The trees looked as if they had moving parts. And no, I hadn’t had any of the Art City Fizzes offered by Thinking Tree Sprits. Light was being projected in different patterns on the trees and the effects were stunning.
Nothing, not even the trees, was off limits at BEAM, Art City’s show featuring works that use light as a medium downtown on Friday, Sept. 21.
The most outstanding feature of Art City’s third and final Studio Without Walls, and their second event at night, was inclusion.
The atmosphere was so inviting that Eugene resident Andrea Douglass brought her gouache paints, easel and uncle as a model.
“Are you part of Studio Without Walls?” I asked.
She wasn’t, not this time. “I just love the environment here,” she said.
Behind her was Marcos Rockwell from Springfield. He sat at a table by himself and worked on his iPad. Was he one of the artists sponsored by the event? No. He works for Oregon Supported Living Program. His artwork reminded me of Modernist Paul Klee’s work.
“Yeah,” he said. “I like Klee.”
Musician and composer Cullen Vance writes for theater and film. He was playing his live-looping electric violin along with musicians Gordon McFarland and Willie McEachern.
“It’s the first time we’re playing together,” he told the crowd.
This is Art City founder Charly Swing’s goal: to bring people together through art.
Studio Without Walls ran until dark. Then BEAM opened across the street, where a line immediately formed at an artwork that read people’s spectrums. It then exhibited each reading briefly and put them on Instagram.
Sunny Selby’s What Remains stood out at BEAM as a solemn project. It was a memorial to people experiencing homelessness. Viewers were asked to participate by reading names and lighting candles.
Another work, designed in part by Eugene newcomer Agnese Cebere, involved a group following a single dancer or actor with lit cell phones, providing a captivating and unpredictable drama that moved throughout the event.
People danced in front of and behind screens that were lit, animated or interactive. Artists Alexander Wurts and Laura King were surprised at how quickly children got in front of their animated landscape, Moon Flowers, to add their own stories.
Peiyue Lu’s interactive screen reacted to sound and people’s presence in a number of ways. When a loud firetruck passed by, the screen’s grid changed dramatically.
“It’s part of the art,” someone nearby said.
Earthbound Moon had a similar take. It brought an installation of historical landmarks to the Park Blocks titled ADRIFT — not an acronym — and said about the actual moon lighting the newly dark and cloudy sky, “The moon is one of the installations.”
All of the participating artists seemed to have the interface between work and audience foremost on their minds, and it inspired those present to see what was around — whether trees, the moon or themselves — as works of art.