The Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce named Robert R. Norman and Jeremy Mason McGraw Artist of the Year for 2013 at their annual Awards Banquet this November.
The artists' work with the Creative Energy Project this spring led to the creation of the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce Sphere, a community sculpture that involved over 600 volunteers and months of preparation, and was installed in Basin Park during the 26th Annual May Festival of the Arts in 2013. The huge success of the Sphere project was integral to the artists receiving the award.
Sincere thanks to the Chamber and the City of Eureka Springs for recognizing this achievement!
It was a beautiful day for art on sunny Walker Landing this Saturday, September 21. Guests of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art were excited to contribute to a sculpture by artist Robert R. Norman, Sphere
XOX, which was installed later in the evening near Leo Villareal’s Buckyball sculpture where it will remain on display through September 29. Signature to his style, Norman transformed ordinary sticks into an illuminated masterpiece that awed the crowd.
The creation of the sculpture was motivated by the desire to bring people together, to give them the opportunity to create a unique part of a structure representing our connection to each other and the whole. Making an indelible mark on something beautiful is truly a joy that spans age, gender, or race. The genuine smile that it brought to each person was an amazing thing to witness. The inner artist was given voice and a place of glory on the Sphere; who knows where that inspiration will take them?
Many of those who contributed to the making of the Sphere, which was completed by the artist while interacting with the crowed during the day, came back to see it installed that evening during the Light Night party. The completed work created a frenzy of excitement as it spun and danced, alive with a full spectrum of color from LED and black lights interacting with its ultraviolet paints. The surprise at the transformation was evident in the crowd, as was the connection each person felt to the piece through their own handiwork. The gathering around Sphere XOX felt truly like a spontaneous community had been created.
Robert R. Norman’s design of Sphere XOX is similar to his other work in that the structure is built with sticks and branches that would otherwise be chipped or burned. In this case, they were collected from the grounds at the museum, and therefore returned to their place of origin once the sculpture was installed. The completed work thus speaks to honoring the cycles of Nature and being respectful in our interactions with the natural world. The artist and his team would like to thank Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art for helping give voice and place to this vision.
Building Sphere has been a truly community-enriching experience. We've attended dozens of gatherings, large and small, to collect and paint sticks and share our excitement about Sphere and what it means to us and our community. That excitement has been captured in a series of short films by the Creative Energy Project that chronicle this story. We were so fortunate to work with the brilliant directorship of Jeremy Mason McGraw and cinematic excellence of Joseph Hitchcock, who have made the project come alive in film.
Suzanne Norman is Robert's wife, writing to keep his fans updated and give them the inside story on Robert's work.