What Is It?
Textscapes is a community-based public artwork that was collaborated upon
by forty-two participants from the Ithaca New York area representing poets,
artists, seniors, families, youth, and community groups. In the fall of
2002 they created a series of poetic texts inspired by surrealist games
of chance. They printed their poetry large-scale using vintage letterpress
woodtype. From January 23, 2003 to March 28, 2003 the resulting ‘textscape,’
measuring one foot wide and 400 feet long, wrapped the full interior of
the Tompkins County Public Library ten feet above the floor.
In October and November of 2002, public artist Jeff de Castro
conducted six youth, adult, and senior workshops in conjunction with Kathryn
Howd Machan, poet laureate of Tompkins County, other poets, other artists,
and up to 48 community participants. The workshops were free to the public
and limited to eight people each. Participants produced approximately
350 total feet of hand-printed images and two-line poems on 1 x 9 foot
long paper. Each participant was engaged in a group process based on a
surrealist game of chance called “definitions”or “questions
and answers.” The process involved creative word-play and allowed
for surprisingly novel and inspiring results.
After creating the poems in the morning, participants spent
the afternoon with professional printmakers Christa Wolf and Craig Mains
of The Inkshop. Participants used large scale wood type from the Peter
Kahn Collection of type to print their poetry. Each section became a part
of the complete work, “Textscapes.”
Who Was Involved?
Project director Jeff de Castro is a public artist registered on the U.S.
national roster of community-based public artists. He has received grants
and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mid Atlantic
Arts Foundation, and New England Foundation for the Arts for his public
art projects and installations, and he has exhibited nationally and in
the Dominican Republic. Poet Katharyn Howd Machan is the new poet laureate
of Tompkins County. Her poetry has been published as books and in publications
nationally and is the author of a work on poetry and performance. She
was a founder of Ithaca Community Poets. Master printmaker Christa Wolf
has exhibited her prints in Germany and the United States, and is in numerous
collections. Craig Mains has exhibited his prints nationally and locally.
Jeff de Castro, Craig and Christa are artist members of the Inkshop Printmaking
Center in Ithaca, New York. Christa is one of the founders.
Participants include professional poets, artists, families,
community members, and teens including:
Lucy Rose Davidoff
The Learning Web
Eric Machan Howd
The Girl Scouts
Mary Beth O'Connor
This project was funded by the Saltonstall Foundation, and made possible
in part with public funds from the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins
County/NYS Council for the Arts Decentralization Program.
Special thanks to our local donors:
- Dataflow for scaled enlargement and scanning of Textscapes
- Lightlink for hosting this website
- Sheldrake Point Vineyards for providing wine at the opening
- Larry Clarkberg of elucid8design.com
for website design
- Wickes Lumber for donating construction materials
Also thanks to The Learning Web, The Girl Scouts, and The