On Sunday afternoon, I stopped by the Elizabet Ney Museum on East 44th Street to see an outdoor exhibit called BorderǀPromise. In the field behind the museum, artists from San Antonio were creating what they called a “border bandage.” In their words: “Our goal is to help heal the wounds that divisive rhetoric has caused along our borders by offering many visual perspectives from across Texas.” This afternoon event was part of the month-long Print Austin festival.
I spoke with one of the artists, Kim Bishop. Although she grew up in Austin, she has relocated to San Antonio because it’s a cheaper place for artists to live. I asked about her carving process. She explained that creating woodblocks is no harder than drawing, except that you use a carving tool instead of a pencil. (OK…but both seem hard to me.)
The artists had designed and carved the woodblocks beforehand. Using a paint roller, Kim spread black ink evenly across one of the woodblock panels.
Three inked woodblocks were carefully placed inside a plywood frame. A sheet was draped over them and covered by more plywood. When all was in place, spectators were asked to dance on the plywood to create the print.
The sheet-print was then hung along the “border” (clothes line) to dry. Kim said that the white panels had been created by volunteers at a previous event near the US-Mexico border. I can’t say if any wounds created by divisive rhetoric were healed that afternoon. But BorderǀPromise was definitely a creative and unusual community art activity.
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