Sticking Together: A Community Tape Art Project

January 25, 2022| tapeart, community, community event, workshops, collaboration

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Tape Art creators Michael Townsend and Leah Smith install a scene outside of FAR. Photo by Jeremy Hogan.

Sticking Together was a week-long Tape Art residency and community art project that took place the first week of September, 2021. Through a series of workshops, public open hours, installations and events, people were able to experience how tape can become a tool for artistic expression, community building and storytelling.

This event was a partnership with IU Corps and the IU Arts and Humanities Council with support from the Bloomington Arts Commission.

What is Tape Art?

The Tape Art movement originated in Providence, Rhode Island in 1989 in the form of large-scale, collaborative drawings created in public spaces. The original Tape Art Crew continues to pioneer and evolve this medium and over the last 30 years they have produced over 500 public works and thousands of smaller drawings in locations around the globe. 

The tape medium has a low bar entrance point — just about anyone can try it, and the payoff is high — participants see their efforts become part of a larger work. This completely removable medium incites curiosity and invites easy participation from a broad range of abilities and backgrounds, and the projects are collaborative by design. You can learn more about the tape artists and their years of experience with public art by visiting their website: tapeart​.com.

IU Corps Workshops

One of our goals for this project was to engage the new students coming to IU and introduce them to local businesses and areas off campus. Through hands-on workshops, these student volunteers from IU Corps learned how to draw with tape and were sent off-site to create murals around the community.

Neighborhood Murals

We also wanted to build excitement around the neighborhood and engage the local community by installing a series of murals that people could enjoy. With the help of the volunteer students, we were able to create murals for Hoosier Workwear, The Bike Shop, Rainbow Bakery, Banneker Center, Wonderlab, Secretly Group, LOTUS Education and Arts Foundation, and My Sports Locker

Youth Workshops and Drop-In Hours

In addition to student workshops, we invited various elementary classes and youth centers to participate in free workshops with the artists. We also had the building open while the tape artists were working for drop-in taping!

Community Events

The week of Tape Art ended with two big community events. At IU’s First Thursday, hundreds of participants worked on life-sized tape figures which were then transported as part of murals on exhibit in the Cook Center and the 505 Theater at FAR. On First Friday, people were able to do the entire Gallery Walk and look for the figure they created on display. Gallery goers could try their hand at Tape Art and add to the work on the walls (or on the floor)!

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Special Thanks to our Partners!

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