Connie Coleman And Alan Powell have been involved in community art project and artists/community collaborations since the 1970’s. Connie Coleman was the Craftsperson -in-Residence for the Rhode Island Council on the Arts from 1975 – 1977. During those years she gave workshops in schools, R.I. Prison system, and in Nursing homes. Making art that reached into marginal communities was a critical part of Coleman’s art practice. Likewise Alan Powell also developed a community outreach and collaboration with communities and other artists as part of the Electron Mover vision. On this site there are a number of links to youtube videos that are documents of these practices.
Spider Web 1977
Connie Coleman, Alan Powell, Randy Harelson
Connie Coleman’s Fiber practice became more and more experimental. Connie explored new materials that she would aquire from government surplus sites, The spider web is based on the Navaho story of the Spider Woman and her spirit that drives Navaho rug weaving. The process is based on a knitting machine structure. Prior to Coleman’s artist in residency she work as a designer in a knitting mill.
WOO WORLD with Woofy Bubbles 1983
Video Documentary about performance artist Christopher Hodges. Coleman and Powell moved to Philadelphia in 1978. Part of their income and art practice was working with other artists as documentary makers or working on collaborative performances or installations. Woofy Bubbles was a major performance artist/ painter/ textile artist in Philadelphia in the 1970’s and 1980’s
Bach Martin Project -1993
The Bache Martin project was a year long project sponsored by the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art with funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation. Coleman and Powell choose to be artists -in- residence in their own neighborhood working with the Bache Martin Elementary School. The collaboration also used the music and compositional skills of Gareth Downs. From Temple University we were assisted by Mike O’Reilly and Michelle Hughes. Connie Coleman had her computer Animation class from University of the Arts animate the drawings from the neighborhood school children. The finished videos and animations were broadcast on WYBE-TV in Philadelphia.
Songs of a Women’s Place 2002
Connie Coleman and Alan Powell were artist-in-residence in a domestic violence shelter in Bucks County , Pennsylvania in 2001. The project was sponsored by the James Michener Museum of Art in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. For six months Coleman and Powell video taped and interviewed the woman and staff who were in residence at the shelter. We used their stories, their children’s drawings and staff recollections to construct a personal image of domestic violence that went beyond the graphic descriptions of violence and abuse. THe project was presented as a room sized projection of these videos.
JAM – Plumbsteadville Grange 2005
The Plumbsteadville Grange was our community home from the late 1990’s until Connie’s passing in 2011. Connie always wanted to live a life style that paralleled her grandmother’s life in Maine. At the Grange Connie was able to join a quilt group and use her design and textile skills to push the group to achieve award winning quilts. There were yearly rituals like making strawberry jam from the excess crop from the Hellerick farm. The text was made by Luray Gross, the Bucks County Poet Laureate. The music was from Rolly Brown, a nationally acclaimed flat picking guitar player.