Monday, October 31, 2011

Chairs and stares in Manitou Springs

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Even three weeks later, it’s too early to say whether the Manitou Chair Project was a financial success. (You can find some details about "chair money," and other financial angles of the art installation, here.)

But organizer Sean O’Meallie has high hopes. And most everyone associated with the project has good and unusual memories.

Everything in its right place.

See, when O’Meallie explained what was going to happen Oct. 9, he left out a few minor details. Yes, on that morning he actually did line up nearly a thousand chairs from Tubby’s Turnaround to the Business of Art Center in Manitou. Yes, he did proceed to take pictures of the empty chairs on an absolutely beautiful Sunday morning. And, yes, he did allow the chairs’ owners to sit in the chairs for some pictures, as well.

All of that is true. But what he failed to explain was that the chairs would only be part of the spectacle.

People sang opera from open windows. A puppet parade threaded its way among the chairs, and a one-man band delighted onlookers. There was even chair yoga and a mob dance.

About 500 people attended the event, including Colorado Springs artist Juel Grant. “The morning was perfect," Grant said. "You couldn’t ask for a better setup, and the event was awesome.”

O'Meallie is working on the images, documenting the event, and there’s a cool video in the works, too.

“It’s still going, and still growing,” he says.

At 6/10ths of a mile, O’Meallie feels sure the Chair Project was the largest single installation ever in the area. But he hopes his project isn't the last installation of its kind; in fact, he'd like it if the Chair Project was just the beginning.

"This has the potential to show us that large scale art is all around us," he says. Using Manitou as a townscape, he sees nothing but potential art.

Where do we go from here?

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