Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Poetry Scores to host Art Invitational to poem by Nigerian Nobel laureate

"Across that broken road a fire that heals"
by Robin Street-Morris,
for "Ever-Ready Bank Accounts"

Poetry Scores will host an Art Invitational based on the poem "Ever-Ready Bank Accounts" by Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Laureate in Literature from Nigeria, 7-10 p.m. Friday, May 18 at Mad Art Gallery, 2727 So. 12th. St. in St. Louis.

In a Poetry Scores Art Invitational, some 50 visual artists make art in response to the same poem, and title their work using a direct quote from the poem. The work is then hung in the gallery according to where in the flow of the poem the language used for the title appears.

"It’s a very special celebration of creative collaboration,” Wole Soyinka told The Alton Telegraph in a feature story about the project.

A complete list of artists confirmed for the show follows at the end of this post. It includes many of St. Louis' most beloved working artists, many of whom have national and international credits. For 2012, Poetry Scores has the benefit of Andrew Torch from the international Surrealist movement as guest co-curator.

All art will be available for sale in a silent auction. Bidding wars will be wrapped up throughout the night, starting at 8 p.m. with cash, credit and "Square" sales accepted. All art will come down off the walls and go home with buyers that night.

Poetry Scores also partners with SCOSaG to include child artists in its shows. A group of twelve children made drawings to "Ever-Ready Bank Accounts" with co-curator Chris King, creative director of Poetry Scores. Each of these child artists will have a piece in the "big people's show" on May 18, with the rest of their drawings on display in a separate space in the gallery.

Poetry Scores is a St. Louis-based arts organization that translates poetry into other media, including music, food, visual art, and digital cinema. Its Art Invitationals are fundraisers that allow the organization to produce and release its projects (primarily, poetry translated into music and digital cinema). However, Poetry Scores splits proceeds from all sales evenly with the artist and the gallery.

Poetry Scores' proceeds from the May 18 event will be used to fund a release of the poetry score to "Ever-Ready Bank Accounts" it is producing. The three-man Istanbul-based orchestra bicycle day is scoring Wole Soyinka's poem on commission. The intention is to produce a CD of the score in the St. Louis and a vinyl LP in Istanbul.

When interviewed by The Alton Telegraph, bicycle day gave its understanding of Soyinka's poem. “Wole Soyinka wrote this poem during solitary confinement in a prison in Nigeria, where poverty is so visible,” said Onur Karagoz of bicycle day. “To us, the poem says, ‘Embrace mankind. Embrace mankind. Embrace mankind.’”

Artists confirmed for the May 18 Art Invitational:

Gina Alvarez
Jay Babcock
Jenna Bauer
Kevin Belford
Bradley Bowers
Jeff Brawn
Hunter Brumfield III
Ron Buechele
Jon Cournoyer
Charles and Chalot Douglas-Book
Dr. Andrew Dykeman
Greg Edmondson
Thom Fletcher
Robert Goetz
Martha Rose Green
JoJo Houle
Chris King
Dawn Majors
Julie Malone
Tim McAvin
Claire Medol Hyman
Tim Meehan
Gina Montgomery
Carmelita Nunez
Hap Phillips
Robert Powell
John Pruitt
Tony Renner
Stefene Russell
Lyndsey Scott
Dana Smith
Pamela Speh
Robin Street-Morris
Jeffrey Sass
Janiece Senn
Daniel Shown
Mark Stephens
Mark Swain
Jeffrey Swanson
Andrew Torch
Amy VanDonsel
Timothy E. Wagner
Jess Witte

Admission to the event is free. All art on sale in a silent auction. Poetry Scores also will have for sale its many past projects. Mad Art will run a cash bar.

Questions? Contact Chris King at


Text of "Ever-Ready Bank Accounts"

Alton Telegraph feature on this collaboration

Twelve child artists respond to "Ever-Ready Bank Accounts"

SCOSaG children draw beetles, roaches, flies and slugs as food

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