Time & Place was a temporary public art exhibition that drew inspiration from Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, one of Alexandria’s many historic sites and museums. Via worked with the City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts to conceive Time & Place based on recommendations in the Public Art Implementation Plan, which we authored for the City with Todd W. Bressi. We worked with a stakeholder Task Force to select DC-based artist Sheldon Scott and the Baltimore-based 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.
Scott’s immersive performance artwork and supporting exhibition “The Finest Amenities” used the Tavern’s historical use of ice harvested from the Potomac River as a starting place to examine relationships between race, class, luxury, and consumption. Scott led a procession through Old Town Alexandria with a wheelbarrow of ice with “sirens” to guide the way, ending at the tavern, where he crawled into the assembly room with the block of ice on his back. The ice was chipped off and served in glasses of punch to the participants as Scott remained on his knees.
Adams and Watson created a series of site specific multi-media installations titled “Centennial of the Everyday” that were placed beside historic objects throughout the museum and helped to tell stories of women, enslaved people, and anonymous visitors that are often overshadowed by more famous individuals. They also created 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 Arts’ Public Art Network Year in Review Award for the best projects completed in 2017.