The Virginia Capital Trail is a car free bike trail that runs from Richmond to Williamsburg, and was the site of an ill-fated art piece during my first semester of grad school at VCU.
Pre-trip thinking everything will be ok.
The plan was to do mono-printed spoke cards with people under the bridge in the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood of Richmond, at the trail head. After that my friend Ryann Giorgi and I would ride the trail, camp, and do the project the next day in Williamsburg.
This was only half successful, as we did the art activity in Richmond with one person because it was abnormally cold that weekend.
The dog was better than the art.
The spoke-cards didn’t look very good, and took forever to dry because it was so cold.
Ryann, brave camera person, had a better attitude at most points.
Riding in the cold, I felt like a bag of lead, doubling socks didn’t work.
We finally made it to our campsite as the sun set, and spent a chilly evening tending to a fire, and lingering in the campsite bathroom because it had heat.
The next day I woke up to stiff, painful knees and after some sulking (me) the decision was made to take a shuttle back to Richmond from the Jamestown Historic Site.
The intended art projects didn’t happen, and my idealistic dreams about how brilliant my community engaged art piece were harshly put into perspective by the forces of nature, and reality.
What came out of the trip was more experience, and a better understanding of the importance of logistics in community based works.
Explained in comic form:
Graeme Sullivan (2005) stated in Art Practice As Research, “Making informed choices about creative ends and means involves selecting, adapting, and constructing ways of working and ways of seeing” (p.179).
This piece was an exercise in adaptation, and failure. Failure isn’t a bad thing, other than hurt pride, it’s where better art comes from, and hopefully next attempt will be better.