Northeast Sculptor and Installation Artist Renee Cinderhouse was recently chosen as one of the 13 ArtsKC Inspiration Grant recipients for her two-stage installation art piece, “Witness,” in collaboration with the Kansas City Museum.
“Witness” will debut at the Kansas City Museum’s grand re-opening in late 2020. It focuses on the role society has in documenting and preserving history.
The installations will read like dioramas, hidden pictures or a visual expression of stories that are often forgotten. They will showcase history, capture a current perspective and make statements on sociopolitical issues.
The Inspiration Grants provides funds to individual local artists for various projects. Cinderhouse received $1,900 for this project.
Grant funds will be used for supplies for custom molds and armatures and historic artifacts such as antique clothing, historic photos and maps, antique mannequin parts and ceramic decals.
ArtsKC Grants Program Manager Heather Beffa said ArtsKC is proud to support Cinderhouse, and they are excited that she is working with the Kansas City Museum.
“It’s in line with the artist’s own ambitions as a creative person and it’s also very much in line with what the museum wants to do and needs to do in the next year,” Beffa said. “I, personally, love the artist’s aesthetic which is very much formed by the appreciation of history and time and a great deal of respect for historical figures and what their experience was like.”
Cinderhouse said she believes that this project’s debut at the Kansas City Museum’s grand re-opening will encourage community interest in the contemporary arts and change the public’s perception of how a history museum can present its collection.
The first stage of the installation will include four art time capsules to be interred inside the walls of each floor of Corinthian Hall for future generations to discover. Their contents will only be seen in photos.
The second stage includes large-scale mixed-media sculptures that incorporate salvaged materials from the Kansas City Museum’s renovation of Corinthian Hall. They will be interwoven with artifacts from the Museum’s permanent collection. The installation art will be for public view.
Cinderhouse collaborated with architects and construction contractors to incorporate salvaged materials from the museum’s demolition, long-lost museum artifacts discovered during the current renovation project, and historical objects from the museum’s permanent collection in her piece.
Cinderhouse said she also found historical artifacts on the Internet and at local antique malls and flea markets.
Cinderhouse applied for the grant because she wanted to include historical artifacts in this piece, but they are expensive, she said.
Based on themes outlined in the Kansas City Museum’s exhibition and experience planning, the installation will be a collaboration with the exhibition design team.
The five themes that are represented in the installation are “we the people,” “environmental legacy,” “personal freedom” and “women’s rights and human sexuality.”
“They touch on themes that I feel are of high relevance to our social and political discourse right now, locally and nationally,” Cinderhouse said. “I tried to pick topics that were timeless and yet incredibly important.”
For more information on “Witness” and the ArtsKC Inspiration Grant, visit ArtsKC.org.