Dawn Holderís installation in the ArtWalk Gallery at the Hartford Public Library is like visiting Florida at this time of year. The porcelain garden is a foray into an otherworldly springtime.
It made me nervous as hell.
Not particularly clumsy, but not particularly graceful either, I fall into the category of worrier. In all my time working retail, I was fortunate to have smashed only one item. It was a large, Waterford crystal vase. It cost more than I made in two weeks at the time. While ringing it up, I was very mindful of handling it carefully when somehow it slipped. The crash was heard on the other side of the large store. While worried that I would have to pay for it (I didnít) and embarrassed for being careless, I still enjoyed the bright, tinging sound it made as it burst apart. If you can ever afford to smash a hefty piece of crystal, I strongly recommend it.
I did not know who made the vase I broke, but I do know Dawn Holder. Knowing how awful I would feel if I decimated a piece of her artwork, I tried to keep a safe distance from the flowers that seemed to grow out of the libraryís floor. When I made my way through the mass of people at the opening (lots of wine and upscale food), I came upon the scene that was a little too good to be true. An elderly couple sat on the bench amid the flowers and trees. Looking out the windows onto Main Street served as an interesting contrast between brightness and stillness of the gallery, and the speed and gloominess (evening in winter) of outside.
And someone did bust one of her flowers. The artist responded with tact, and I think everyone nearby, myself included, was secretly grateful that we were not the ones to do the breaking.
The installation will be on display through April 16th. Itís definitely worth checking out, but probably is not the place to carry your duffel bag or bring your rampaging toddler.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
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