Time & Place Exhibition, Alexandria, VA

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Time & Place Exhibition

Client: City of Alexandria Public Art Program
Location: Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Alexandria, VA
Selected Artists: Sheldon Scott, Lauren F. Adams and Stewart Watson

Pictured Above: Time & Place Exhibition, 2017. Photos courtesy of City of Alexandria. 


Growing out of a recommendation in the Public Art Implementation Plan, which Via authored for the City of Alexandria with Todd W. Bressi, Via worked with the City of Alexandria to conceive Time & Place, a series of periodic exhibitions of temporary public art located in the city’s historic sites and museums and to curate the initial exhibition at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.


Via worked with a stakeholder Task Force to select DC-based artist Sheldon Scott and the Baltimore-based artist team of Lauren F. Adams and Stewart Watson to create research-based, thought-provoking temporary public artworks that foster exploration and dialogue about issues related to Gadsby’s Tavern and Alexandria’s rich history. Via helped produce the exhibition and developed collateral and marketing materials, as well.


Sheldon Scott created an immersive performance artwork and supporting exhibition of photographs and materials from the performance. Using the history of the harvesting of ice from the Potomac River and the storage and use of ice at Gadsby’s as a starting point, Scott’s work “examines the relationships between race, class, environment, luxury, and consumption by interrogating the process related to the use of Gadsby’s ice well.” Scott led a procession through Old Town with a wheelbarrow of ice with “sirens” to guide the way, ending up at the tavern where he placed the block of ice on his back and crawled into the tavern’s assembly room where the ice was chipped off and served in glasses of punch to the participants as Scott remained on his knees.


Through their research, Stewart Watson and Lauren Adams created a series of site specific multi-media installations titled “Centennial of the Everyday”. They created artworks that were placed beside the historic objects throughout the museum and helped to tell the stories of women, enslaved people, and anonymous visitors whose stories are often overshadowed by the more historically famous individuals that are the typical focus of museum tours. Adams and Watson also created various social media platforms to engage the broader community helping to connect history and contemporary art.


“The Finest Amenities” and “Centennial of the Everyday” both won the Americans for the Art’s Public Art Network Year in Review Award for the best projects completed in 2017.