Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Birthday Art Project - July 18th - dawn

Photo by: Jacqueline Biggs
"Chalking is a spontaneous act of beauty."  - sidewalk artist, Norah Dooley

To celebrate her 60th birthday, on Thursday July 18 from 4-8am, Brookline artist Norah Dooley will execute an  art project in chalk on the sidewalks of Coolidge Corner. She says her work will be " A poor girl's Jenny Holzer."  Holzer is an American conceptual artist who is mostly known for her large-scale public displays of provocative words, mantras and ideas. Dooley's work is much smaller in scale and will feature small colorful mandalas and the sayings of dead and live presidents on the sidewalk. Dooley has executed similar works in the past in Central Square, Cambridge and Athol, MA.

"Like sand paintings, sunsets and other natural ancient forms, the art is meant to be temporary and, like life itself, fleeting" said Dooley.
The Town of Brookline initially refused Dooley permission. But with the help of ace First Amendment lawyer Michael Anderson, Dooley eventually convinced Town officials that she has a right to peaceful expression on the sidewalk. “The Town of Brookline allows commercial newspapers to put large newsracks on the Coolidge Corner sidewalks. If the Boston Herald gets to occupy public space to sell its point of view, then the Town cannot constitutionally prohibit me from expressing mine in washable chalk,” said Dooley. There has been much civil rights litigation over protest chalk drawing in the wake of the Occupy movement, from San Diego (where a jury acquitted a chalk artist of thirteen criminal counts) to Flint, Michigan to Orlando. “I am glad that the Town officials acted responsibly to recognize my free speech rights, rather than requiring us to go to court.”  

Below are the words she chose. They will be bracketed with mandalas - one will have in a circle of words  around it  -  "If you see something, say something." The other mandala will have just one  word : either " racism" or "poverty" or "injustice" or  "violence "

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
Abraham Lincoln

A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

"A society's soul is most  keenly revealed in the way it treats its children."
Nelson Mandela

She says she is not sure about this last one.... "I may just add it as my signature!"

"...if I did not laugh, I should die."
Abraham Lincoln

What is this all about, really? The artist shrugged and said... " I like to add  beauty to disused public spaces and I have a friend who says 'Free speech isn't free if you do not use it.' Two birds with one stone?"