Among the hubbub of all the other really great FotoFocus-related events going on, on Oct. 6 ArtWorks hosted the public opening of SHINE to visitors outside of downtown’s main branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The video installation projected crowd-sourced images of the setting sun onto the rear wall of a nearby office building. It felt like a gift to the city during its short run, which ended Oct. 12.
As part of filmmaker C. Jacqueline Woods’ SHINE project with ArtWorks’ apprentices, throughout the month of August people were encouraged to tweet, post and upload photos of sunsets on social media with the hashtag #CityShine2016. Investigating an accessible subject (the setting sun) from multiple points of view is a project that not only works aesthetically — what more painterly subject is there than the ubiquitous, ever-changing and looming orb in the sky? — but also works as a conceptual metaphor for the kind of attitude this city (and country) could really use right about now: The ability to find common ground in the things that connect us.
The opening reception drew as diverse a crowd as I saw at any FotoFocus-related program to date. Young apprentices from ArtWorks’ summer projects with their families in tow, the usual cadre of visitors to the fifth busiest library in the nation, FotoFocus attendees, press and participating artists alike were all gathered together in the southeast corner of the library’s courtyard to watch the outdoor projection.
Wood and her ArtWorks’-appointed lead teaching artist, Kailah Ware, both spoke at the reception of the connections made during this project among artists as well as the participants. In so doing, SHINE demonstrated the ability of art to bridge distances both literal and metaphorical. We could use more reminders that, while differences are what make each of us unique, we all share the same sky.
While the public projection of SHINE is no longer on view, a small exhibition pertaining to it will be on display inside the Walnut Street entrance of the Main Library until Oct. 28.