Without a doubt the biggest project that I’ve led this year has been the Radical Jewelry Makeover (RJM) at Dartmouth College. RJM is a project imagined by Ethical Metalsmiths, America’s only artist-based non-profit devoted to sustainable mining practices of precious metals and stones. The project was funded by Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center for the Arts’ Community Venture Initiative.
For two months, the Hopkins Center for the Arts’ Outreach Program collected unwanted jewelry of all kinds from across our region in a process Ethical Metalsmiths calls “community mining.” They collected about 5 large storage bins of jewelry!! From there the students and instructors of the Hop’s Donald Claflin Jewelry Studio took over to sort and categorize the jewelry into raw materials that could be reimagined into new objects in a variety of events.
The first event in April, 2014, were two days of free jewelrymaking workshops open to community members. Registration for the workshops filled in just one day, which caught everyone off guard! Over 100 people from ages 8 to 80 came to the Claflin Jewelry Studio to make jewelry from the community mined materials. Participants were encouraged to donate some or all of what they made for a jewelry sale in May. It was a huge success.
The next event was to coordinate a professional exhibition of jewelry made from the community-mined materials. Specially chosen packets of materials were sent to about 20 professional artists across America all who had a Dartmouth connection. These included Dartmouth alumni who became professional jewelers, past Claflin Studio guest artists, past and present artist in residents and instructors. The artists had almost two months to interpret their packets of materials however they were inspired to. Some artists made work that looked nothing like the original pieces by melting down the metal, casting new forms and resetting the stones, others captured the reimagined essence of the found materials in remarkable ways.
All of this culminated on May 12, 2014, with a talk by Christina Miller, Executive Director from Ethical Metalsmiths, a panel discussion with Christina Miller, local jeweler Paul Gross ’73, Earth Sciences professor Mukul Sharma and moderated by Paulette Werger, the professional exhibition preview, sale of the community-made jewelry and a reception. About 120 people came to Dartmouth’s Alumni Hall for the event.
The following day, the exhibition entitled “Radical Jewelry Makeover - Beyond the Blue Box” moved to its location in the Harrington Gallery, a space generously lent to us by the Hood Museum. In all honesty, I think that exhibition was my greatest accomplishment in my time here at Dartmouth. Nineteen professional artists participated. All of them making new work for just for this exhibition. It was a spectacular display!
It was so spectacular we needed to give it some more life. I arranged for the exhibition to travel to Hanover’s Designer Gold Gallery where it’s been on display all summer. It’s up until the end of August 2014. If you can check it out you won’t be disappointed!
Special thanks goes to Stephanie Pacheco, my co-conspirator, Ann DiLalla, Erin Smith, Becky Bailey, Sara Morin, Ashlee Robinson, Paulette Werger, Kerstin Nichols, Suzanne Jones, Case Hathaway-Zepeda, Paul and Peggy Gross, Mukul Sharma, Revolution Boutique, Marga Rahmann, Margaret Lawrence, Jeff James, Joe Clifford, the students from the Claflin Studio, Suzie Ganch, Christina Miller, the Hood Museum, the Hop’s Community Venture Initiative, all the members of the CVI Task Force and to all of the artists and community members who participated and donated jewelry to help make a magnificent moment that lingered for a long while happen.
· Hopkins Center’s Radical Jewelry Makeover Info Page (including lots of pictures): hop.dartmouth.edu/Online/rjm
· Ethical Metalsmiths: ethicalmetalsmiths.org
· WCAX Burlington, VT, TV spot, (including a Jeff Georgantes interview) http://www.wcax.com/category/166239/video-landing-page?clipId=9725975&autostart=true
· SEVEN DAYS, Interview, Burlington, VT: http://www.7dvt.com/2014hopkins-center-links-campus-and-community-radical-arts-initiative
· Designer Gold Gallery, Hanover, NH hosted the RJM Exhibition July-August, 2014 designergoldjewelry.com