When the truck rolls in, the discovery begins
Revolving Museum transforming vintage pickup into ‘Eco-Art Mobile’ that educates, inspires
Sentinel & Enterprise
FITCHBURG — The Revolving Museum is transforming a 1952 Ford pickup into public artwork on wheels that is designed to make “green” art focused on important environmental issues, public health and the planet’s ecological sustainability.
Jerry Beck, the Revolving Museum’s founder and artist director, said the Eco-Art-Mobile will feature a gallery space for the presentation of visual, literary and performance artworks, solar-powered video and film projectors, an LED message board, and a mini-laboratory equipped with microscopes and scientific equipment.
It will journey to neighborhoods, schools, festivals, parks, and other destinations throughout New England, bringing art, science and opportunities for community engagement and ecological education, said Beck.
The project involves a team of artists, scientists, youth and community members from Fitchburg Public Schools, the Fitchburg and Leominster Boys and Girls Club, Heywood Hospital’s Youth Suicide Prevention Group, Fitchburg State University and other volunteers. The team will assist with the design and renovations of the art/science mobile as well as the development of workshops, research and information gathering, marketing, fundraising, and scheduling, Beck said.
“The Eco-Art-Mobile builds on the Revolving Museum’s 30-year history of renovating vehicles of travel into participatory and provocative public artworks,” he said. “These include 12 abandoned railroad cars, six airline baggage carts, an ice cream truck, bookmobile, housekeeping push carts, boats, bikes, and skateboards — all of which have responded to a wide-range of social, cultural, environmental, economic and political issues.”
Over the past six months, North End Subaru-Mazda repaired the truck to get it road-worthy, said Beck.
Fitchburg’s Department of Public Works also contributed by donating signs, traffic lights and crosswalk technology that will be recycled into new artworks featured on the Eco-Art-Mobile, Beck said.
“We are proud to support the Revolving Museum’s latest endeavor by assisting to get this beautiful vintage truck ready to go. This project will certainly be an art-and-science adventure for all involved,” said North End Subaru-Mazda General Manager Marty Babineau.
Mayor Stephen DiNatale agreed. “I’m thrilled to support this innovative traveling public artwork and educational program,” he said. “The Eco-Art-Mobile will engage the public around the importance of our natural world, ecological sustainability, and public health through community celebration of the arts and sciences.”
The Eco-Art-Mobile’s community workshop program will invite the public to participate in the creation of “green” art while learning about “green chemistry,” the science of designing chemical processes to maximize energy efficiency, and use renewable and recycled materials to create non-toxic, non-polluting products, said Beck.
One of these workshops, “Tales From A Test-Tube,” will invite youth to make test tube artwork using a “green” citrus cleaning product to create photographic transfers of their portraits. Through poetry they will express their feelings about pollution, the earth, home, and the future and the poetry, and portraits (art and science) will be combined in the test tubes and creatively displayed.
Two of the Revolving Museum’s key partners for this program are Dr. John Warner, world-renowned scientist and CEO of the Warner and Babcock Institute and Dr. Amy Cannon, executive director of Beyond Benign, a nonprofit green chemistry education organization.
Warner, co-founder of Green Chemistry, is the recipient of the 2014 Perkin Medal, which is widely acknowledged as the highest honor in American industrial chemistry. He and Cannon will assist by providing new, green, safe materials and technologies for the Eco-Art-Mobile workshops.
The Eco-Art-Mobile is sponsored in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Fitchburg Cultural Council, the city of Fitchburg, the Fitchburg DPW, North End Subaru-Mazda, David Beck, Steel Fab, and The Revolving Museum members, sponsors and supporters.