VA-based artist brings his evolving outdoor sculpture project to SECCA's scenic grounds over the course of 17 months.

On View August 2021 – December 2022 | SECCA Grounds

The "Benediction Project" is coming to Winston-Salem. According to artist, Charlie Brouwer, "the project connects community with people of faith and places of worship through art". The project began in December, 2019 in Virginia's New River Valley (the artist's home territory) where during 2020 the sculpture, titled "Benediction", traveled to 10 places of worship. Participation in the project is free to any place of worship that wants to express through public art, their desire to be a blessing to the surrounding community. The artist installs the sculpture for 40 days on the grounds of the place of worship where it can be seen by the public facing out towards the community.

The project is a public art component of "Inside/Outside: Charlie Brouwer" – a Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) exhibition that begins in August and will run until December 2022. Planning the exhibition has been a collaboration between the artist and Wendy Earle, Curator of Contemporary Art and it will have a unique format and schedule. Every 40 days for one year, the artist will install outdoor sculptures on SECCA's grounds and indoor works and installations in spaces throughout the museum. Beginning in August 2022, the artist will begin removing some work each 40 days until the exhibition closes in December.

Brouwer's reason for 40 day periods is connected with its special significance in sacred Jewish, Islamic, and Christian texts where it stands for "an important or long time" or "the right amount of time".

Places of worship, temples, churches, mosques, religious community centers... in the Winston-Salem area invited to contact Charlie Brouwer at: cbrouwer@swva.net about participating in the "Benediction Project".

This exhibition will not be the first time SECCA has worked with Charlie. In 2009 they worked together to present Rise Up Winston-Salem, a community based public art installation in Old Salem Museum and Gardens, part of SECCA's Artist In The Community exhibition series. The idea of borrowing ladders from a community, building a sculpture out of them about community interdependence, and then returning the ladders worked so well that Brouwer created similar projects with 12 other communities between 2009 and 2018.

ARTIST STATEMENT

I have been making art since 1968 and I feel like I am just getting started. My work ranges from small indoor gallery pieces to large outdoor sculptures to indoor and outdoor installations and public art projects. Drawing from personal experiences, beliefs, and feelings, I re-experience life through art by looking evidence of beauty, truth, goodness, honesty, mercy, hope, and generosity that transcends the doubt, darkness, isolation, suffering, and fear that are also part of life. Wood is my main material when constructing sculptures. In attempting to expand the possibilities of public art I have worn a backpack sculpture to a public art conference, made book sculptures for a library to be shelved and checked out, and made temporary installations about communities out of ladders they lent me.