previous exhibits, how “Message in a Bottle” got started, and about just how many bottles she has used so far! The craft proved to be a great activity for the residents--one participant kept exclaiming “Thank you” as she painted her bottle, and another talked about his love of boats. Staying true to her project’s purpose, Helen scribbled each resident’s words down on a scrap of paper to place in their corresponding bottles.
Helen and CVA hosted two additional workshops at Pathways for People on July 22nd and 23rd. Pathways for People hosts a day program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities where they can participate in programs and workshops like Helen’s. Similar to the Sunrise workshop, participants at Pathways for People were able to both learn about and engage with an exciting community art project. These workshops served a dual purpose, as they benefited both the artist and the attendees.
Cary Visual Art would like to thank Helen and the staff members at Sunrise and Pathways for People for making these workshops possible. The foundation of public art rests upon its ability to be shared and enjoyed by the entire community, and the PAF workshops assist CVA in carrying forth that mission.