Dublin Arts Council tour is also part scavenger hunt

SARAH SOLE
ThisWeekNEWS.com
Dennis Deane takes a cache from a turtle created by his wife, artist Margaret McAdams, who was installing new works in Scioto Park in Dublin on Sept. 16.

What does an arts organization do when a global pandemic makes gathering to celebrate art a challenge?

It capitalizes on a scavenger hunt of sorts.

The Dublin Arts Council on Sept. 26 is launching a self-guided public-art tour featuring 16 new artworks in nine Dublin parks linked to the Riverbox installations along the Scioto River.

Executive director David Guion said the idea was born out of the realization the council's planned activities to celebrate the 30th anniversary of "Leatherlips," a 12-foot high sculpture of Wyandot Native American Chief Leatherlips created by Ralph Helmick and installed in Scioto Park in 1990, was not going to occur during the pandemic because of health safety reasons.

"Covid changed a lot of programming at the arts council," Guion said.

Instead, the council decided to capitalize on self-guided activities people can do at their own pace and comfort level while adhering to social distancing, he said.

The Riverbox program began in 2007 as an initiative to raise awareness of the environment and respond to Dublin residents' desire for access to the Scioto River, Guion said. The arts council's response was an artistic one.

The Riverboxes are vessels made of a variety of materials, large enough to contain an ink pad stamp and a journal, Guion said. The idea is that people can find the boxes, open them up, stamp the journal and write a note.

Now the council is returning to the Riverboxes for its latest project during the pandemic.

The council began installing the new artwork beginning the week of Sept. 14, and it will be on view through the end of the year.

Janet Cooper, the arts council's director of engagement, said 11 of the artists involved in the new installations are artists who created the original river boxes -- creating new art responding to their previous pieces. Five other artists are creating art responding to a Riverbox that another artist had created, she said.

Margaret McAdams, a Ross County resident, created the "Big Turtle" Riverbox after being inspired be an Iroquois creation myth in which the world is built upon a turtle's back.

For the council's latest initiative, McAdams created two related ceramic pieces, like the original turtle.

The new pieces also were inspired by a creation myth, she said.

Guion said booklets with space for drawing and writing about the art will be available on the Dublin Arts Council website at dublinarts.org/featured-items/connect and in "ARTboxes" located in different locations across Dublin.

The booklets also will contain location clues for the artwork.

After people fill the booklets with responses to each installation, they can bring the completed booklets to the arts council, he said.

"It's really a public art challenge," he said.

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