Friday, May 6, 2011

America: Now and Here is here now

Posted By on Fri, May 6, 2011 at 4:28 PM

click to enlarge Eric Fischl: the man behind the movement.
  • Eric Fischl: the man behind the movement.

America's unsettled psyche, post-9/11, inspired New York City painter and sculptor Eric Fischl to begin his largest collaborative project to date: America: Now and Here.

"Anxiety was pervasive and toxic. We quit believing in ourselves," he says.

Tonight marks the official opening of the multimillion-dollar, multidisciplinary, community-and-family-friendly show, which brings together poets, musicians, visual artists, playwrights and composers from across the country. Fischl calls it "a creative act that expresses hope."


click to enlarge A scene from "Public Space," a play by Zayd Dohrn, performed by Coleman Crenshaw and Chioma Anyanwu
  • A scene from "Public Space," a play by Zayd Dohrn, performed by Coleman Crenshaw and Chioma Anyanwu

Locals from across the board are involved in this project: visual artists Roger Shimomura and Jimmy Trotter, actress Heidi Van, poets Glenn North and Jose Faus, Avila film professor Benjamin Meade, musicians Barclay Martin, Mark Southerland and Ashley Miller; and slew of others who who hope that their contributions will help the viewers find common ground as Americans.

click to enlarge Stare Decisis by Jimmy Trotter
  • Stare Decisis by Jimmy Trotter

It's all about conversation, Fischl says. Conversation and accessibility. Though the larger-scale vision for the project in 2012 includes a convoy of mobile truck galleries and plans to spread out from the urban core to smaller towns and military bases, the Crossroads is ground zero for ANH in KC (musical work will be presented across the street at the Beggar's Table Church and Gallery and additional visual art and a community photo booth will be at the Third Eye Event Space).

"It flowers from this point," Ford says, when speaking of the inaugural-nature of the KC kickoff.

Lunchtime discussions will kick off next Wednesday, May 11, and run daily through Friday for the three weeks ending on Thursday, May 26. From noon to 2 p.m., participants are encouraged to be a part of community dialogues about subjects like sustainable architecture, art and design in popular culture and creative aging. For those who want a more zen-like participatory experience, there will be Sunday community yoga sessions on May 8, 15 and 22, from 11 a.m. until noon.


For a full schedule of events and list of artists, go to kansascity.americanowandhere.org.


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