Milkweed Cottage created and drafted a publicity campaign for the outdoor art exhibit in Rochester, NH, entitled “The Mythology of Rochester.” Press releases were written and distributed to the media with six different story lines designed to promote the event and ensure media coverage and public interest for the 8 month project.
The exhibit gained excellent and extended media coverage, and was voted Best of NH 2012: Public Art by NH Magazine.
Here are two press releases from the campaign:
March 15, 2012
Art Esprit Collaborations Bring Creatures to Life for The Mythology of Rochester
A crush of creatures is gathering, and Art Esprit is proud to announce the local artists and writers responsible for their creation. The group continues their popular series of public art exhibitions with a venture into the fantastic in “The Mythology of Rochester.”
“We invited artists to imagine creatures that might have lived in the city, and then to partner with writers to define their mythology,” explains Adam Pearson, president of Art Esprit. As a result, a jury that included noted sculptors Gary Haven Smith and Megan Bogonovich accepted twelve teams to the challenge. “The response is truly delightful and inspired,” Pearson says.
Eight creatures and their myths are the collaborative brainchildren of artist and writer teams: Nate Walker/Rebecca Yanks, Susan Schwake/Grace Larochelle/Chloe Larochelle, Craig Gray/Marta Gray, Elizabeth Helfer/Robin Wilburn/Rebecca Helfer, Michele O’Neil Kincaid/Ross Bachelder, Marilyn Price/Anne Smith/Rose Theriault/Sally Allen/Grace Youngren/Henry Theriault/Kim Theriault, Jocelyn Toffic/Hillary Peatfield, Cynthia Fontneau/Pat Frisella.
Two more are emerging as school-based collaborations; one from Spaulding High School and the other from Rochester Middle School. Members of Art Esprit round out the exhibit with two additional beasts. Writer Joanne Piazzi will then combine the stories and poems inspired by each creature into a complete myth of Rochester which Art Esprit intends to publish into a book along with photos documenting the installed pieces.
Community mask-making workshops this spring and a fundraising duck race on Comic Book Day (May 5th) all lead up to a celebration of the creatures’ release into downtown Rochester on June 2. The celebration will reveal the twelve collaborations and feature an oral performance of the complete myth.
Art Esprit’s 2012 public art exhibition is supported in part by a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts & the National Endowment for the Arts. Gold level sponsors include Albany International, Allstate Insurance, Colonial Hill Care & Rehabilitation, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Profile Bank, and Walmart. Pearson encourages sponsorship from local businesses and supporters. For details on sponsorship opportunities, contact Mary-Jo Monusky at 603-817-8876.
Art Esprit is a nonprofit network of literary and visual artists in the greater Rochester area. Together, they foster appreciation of and participation in the literary and visual arts through installations, exhibitions, readings and educational programs. For more information on Art Esprit, visit their website at www.artesprit.org.
May 18, 2012
Bookworms, gristmillers and a giant ukulele-playing spider are among those set to emerge in The Mythology of Rochester
Creatures are crashing into walls, poking through rooftops, and wriggling out of the library lawn as Art Esprit opens its fantastical public art exhibit. Teams of artists and writers finally reveal what they’ve been concocting behind the scenes in their studios and classrooms for months now.
Join in the Opening Day Celebration on Saturday, June 2, and help launch the lively walking tour of downtown that reveals all twelve creatures and their fascinating stories! Entertainment kicks off the Celebration in Factory Court, 63 North Main Street, at 10:30am with Michael Trautman’s Visual Comedy Show and continues with a Perry Alley Theater Puppet Show.
At noon, a Mythological Mask Parade will wind a loop through downtown lead by pipers and drums. Interested parade creatures can transform themselves at artstream, 56 North Main Street, during a special mask-making workshop starting at 10am and leading up until the parade begins. After returning to Factory Court, the celebration continues with music from the Bradigan Irish Band and ends with the sounds of the Strafford Wind Symphony.
The Mythology of Rochester has been in the works for almost a year. The exhibit’s mythology is based on a mixture of Rochester’s rich history and the things we see today. Take The Littlest Giwakwa, for example. Described by artist Elizabeth Helfer as “humanoid, ravenous, cannibalistic and toothy,” this creature was inspired by a delicious blend of Abenaki folklore and the tasty ice cream found at Sweet Kuppin’ Cakes on Main Street.
Then we find a multitude of minions represented in the Gristmillers. Jocelyn Toffic, the artist behind the Gristmillers, says she created them to “find something positive and hopeful about a town that, like so many New Hampshire towns, has lost a mill leaving economic and ecological waste in it’s wake.” She refers to them as “small and benevolently mischievous.” Writer Hilary Peatfield partnered with Toffic to create their myth:
The Gristmillers lived in the shadows of the gears. They hid in the dark places and slept when it was light, while the workers ran the mills and crafted their wares. At dusk, when the factories fell quiet and the great machines grew still, the Gristmillers crept from their hiding places and moved among the machinery. They nibbled at the grease that coated the cogs, and played in the labyrinths of the great machines. The patter of their feet, the threading of their bodies through the gears and pistons brought the grease to places that even the smallest of the mill workers couldn’t reach.
After the factories closed, the Gristmillers emerged into the city, where they now move among us… most visibly at their new home with Tri-City Bicycles.
At the opposite end of the size spectrum, Spider Folk is a giant collaboration between poet Rebecca Yankes and metal artist Nate Walker. “He might be big,” says Yankes, “but he’s a laid-back guy who just wants to play his ukulele and get along with people.” She calls the towering sculpture an Ambassador Spider. “His appearance is friendly, and his accompanying poem makes it clear that he wants the world to know how great spiders can be.”
Each of the creatures has a different story to tell. “Our inspiration is the mass of pigeons that alight on every rooftop downtown,” says Grace Larochelle, one half of the mother and daughter team presenting a creature in the exhibition. Larochelle writes the myth of the monstrously giant bird painted by her mother, Susan Schwake. “It’s exciting to be a part of something like this because so many people will walk around to see the different sculptures and writings paired together,” Larochelle explains. “I like being a part of something that brings families and friends together walking out and about in downtown Rochester!”
Creatures in The Mythology of Rochester will be around town for a five-month appearance until the exhibit closes November 3rd. For details on the Opening Day Celebration and a map of the walking tour, visit www.artesprit.org.
Art Esprit’s 2012 public art exhibition is supported in part by the City of Rochester and grants from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts & the National Endowment for the Arts. Gold level sponsors include Albany International, Allstate Insurance, Colonial Hill Care & Rehabilitation, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Profile Bank, and Walmart.