Community Engagement through Live Sculpture
Community engagement isn’t just something the McLeods champion on an abstract level with their community art and public works—it’s an ideal they really live by. One way they engage the community in their art practice is by hosting and participating in special events, fundraisers, and open workshops. Their special events tend to be performance based, demonstrative, and involve making ephemeral sculptures. Aden loves doing live sculpture at special events, especially when on the road travelling. They love getting the crowd engaged with making clay sculpture as well. Although sculpture is often considered a solitary, meditative medium, in Aden’s hands it can actually be quite social!
Last year Aden took part in an Australian Ceramics Open Studios hosted by Annette Tranter from Bundarra Pottery. It was a great time for everyone involved, with live sculpting by Aden, live music from local singer Jasmine Chapman, and wheel throwing demonstrations by Annette Tranter. The final result was a life-size sculpture that Aden crafted during the event.
Other past events include the Strand Ephemera Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition in 2011 and the 2008 Go Troppo Festival Port Douglas. Aden has worked in stone and marble to complete the marble work at the Fine Arts Museum in Anchorage, Alaska, and even created a stone fireplace for the Alaskan Governor in Juneau. Aden was also the first artist to create brick sculptures in Australia. In the near future the McLeods are also looking forward to creating life-size sculptures for the Cooktown Australia Day celebrations in January 2016.
Raising Charitable Awareness through Sculpture
The McLeods often collaborate with NGOs, charities, and environmental organizations, working at special events and fundraisers. They also enjoy working at more social occasions, such as parties, as well. They are especially interested in using their artistic agency to help causes and communities that are dear to them—for example, raising environmental awareness in their native Australia and celebrating the bonds of community. Often with charitable work it is easier to bring people together in a social setting to raise awareness about issues than it is through advertising or lobbying.
However, live sculpting can also just be a great way for people who’ve never used the materials themselves to encounter them in a really accessible, social environment. Clay, in particular, is a great medium for social sculpting (as seen in the live-sculpted bust above) during special events. Anyone can use it, regardless of skill level, and it has a very easy cleanup. You’d be surprised at how excited people are to be able to go out to a party and come home with a hand-sculpted bowl or trinket.
Aden is known for his outgoing personality that really draws in the crowd for group activities and spreads the passion for sculpture. Events like this are fun for the artists and for the community both, but most importantly it’s a reminder of the joy of art and of sharing it. Ultimately, we’re all in this world together, and we might as well come together to celebrate it once in awhile—and what better way than through art and music?
If you’d like to collaborate in planning a special event with us, we’d love to speak with you! Whether it’s a public or private event, we can talk it over and find out what would best suit your needs. Feel free to contact us directly by email.