Friday, August 06, 2010
WHO CAN WAKE UP A SLEEPING TOWN
KODGER KING AND SUPERMODEL FIND THE ANSWER Walking the sleepy streets of St Anthony, Idaho--Nicole and I happened upon this scene---not sure whether destruction or construction is happening here. First impression suggest a bombed out ruin---and yet---and yet---It's a very classy--nicely proportioned---inviting ruin. Obviously some artist has a vision he is seeking to communicate and he means to include this whole city block.
Meet Ken Matthews, the man with the vision. He mortgaged his farm to buy the whole block---has in mind a super hostel--appealing enough to be a destination in itself for touring bicyclist and others. St Anthony is not yet awake to its own beauty---an almost divinely blessed town with a river flowing through it and recreational dunes only 6 miles away---an old fashioned swimming hole Norman Rockwell could have designed. Stores and the theater are closed---the town is asleep.
Like an old testament prophet--rising up when needed---Ken got his vision and found the courage to act. As with great movie directors, even he, does not see the completed picture---only his personal muses guide him as he feels his way forward. He wears all the hats--- at times architect, artist, stonemason, carpenter etc. His son Nathan and several friends pitch in their effort and creativity. The whole town is interested--city fathers recognize a visionary when they see one and do not obstruct. This could be the start of something big!
A storeroom contains some of his first baby steps--this--whatever--is made of plumbing leftovers trying to make a statement.
As are these chair-pieces artfully held in rearrangable modules.
The "symbol room" is a wikipedia-like project inviting others to insert their symbol
with perhaps 20 other works such as this
Most intriguing is a central pit/atrium where folks will gather in gothic ambience to sip and sup.
Whimsey ----reminiscent of Chartes Cathedral.
I think Ken was reading me a poem from the balcony---Nicole is absorbed with symbols.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: Hundreds of small towns in America are dozing off--losing their Zip.
Town fathers always blame economics----I say it isn't the heart of the matter. Towns more fequently die from lack of art. Let artists come to any sleepy hamlet and life will become interesting again. I'll name a few towns to make my case---Sausalito---MillValley---Mendocino, all in Ca. Port Townsend, Wa---Tubac and Bisbee, Az---Madrid, NM. Artists saved them all from doldrums and obscurity. The bigger point to be made is that art is life and if you're not doing some sort of art, you're not fully alive. (Even the Bible got this one right: " Without a vision
the people perish")