Allow me to introduce myself...
January 21, 2007

I am Tara, and I'd rather not be thought of as a "blogger." Consider me a liaison. A portal, if you will, the means by which you can receive information concerning the day-to-day happenings of the Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry seminar “One Small Project: Seeking Relevance in the Lives of Leftover People,” hereafter referred to as “us,” “we,” or perhaps even “our seminar.”

A brief synopsis: As the seminar (and blog) title suggests, the thirteen Ball State students participating in One Small Project will spend the Spring Semester of 2007 considering the lives of leftover people and spaces. Our study will culminate with an installation at the Dean Johnson Gallery on Mass Ave in Indianapolis. For a better idea of exactly what we are doing take a look at our about section.

It has taken a couple of weeks to get this site up and running, so I'll provide the highlights.

Week One: A lot of housekeeping, dividing of tasks. We also spent some time acclimating ourselves to the Kitselman mansion (where we work) and looked at some interesting, relevant literature by Mike Davis and Robert Neuwirth. The highlight of the week was our first trip out of Muncie, into Indianapolis.            

We left early Friday for Second Helpings, a four-part non-profit organization. They rescue food (about seven million pounds a year), cook for various shelters, day cares and schools around Indy, provide a free culinary school for disadvantaged adults, and run a catering business. I spent the morning washing potatoes.

After a tasty lunch provided by the culinary students at Second Helpings we took time to explore the Indianapolis Museum of Art. We had about an hour to look around (and adjust from the loud, cramped, stainless steel kitchen at Second Helpings to the vast and relatively empty halls of the IMA) before meeting Phillip in Star Studio, a narrow room with a small workspace at one end. He gave us a lot of information and good ideas, and I think we were eager to get to the Dean Johnson Gallery to see how we could implement them.

Conveniently, Dean Johnson was our final stop for the day. People almost immediately began throwing out ideas. Mona and I talked about how easy it would be to hang things from the ceiling. Nicole mentioned how much possibility lies within the small back room, and Matt wondered if we could use the restrooms in display.

Week Two:  This week we continued the push toward April’s opening. We made shoebox models of the gallery, and on Thursday took our second trip, this time to Ft. Wayne.

Our first stop in Ft. Wayne was OmniSource , a metals recycling facility. After a brief presentation about their operations, we were given a tour through the facilities. It was like a scrap metal safari. Through the windows in our vans we saw cars…then we saw car bits pressed into steel cubes. Bre observed, and I think we all agree, "that there was something sort of beautiful about the huge piles of metal neatly littering the property." There’s no reason to describe further, since we got so many good photos.

The second and final stop for the afternoon was Morrison Katman Menze architecture firm, where we met Zach and Andy (Ball State alums) to talk about their pet project, a societal think tank called AB 417.  They told us that they could not sum up what they do in a sentence, so I won’t either. Just take a look at the link, and know that AB417 is an atypical kind of project for a mid-sized midwestern city like Ft. Wayne.

And that is the first two weeks. Expect something shorter in the future,



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Allow me to...
January 21, 2007