Tuyen Nguyen from Boston, Anna Rose Canzano from Detroit, and Julia Beros from Maryland all traveled to Grand Rapids to assist Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi build their sculpture “Harvest Dome 3.0,” which is installed in the Grand River for ArtPrize 10.
ArtPrize: How did each of you get involved with this project?
Tuyen: We worked on another project in the Bronx, in New York, about 3 months ago.
Anna Rose: We all worked together on a project in the Bronx in July of 2018, called “Finding Tibbetts,” which was a mobile wetland, that we all helped construct. Amanda noticed how we all worked well as a team and brought us back. I was interested in working on the project because I’m from Detroit, that’s where I was going anyways.
What are some of the different roles that you have taken on throughout the project? What’s involved in assisting something like this?
Anna Rose: A lot of small details, a lot of problem solving.
Julia: Various aspects of construction, woodworking, metalworking, anything that has related to the idea of design. But it has to be mended for what she’s making. Instead of constructing a building, everything is a little bit specialized for the design of the art.
What’s been one of the biggest things you’ve learned through the project?
Julia: The difference between an egg and a pumpkin. [Laughs]
Anna Rose: There’s always a fine line between getting the perfect form.
Julia: Patience and communication, I think that’s really important in a project where you have so many design challenges. When you are working in the field too, being able to express your needs throughout the group.
Anna Rose: With a lot of the things we are doing, there isn’t a how to guide you can look up. Like how to weave these seatbelts, how to make them stay up there with a strong fastening. So talking through things, listening to everyone’s ideas, it’s very important.
Have any of you been to ArtPrize before? Or experienced the event?
All: No, none of us!
I guess it’s hard to say now because it [ArtPrize] hasn’t happened yet, but even just being in Grand Rapids, what are your impressions of the city, compared to larger cities like New York, or Detroit?
Julia?: It’s very friendly! I think all of us have noticed that.
Anna Rose?: Yeah, and welcoming. People want to talk, they want to get involved, they want to support you. It’s really, really nice. They want to genuinely support you, it’s not for them.
Are you planning on being here for any of the event or will you be flying home?
Anna Rose: Yeah I will be. I’m excited.
Julia: Maybe if I can make it work, I’m kind of compelled to, it seems like a lot of fun. I’m really enjoying Grand Rapids. I was telling Emily [project manager], it’s a really wonderful place. And there’s such a wonderful art community here too.
It’s really close knit here. It’s easy to slip in and be in the middle of it. Is there anything else unexpected that you came across through your experience working on this project so far?
Julia: Watching the birds catch fish, that’s been great and unexpected.
Tuyen: It’s been amazing working next to the river and to see the ecology around the river, too. We got to visit Lake Michigan awhile ago. It’s amazing to see how the river goes all the way down there. And just watching the flow of this river. And just to be learning more about the city itself to, seeing how the life of everyone is related to this river and the lake in general.
Julia: Especially for a project that will be floating on the river.
Yeah that’s beautiful, it kind of comes full circle.
Julia: We just feel a lot of gratitude for the community. So many people who who have come by and given so much work and assistance with the dome, and Emily who is based here and is an amazing leader for the construction and this whole crew. Yeah back to the whole community of Grand Rapids.
Tuyen: And I think that’s what this project is about, people coming together and working together in order to realize a project. Because when first started we didn’t really know what we were going to have at the end, to be honest. So you have to be an inventor, while being a worker at the same time. That’s something I’ve never experienced in a workplace before. You have to be quick on your toes, but at the same time be very hard working. The project asks a lot from you.