Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Audacity of Play

Urban ReThink is about Collaboration, Creativity and Transformation. Nothing exemplifies these principles better than the playful mural titled GoogliAnn and the Audacity of Play. now adorning a wall near the Spork Happy Food Cafe. Artist Graci
Ann Spath’s Self-Portrait explores the construction of self within the context of elementary society. Completed in September 2011, just prior to her 5th birthday, Spath offered the work as a gift to her uncle, Urban ReThink's Founding Director, Darren McDaniel. McDaniel imagined the piece in giant format on the Urban ReThink wall and, in particular, the reaction it might trigger in his niece. Yet, upon seeing his first Photoshopped rendering, Spath quickly dismissed its authenticity. “It’s not real.”

McDaniel held fast to his vision of the giant googly-eyed girl on the wall. In the weeks that followed, he came to see the possibility of the piece as a perfect complement to the Urban ReThink environment—a constant reminder of the spirit of play and possibility, bringing together collaborators from multiple disciplines, not to mention generations.

The Audacity of Play is a 10'x10' expression of the piece created by Orlando artist, Carolyn Schultz. The larger-than-life mural features functional googly eyes concocted by Urban ReThink resident creative, Kathryn Neel, and empowered by Zach from Hicks Electric. The small crayon drawing by GraciAnn is on display on a small pedestal in front of the mural. A remote control inflated fish floated through the room.

I went to the unveiling of the mural. This was to the the first time GraciAnn saw her small creation blown up larger than life.  When she arrived with her family, she didn't notice the wall at first, but when she did, she ran to her mothers arms for support. Darren addressed the gathered crowd and got quite choked up when he said how important his nieces and family were to him.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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