Expressions of Hope
Arte Libre VA, along with teaching artist Abigail Gómez, began facilitating a community-wide collaborative public art installation in late 2020, which examines the pandemic-weary responses of youth and community members when asked to share something that still inspires hope. In partnership with Shenandoah University’s FYS program, Arte Libre VA asked community members and youth to participate in the collaborative artmaking process to create this sculpture by “art-ing” a small wooden butterfly using markers, paint, collage, or other artistic media. Participants were encouraged to artistically respond to questions such as, What is your hope? What is your dream? What do you aspire to do? What does your future hold? on the wooden butterflies, which are documented, weatherproofed, and installed in a framework to display the sculpture. The unique arrangement of the elements will allow kinetic movement among hundreds of colorful butterflies, spelling the word HOPE.
To date, 677 butterflies have been arted by over 500 members of the community, from ages two to eighty-six.
The project is ongoing, and with support from community businesses such as Winchester Metals (who fabricated a beautiful pedestal base for the sculpture), the Community Foundation of the Northern Shenandoah Valley (who generously provided funding for the project), and the Valley Maker’s Association (who have graciously allowed us to work on the project in the Makerspace), Arte Libre VA is planning to debut Expressions of Hope in spring of 2022.