McDonald’s of the Tri-State Awards Charleston Area Alliance Community Grant
The Charleston Area Alliance is the proud recipient of the 2017 McDonalds of the Tri-State community grant for its community art project: a Painting by the Community, by the Community.
The Alliance commissioned Jack O’Hearn, a Charleston-based artist who focuses on interactive installation art, to engage the community for the large-scale painting.
During Downtown Streetfest block parties throughout the summer, O’Hearn created a study room installation along Capitol Street. The vignette featured a filing cabinet, a large-format memo board, a curated rug and vintage desks accented with paper and pens. As block party attendees stopped to admire the installation, they were asked to sketch out a drawing based on their meaning of community.
Using stencils, stamps, rulers and reference books O’Hearn collected nearly 100 pictures and diagrams illustrating community members’ perspective of and hopes for the Kanawha Valley. He is using the collected drawings to create the Painting by the Community, by the Community. All of the contributors will be able to find their drawings in the painting and see how O’Hearn interpreted them.
The goal of the community art project is to illuminate unique perspectives and inspire thought and conversation around the concept of community, while empowering individuals to help create the canvas.
Once complete, the painting will be displayed in public spaces throughout downtown Charleston and at Charleston Area Alliance special events. It will also include a placard featuring the names of those who participated in creating the piece. The painting will be unveiled in November 2017.
In addition to the funds provided by the McDonald’s of the Tri-State, the community art project is also supported by a West Virginia Participation grant and an America’s Best Communities grant.
O’Hearn is a Charleston-based freelance artist and designer that partners with organizations and businesses on unique projects designed to benefit local communities. Most recently, he completed the Mountainscape Fence Weave Project on the U.S. Post Office chain-link fence along Leon Sullivan Way for the Alliance.
He transformed the fencing, weaving in plastic slats to create a landscape of mountains and clouds. The fence weave project is between Lee and Washington Street. The goal of the project was to bring energy and life into the community’s public space, which serves as a gateway into the city for those entering the city from Interstate 64.
O’Hearn has embarked on several other placemaking projects for the Alliance over the past six months, aiming to foster the community’s sense of pride and ownership in public spaces. Projects include the Rainworks Project, which included sidewalk art throughout downtown Charleston that only appeared when the pavement was wet, and the Trash Receptacle Project, designing and creating artistic wraps to cover the City of Charleston’s trash barrels used at event such as Downtown Streetfest, Live on the Levee and FestivALL.