Well, Phase 1 of this project, the collection phase, is over. I've filled three galon jars with pennies and other coins. I've spent a good deal of time thinking about the art piece I will create from them and who or what I'd like to see benefit from the project. And I've learned a lot:
I've learned that things don't always go as you envisioned they might. I was hoping for, and maybe expecting, a lot more community participation on the blog. I got a lot of buzz initially, but it didn't really go anywhere. People participated by adding their pennies, but were not as interested as I thought they might be in helping to plan the piece.
I've learned that I'm not a very good blogger, or perhaps I've learned that once you've described a project and asked people to participate, there's not much to do or say unless they do.
I've learned that I'd rather throw 100 of my own pennies into the jar than ask 100 strangers for theirs. I've had signs up at all the shows, and I've asked people who I noticed were reading them, but sometimes it was just too crowded, sometimes, I got "move on" vibes from people, and sometimes I just didn't bother.
I've learned that a lot of people don't carry change.
I've learned a lot about patience. At first it was tough not to plan out the whole project, art piece and all, right from the get-go. But I was determined to seek input (if not actually receive it) and to let the ideas percolate for a while without acting upon them, and to not make any decisions until this next phase, the design/construction phase.
It was very interesting to watch people read the signs and info about the project and to see their reactions. Some averted their eyes and quickly moved away... you'd think I was asking for hundred dollar bills! Some got excited and rummaged around their purses/pockets for pennies to contribute.... and then nudged their friends to contribute also. Some were very excited... especially people from out of state who wanted their (insert state name here) pennies to be incuded in the piece. Some gave dollars (one such person first interrogated me to make sure I would convert the bill to pennies and use it for the project... such is the reputation of starving artists, I guess). Many took the information about the blog, but few ever got on to give their suggestions. Most wished me luck with the project and thought it was a good idea. Some thought it was brilliant.
I've learned that it is comforting, in a way, to have a visual representation of the appreciation people have for your art. I like looking at all those pennies!
I've learned that I enjoy taking on challenges. Most of the ideas I have for the art piece will involve me stretching and growing and learning new art forms and techniques.
I've learned that I have the capacity to stick with a long-term project and stay committed, even when I don't perceive any interest from others. It would have been easy to abandon this idea, but I'm going to see it through. To everyone who contributed: your pennies WILL end up in a work of art. What that work will be? I guess I'm going to have to decide now. Whether the community will want to get involved in helping to create it? I guess we'll soon find out. What will happen to that work of art? I don't know. That may be Phase 3, the displaying/donating/selling phase.
So now I'll be trying to get other artists involved with the design phase, and the community involved with the construction phase. I'll continue to blog as progress occurs. If you are interested in helping with any part of this project, leave a comment here. I look forward to hearing from you!