5. Two Brothers Beauty Supply, Eddy and Westminster Sts.
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
installation, mixed media
About the Work
In response to our nation's economic obstacles, our culture must now shift its overt individualistic focus to the benefit of its neighborhoods. Wealth can be measured by currency or by the connections and relationships that bind our communities. Increasing the social capital of contemporary society will help relieve our distressed market economy. Won't You Be My Neighbor? tips its hat to Mr Rogers and acknowledges a critical component buried in this nostalgic program. This installation draws attention to the omnipotent weight and tenuous bonds our collective structure. "Community is the key to physical survival in our environmental predicament and also to human satisfaction." - Bill McKibben
About the Artist
Sarah Sandman will complete her MFA in Graphic Design at the Rhode Island School of Design in May 2009. She has a BFA in Visual Communications from the University of Kansas and studied design at the Fachochshule Trier in Germany. She worked as an art director for Egg and The Bellwether Group in Seattle and Green Team in New York City. These firms practice sustainable and environmentally conscious production methods and promote clients that reflect these values. Sandman is currently working on a collaborative thesis with Melissa Small called 1+1=3: How Communication Design Can Build Social Capital. The aim of their project is to create participatory design experiences that increase social awareness and confront environmental issues. In May of 2008, Sandman organized 12 artists to design and create an installation in the Greenpoint Brooklyn subway station. The project's objective was to initiate a conversation with Brooklyn residents about the Exxon Mobil oil spill that contaminated the Greenpoint neighborhood's soil. In the summer of 2008, she orchestrated a cross-country cycling project called the Gift Cycle with collaborator Melissa Small. The Gift Cycle transported gifts from the artists of one community to the artists of the next community for exchange. The final result was a nationwide gift economy that united over 200 artists. In October of 2008, she organized a project called Bike Write in which 50 cyclists followed a typographic route that spelled "Yes We Can" in the city Providence. The project brought together riders in support of Barack Obama and alternative transportation.
Special thanks to Malachi's Cafe for the salt, Precision Laser for the laser cutting and RISD 2nd Life for the recycled paper scraps, and to artist Melissa Small.