The Masonic Temple Project is an expansive multimedia installation at an active 60,000-square-foot Masonic Temple in Portland, Maine.
This unprecedented project is the first public art installation inside a functioning Masonic Temple. I was inspired to create the piece after visiting the Temple and being moved by the architectural grandeur of its interior spaces, most of which have remained hidden from public view for the past 100 years.
The most striking sculptural component of the installation is an enormous bees’ nest, measuring approximately 25 feet in diameter, suspended in the Eastern Star Hall, on the fifth floor of the Temple. The Eastern Star Hall was once the ritual room for the women's auxiliary of the Masonic Order. The greatest physical impact of the project will take place within this space.
Hundreds of orbs, measuring 24” - 48” in diameter, will be placed or suspended in other significant rooms of the Temple. These spherical orbs reference the egg-like potential for new life, spreading from the decidedly private space of the Eastern Star Hall throughout more active rooms of the Temple.
Bees and the hive have long been symbols of industry and regeneration within the Masonic Order. By employing these symbols within this project, I hope to bring greater awareness to the space and its current need for restoration. Both bees and Masons are seeing their populations threatened. Since my work began, the Masonic Temple has been listed as one of Greater Portland’s Places in Peril through Greater Portland Landmarks.
With additional funding, a 30-minute audio tour will lead visitors through the Temple and the installation. It will fuse historical information about each of the rooms with a fabricated soundscape to give the listener the experience of walking through the Temple at the height of its activity. The listener may be ascending a flight of stairs and suddenly find themselves enmeshed in a crowd of Masons, or crossing the threshold into a room, they may "interrupt" a ritual in progress.
Visitors will ultimately be guided to the Eastern Star Hall. As they get closer to the nest, the sound of buzzing will gradually increase from an occasional passing bee to a concentrated hum of activity.
I cannot realize this project without your help. The total budget for the installation is just over $100,000. Today, I am hoping to raise $15,000 to cover the cost of materials. Any additional funds will go toward the audio tour, labor and equipment costs.
This project will be featured within the New England Foundation for the Arts conference being held in Portland, Maine, in June of 2013. To ensure we are ready, please make your generous contribution, today! Thank you for your time and support.
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