Drawings come to life in Greensboro

By Mary Windsor, Staff Writer

Published in print Sept.24, 2014

On Friday, September 19, illustrations of a city taken over by monsters, mermaids diving for starfish and bumblebees floating over flowers were projected across a concrete wall on Elm Street.

In recent years, the city of Greensboro has been growing towards building its image and becoming a place where public art is exhibited often. Many times, the community influences the art produced.

One of the most prominent art programs in Greensboro, The Public Art Endowment, functions through donations given by the community, which generate interest over time. The interest earned over time is used as an investment to support local art movements in Greensboro. 

It began in 2008, and their major goal is to raise two billion dollars in donations to create permanent public art. To build awareness and get the public interested, they generate temporary projects and installations.

This year, they are collaborating with 17Days, Greensboro’s Art and Culture Festival. It’s an annual series of events that goes on for 17 days with several artistic productions that range from theatrical performances, street art, body painting and special events occurring locally.

To raise awareness, The Public Art Endowment and its trustees have chosen to promote Tagtool this year. They were chosen out of three finalists submitted and requested by the donators of PAE.

The Tagtool is an interactive medium controlled by an app that allows the artist to paint with their fingers and create lighted figures, make visuals to music and invent animated stories. The three artists that invented this app are from Vienna, Austria and were contacted over a year ago by Cheryl Stewart.

Tagtool is an app downloaded onto an iPad with a wifi connection and projection space, it can produce larger than life art and animations. Drawings are electronically projected on the sides of building.  In 2013, Tagtool was awarded the Content Award for best app. The creators, Josef and Markus Dorninger, and Matthias Fritz are participating in their first U.S. tour showcasing Tagtool and started their rounds in Greensboro this past weekend.

They set up shop outside of Cheesecakes by Alex this past Friday, September 19, and with jazz music playing from the patio and people enjoying an evening downtown, they quickly gathered a group of onlookers. Beginning around dusk, they began to create their works of art and projected them on a brick building across from Cheesecakes by Alex.

During their illustration, and while the public drew, the works of art could be seen being created in real time and displayed the progression of the final product. With this interactive media, you can make a doodle come to life. Many people came forward despite the early fall weather with curiosity and interest. Adults, children, city workers, and even firemen stopped by to see, experiment and exhibit their drawing skills.

It created an appealing space for the public to get involved in the colors, shapes and scenes that were being brought to life right before their eyes.

“It’s like magic,” said nine-year old Max Reid, a Greensboro native.

According to the Tagtool team, the exhibition works best on large structures such as buildings and water towers. The team plans on showcasing their design and temporary installation at The Children’s Museum, Elsewhere workshops and at Tate Street Festival as the 17 Days of Greensboro progresses. They hope to be able to hold some sort of event at The Jackson Library for students to be able to participate in during the weeks to come.

Lynn Wooten, in coordination with The Public Art Endowment, states that, “The entire purpose for this event is to create a deeper sense of community and better define Greensboro as being perceived for and associated with its public art pieces. We want to be recognized like The Bean is with Chicago and the LOVE sculpture is with Indianapolis.”

Categories: Features, Mary Windsor

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