Lebanon Valley Council on the Arts (LVCOA) launched its newest outdoor exhibit, Art in the Wild: Connections, on June 4. It’s located along the Veterans’ Memorial Walkway next to the dike for the Quittapahilla Creek, between Ninth St. and 12th St. on the north side of Lebanon, at the site of the former Meadowbank Playground/Park. The exhibit will be on view through Oct. 31.
Featuring the work of six artists, the exhibit is also being called “Connections.” Artists were asked to “consider connections between human and nature, nature with nature, nature to industry, water to land, humanity to industry.”
“Connections are those invisible ligaments that enable disconnected parts to function,” said Sharon Zook, LVCOA’s president. “Through art, we can explore connections, reunite with natural spaces, engage with each other, and affect change that supports the human and natural experience.”
She said the Art in the Wild: Connections exhibit is a follow-up to last year’s successful Fish Out of Water exhibit, which was also staged along the Veterans’ Memorial Walkway. Art in the Wild was inspired by the Art in the Wild installations along the main walking trail at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg. This seasonal art exhibit was launched nearly a decade ago.
“Many of our exhibits during this past year centered on the idea of connections. This is largely due to experiencing the strain that the COVID-19 pandemic put on our connections to each other, our routines, and things that make us feel safe,” said Courtney Reimann, a member of LVCOA’s board who also serves as its secretary. “Part of our mission at the art council is to be the connection between art, artist, and the community. As our community starts to get a sense of returning to normal the art council plans to be there for the Lebanon area helping to re-establish relationships, foster art appreciation, and bring back the celebration of everyday life.”
Artwork for the exhibit is three-dimensional and may be enhanced with existing materials like trees and plants, as well as the use of colors.
Hope Kutenits, one of the six artists, explained that her piece entitled, “We Let It Wither Away” uses “found” items.
“I drove around downtown Lebanon to get inspiration for this exhibit,” Kutenits said. “I was saddened to find that there was a lot of litter; people carelessly toss away items like French fry containers and drink cups. Growing up in Lebanon in the 80s and 90s, it was a beautiful place. But the litter shows that we let it wither away.”
She collected the litter and incorporated it into her artwork. After she collected the litter, she posted photos on her Facebook page of the items she found. “I want to remind people that we need to take care of our city—it shows pride in where we live,” she stated. “I think people must either have noticed me picking up the litter or they saw my Facebook posts, but when I visited the same areas a week or two later, they were pretty clean.”
Both Zook and Reimann have pieces in the Art in the Wild: Connections exhibit. Zook’s piece, “Our Circles,” incorporates hoops in the trees and natural mandala signs, while Reimann’s “Flight” depicts hot air balloons. Students at Lebanon’s Paloma School collaborated on a piece entitled, “Relationships” that incorporates beads, painted tree stumps, and stepping stones.
A map of the Art in the Wild: Connections art installations will be posted on LVCOA’s website and Facebook page.