April 3, 2009
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
Artist, students, residents paint the town with purpose
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Edward Grout, an award-winning artist and teacher for more than 35 years, will lead a public mural project as part of Slippery Rock University's Kaleidoscope arts festival. The project aims to do more than just beautify a building in town.
"It's a way for people of all age groups to come together, learn, teach and have a total experience through the creative process," Grout said. "The mural is an exercise in consensus building, because I am going to work and collaborate with members of the community. It's not just me coming up with a design."
Grout said SRU and local high school students and community residents are invited to participate. They will work on the 20-by-10-foot mosaic mural in SRU's Art Building 3 throughout the April 15-26 festival. Once completed, the mural will be hung on the west side of SRU's Center for Lifelong and Community Learning building on Elm Street.
"We wanted to do an artist and community project where a work of art would be created a permanently placed in the town of Slippery Rock," said Nora Ambrosio, professor of dance and chairperson of the arts festival. "When I saw Ed Grout's work with mosaic murals and discussed some ideas with him, I knew he would be the perfect artist for this project."
Grout, owner and operator of an art and glass studio since 1988, was named Erie Artist of the Year in 2005 and has won several awards for his fine arts. He is experienced with mold making, sand molds, plaster casts, ceramic shells and the lost wax process. He has more than 30 years experience in all phases of glasswork and glass restoration, including hot glass, fusing and kiln forming and does residencies at high schools and colleges nationwide.
Grout said the Slippery Rock mural would include various materials such as tile, glass and stone. A theme has yet to be determined because Grout wants input from community participants. "We're not just going out and slapping paint; we're actually building a structure," he said.
Grout encouraged those who don't think they have an artistic streak to get involved.
"Everyone that's not into art has a hesitancy to stay out of the creative process," he said, "but this is a way to break through that and come and discover your artistic talent."
He insisted he has no preconceived concepts for a theme.
"With a community like Slippery Rock, what I find exciting is there will be different age groups getting together to work on the mural, from seniors to college and high school students," Grout said. "The gamut is there, so I am hoping it becomes a legacy piece."
Ruth Hoffman, executive director of SRU's Institute for Learning in Retirement, which is located at the center, said she has invited those involved with classes to participate in the mural project.
"As for design, we were thinking about things that identify with Slippery Rock and the name, but we have no idea what that could be," she said.
Kaleidoscope offers a rich and diverse assortment of artists, such as hip-hop sensation Emmanuel Jal, the Taiko Drummers and musical and theatre performances by SRU students.
Children's Day April 18 will offer Two of a Kind, a singing duo known for interactive performances of folk music, and a colorful swath of other activities. "Kaleidoscope on Main," featuring bands and local art vendors, is April 25.
Parking is free, as are many of the events. The full schedule of events is available http://kaleidoscope.sru.edu/
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their live.