My Vote Performs, a non-partisan performance art project that celebrated citizenship and voting on Election Day at 11 Milwaukee polling places, will hold a free public forum at MIAD on Tuesday, November 25, 7 p.m. The forum will document the works of the 13 lead artists, including those of Professor of Sculpture Jill Sebastian and Foundations Faculty Shana McCaw, with some live performances. It is sponsored by WUWM, Milwaukee Public Radio (89.7).
My Vote Performs was created and produced by John Loscuito, registrar of the Haggerty Museum of Art, and Pegi Taylor, former MIAD instructor, long-time figure model and co-founder of IN:SITE, a temporary art installation project that MIAD students and alumni have participated in since its founding in 2006. It was approved by the State Elections Division and the Milwaukee Election Commission.
“My Vote Performs drew on three decades of Milwaukee’s performance artists to celebrate and encourage discussion about citizenship and voting,” said Taylor. “Nothing else like it has been undertaken in the United States.”
Sebastian, whose public artworks are found in U.S. cities, Amsterdam and Tel Aviv, participated in My Vote Performs because, she said, “This was an opportunity to promote my convictions that enfranchisement is the most important yet most fragile right of citizenship. From the dawn of our democracy to today, the issues and attitudes that have affected who can and who cannot vote are still being debated.”
“I chose to focus on women’s suffrage as the Wisconsin League of Women Voters was born at the Milwaukee Public Library, the site of my project ‘Suffragium,’ which was shown from 4 – 8 p.m. on Election Day.
‘Suffragium’ is a video animation in which the 19th century public sculptures in front of and in the library are animated and become liberated to cast their votes. Annie Dennison performs songs related to suffrage as part of the project.”
More information about Sebastian’s project is available at www.myvoteperforms.com.
McCaw’s project, “The Tally,” was presented by the collaborative performance group the WhiteBoxPainters, whose award-winning, nationally exhibited artists include McCaw, her husband Brent Budsberg, Mark Escribano and MIAD alumnus Harvey Opgenorth.
“The Tally,” on view from 12 – 4 p.m. at the City of Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services, suspended two large, functional Jacob’s Ladders from either side of the main entrance. The group writes “that the ladders’ flipping action may be interpreted as two contending opponents, representing the competitive nature of the presidential race and the tension that voters experience while watching the election results unfold.” More information about the “The Tally” is available at http://TheWhiteBoxPainters.blogspot.com.
MIAD’s involvement in My Vote Performs began early in 2008 in Communication Design Professor Phil Belair’s Packaging Design class. Students designed fund-raising containers to be used in restaurants, businesses, bookshops and galleries in Milwaukee to help raise money for the project. Jamison Burish ’09 designed the chosen container and logo, which can be seen on My Vote Perform’s website, along with a full list of projects and polling sites: www.myvoteperforms.com.
You can also read more about the project at www.jsonline.com.