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Hope Arthur: Getting to the Core

By Dan Swartz

Fort Wayne Reader


Artists throughout the ages have had to live between extremes in many senses, and social structure is certainly one of the areas where this would be a true case. An artist, no matter what genre or background, must content with isolation and oversaturation — the silence of the studio and the pulsating sound and heat of the crowd. To not be able to cope with both situations, using some strategy to get through them, a creative person cannot pursue to the lifestyle of the artist.

The idea of the collaborative creation of art is one of the areas which sees little attention. Not that collaborative work and practices are a new thing, or something that is in itself rare, but it rarely receives the attention it deserves given the rich value it produces. Local singer/songwriter Hope Arthur is attempting to challenge this reality with her new project, “The Core”. “The Core” is the result of Arthur’s taking an entrepreneurship in the arts class at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne’s School of Visual Arts.

“The Core” stands for “Cultivating Oneness Reinventing Expression”. Its mission is “to be an interactive art installation that opens up conversation about what all human beings have in common; to challenge each other and help each other grow through meaningful collaborations; to strive to understand and express the core of humanity”. While this goal is quite lofty, Arthur and her collaborators have been making strides in accomplishing it. When discussing the project, Arthur says, “A year ago I promised myself that if I had an artistic idea I wouldn’t be afraid of it. I had a lot of ideas and I realized that I needed to do them to discover why they made sense to me. I hope that this is something that will unify our arts community and eventually our entire community.”

Hope Arthur is currently in residence at Wunderkammer Company to produce the plans for this project and to enlist the aid of the creative community, asking for participation and feedback. This residence will run through late June, and will ultimately result with a core concept and strategic plan for “The Core” as well as an artist and audience tested prototype.

As part of making this work collaborative, Arthur has reached out to local visual artists Jeremy Stroup and Gregor Roth for assistance with the visual structure of “The Core” in addition to the architectural plans which turn the work into a large sculptural experience. Stroup’s drawings are hung in the workshop residence which Arthur and partners are currently in at Wunderkammer Company. These drawings and sculptural maquettes span everything from Bauhaus-esque modernist residences to undersea coral structures and insect colonies. Gregor Roth’s additions to the project are due to Arthur’s asking him to do so, as well as being interested in the larger arts community as working together more which he finds frustrating. Arthur adds, ““The Core” is not only about promoting more collaboration within the arts but about translation. Getting more artists to explain and translate their work between one another to deconstruct Fort Wayne’s segmentation and social cliques. Roth adds further, “Even among artists, we are fragmented and we need to explain our works more and more effectively between ourselves so that we can then communicate with our audiences better.”

Arthur’s project harkens back to the days of the Black Mountain College experiments with the arts which produced some of modernism’s greatest minds and careers. In its time, Black Mountain represented a space where artists were able to create without boundaries and to bring new ideas into the forefront. This concept of collaboratively producing art is not knew to Fort Wayne either, as groups like the E4 Collective and others worked together to reach wider audiences and produce stronger work. However, Arthur’s project is unique in that it reaches out past the false boundaries between artistic forms like “dancers”, “actors”, “architects”, and “musicians”, drawing them all together to add their unique knowledge and practices to build a stronger whole. Ultimately that stronger whole is taking the form of a tower like structure which can act as architecture, sculpture, and stage, sometimes simultaneously. “The Core” then allows the performative artists to explore its edges, surfaces, and elevations to find ways to reach their audience, and because a space of installation for visual artists to adorn and strip in a variety of ways giving that audience a new visual experience. Ultimately this project produces hundreds of collisions among and between its collaborators and audiences to produce something truly unique. The future of “The Core” will, in the short term, be the continuation of this prototyping the structure so that there is, potentially, a permanent structure of “The Core” where people can program the public space, as well as a temporary installation of “The Core” which can travel with her and her collaborators to bring this experience to others. Arthur continues to look for further collaborators with this project as well, and encourages people of all walks of life to participate.

Thankfully, Fort Wayne’s arts scene includes projects like “The Core” which provide a constant engine of creation, inspiring new groups of artist to pursue more absurd and beautiful projects, continuing the march to an even stronger community. With the onset of new artistic spaces to produce work in, and new creative generations of students at the entry point to our community as well as newly inspired more mature people pursuing the arts, it is an interesting and exciting point in the growth of our arts community.

For More Information:
“The Core”

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.