Imagination Squared

The view from inside is very different

"Not from where I sit"

Two local artists, Dolf James and Christina Foard, had an idea.  What would happen if we handed out 2,000 identical 5″ white squares and asked all local artists, who work in all types of media, to put their ideas on the squares, and they were all shown in a single exhibit.  Well, I think the results were beyond their wildest dreams.  904 artists turned in their squares, and the resulting display at the Museum of Contemporary Art is absolutely fantastic.  While I do not consider myself much of an artist, my good friend, David Engdahl, encouraged me to create a piece and enter it.  The result is shown above.

I got especially excited when I put the piece on my Facebook page and a friend of a friend wrote to me that it reminded her of Maya Angelou’s poem, “I know why the caged bird sings”.  Maya was only the nation’s poet laureate, who had written her signature poem about slavery and bravery.  I had never heard the poem and happened to create a piece that mirrored her poem quite by accident.  But what a boost it gave me to think someone looked at my piece and thought of this brilliant poem!

The story behind Imagination Squared

A Creative Response Experiment

Museum of Contemporary Art


The photos above show the plaque in the Gallery explaining the show, and the front view of this wonderful museum.

904 pieces on 3 walls in the main gallery

Imagination Squared

The display was installed in the main gallery space of the museum.  On the main level, dead center.  The location shows how impressed the museum board was with the results of this little “experiment”.

People lined up outside to see the show

The Crowd

The photo above shows the crowd standing in line, stretching out the doors and down the street, on opening night.  The final estimation was that  over 5,000 people came to see the exhibit.  The artists were allowed early entry to see their work displayed along side that of their friends and contemporaries, but we were so rushed to get out of the way before the general public was allowed in that several artists actually missed their own piece hanging on the walls!

Gallery Opening Event

MOCA Opening

This photo shows but a few of the 904 artists during the preview.

Bob Hunt's square in the center

"Not From Where I Sit"

My piece is in the center of this photo, surrounded by paintings, photographs and 3 dimensional art of several genre.  I was honored to have my piece displayed at eye level, just right of center of the main wall.  You can see my bio and explanation of the piece here (  The lovely cardinal inside is hard to see in a photograph.

My good friend David's plywood sculpture

David Engdahl

At the center of this group is a plywood sculpture created by my friend, David.  His sculptures range in size from this square, to a piece over 8′ tall, which is a focal point in the lobby of the Haskell building, to the piece at the airport which is at least 100′ long.  His work is shown in galleries all around the country, have been displayed in several US Embassies in the Middle East, and he has a permanent piece at the Jacksonville International Airport directly above the moving walkway to the parking garage.  I am proud to have my piece in the same gallery as his!

See FL Times Union story 9/5/10 about Kathy's square!

Kathy McCall

Kathy, a member of our club, Northeast Florida Woodturners Association, also entered a piece.  It was created to honor her late mother, a quilter, and consists of pieces of thread from her mother’s supply, and features a frog, which was part of her mother’s treasured collection.  This piece attracted the attention of the Florida Times Union (see the story on page E-3 of the 9/5/10 edition), and MOCA, who interviewed her for the audio tour of the exhibit, as well as the video being shown there.  Well done, Kathy.

I even let my ex-MIL enter a square!

Mother-in-Law (ex-)

The square above was created by my ex-Mother-in-Law (the first one!), Trisha Blackwell.  Who says you can’t let bygones be bygones?

Jacksonville's Arts & Business Magazine


Imagination Squared was such a success, it was featured in the September/October issue of Arbus Magazine, which you can read online here (

All the pieces can be viewed at  Click on each image and many will bring up the bio of the artist.  Better yet, why not go to the museum and see them all up close and personal.  The Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 333 North Laura Street downtown.  The exhibit will be on display until November 14, so hurry.  I think you will be really impressed.

Oh, another sign that the exhibit was a total success:  it was voted “Best Art Exhibit of 2010” by Folio Weekly!  You don’t get any better endorsement than that!!

You can see more of my work at and on our Facebook page by the same name.  Please visit often as I try to post photos of my newest work as I finish them.

I would be honored if you saw the exhibit, then posted your impressions in a reply to this blog.  Now that a piece of my work has been on display at an art museum, and I had my own gallery opening, I am forced to call myself an artist, and we artists thrive on the praise and adulation shown by their loyal fans.  Now where did I put my red beret?

One last thought, for those of you who may be familiar with MOCA:  Don’t let the fact that Preston Haskell, my employer of the last 21 years, is the Past Chairman of the Board of MOCA.  That has absolutely nothing to do with my piece being in the exhibit!

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