Seattle Art Museum, Party in the Park 2016. / by Jacob Foran

Jacob Foran. 2016. @ Party in the Park.  Seattle, WA.  Materials: Ceramic, glaze, mixed media.

Jacob Foran. 2016. @ Party in the Park.  Seattle, WA.  Materials: Ceramic, glaze, mixed media.

Last night i set a table for one of Seattle's best museum fundraisers, the Party in the Park at the Olympic Sculpture Park.  Many thanks to the Seattle Art Museum for the invitation to participate and to TASTE Events chef Josie Urbick.  This year's party was truly incredible.  The food was fantastic and the artists tables were even more creative, beautiful, and playful than i remember from last summer. 

This year the museum provided artists with a prompt in theme: landscape.  While 'landscape' can be broadly interpreted, the connecting factor in the artists designed tables is that we all had the freedom to create a piece that reflects our individual concepts and aesthetics as artists. 

My project was influenced by the landscape of dreams.  Based upon childhood (imagery i often draw upon in my work), essentially i worked figuratively, alluding the present state of beauty and happiness that i am experiencing as i enter a new stage of life.  My project is both personal to me and has undertones of something largely human that pertains to breaking barriers of race.  Besides the more obvious shifts in symbolic color on my figures, at closer look their features are multi-racial. 

The narrative suggests a union of two figures: a blue boy and a lavender girl.  The two children face inward towards each other underneath an imaginative archway.  Their eyes are closed and they are smiling with facial expressions that suggests total happiness. It is as if they are dreaming the same dream.  They are surrounded in lyrical, linear, floating formations which suggest both flora (like a sacred garden) and also clouds (like heaven and dreams).  Its not often that i get the chance to engage an audience in the context of a party occasion where we literally sit and dine around artwork.  Therefore, creating a whimsical, optimistic, and celebratory plot seemed fitting. 

As usual, the museum invited a group of inspiring artists and it is an understatement to say that i was in good company.  Among our favorites were Jeffry Mitchell's bar designs, Liz Tran's suspending sphere paintings above the dessert stands, Paul Komada's upside down tent, Mandy Greer's incredible table made of all things black, Ben Hirschkoff and Natalie Jenkins' sod table, and an intricate collection of miniatures based upon Seattle's iconic public art and architecture made by artist Diem Chau.

Shannon and I had a blast getting to know our table guests.  Conversation evolved from a special toast in the onset to celebrate our upcoming marriage, to discussing the various programing of the museum and the sculpture park, to the importance of advocacy for arts in our public school systems, back to the art of marriage and having children.  As our new friends departed, we were taken by a memorable story told by a young couple who seemed to truly experience the emotion i hoped to convey with my figures.  They told us about recently witnessing their little daughter's first crush-- her hilarious and sweet encounter with a young boy and the powerful impact it had on the two of them as parents.  It was as if they were able to live vicariously through her and remember that all encompassing feeling shared in the onset of their relationship.   Their story made for perfect closure to the dinner and a perfect transition to the dance floor (the music was spot on).  So much to celebrate, so much to be grateful for!