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Early Deinstallation of Fence

A team of students, faculty, and MICA staff members were on site Thursday, March 27, disassembling the fence in two quadrants of Mount Vernon Place, and stacking those sections as planned in the parks.

Posted 03.26.08 by MICA Media Relations

After an overnight act of vandalism, the MICA students and faculty who planned and are implementing the on-site exhibition Beyond the Compass, Beyond the Square decided that portions of Lee B. Freeman's piece, Framing Mount Vernon Place, in that exhibition would be dismantled today rather than on Saturday, March 29, as scheduled. A team of students, faculty, and MICA staff members were on site Thursday, March 27, disassembling the fence in two quadrants of Mount Vernon Place, and stacking those sections as planned in the parks. This decision was made when it was discovered that someone had unbolted numerous sections of the fence overnight, causing those sections to become unstable.

The site-specific installation consists of a gold-painted, chain-link construction fence, which encircled each of the four parks of Mount Vernon Place. The artist had received city approval to install the artwork for one month, but shortened the timeframe to two weeks, in order to allow access to the parks during the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade. The piece was installed on March 17, and on Thursday, March 20, the artist removed one section of fencing in each of the four parks, in response to community requests for access. Later that day, high winds blew down one side of the fence in the southern park, toppling the marble cap for a column adjacent to a stairway. The project team immediately consulted with art handling and conservation experts at the Walters Art Museum, and it was determined that removal of a single section of each fence was causing structural instability. To restore structural integrity, the fence was closed. It reopened the next day, after the artist received assistance from the Department of Recreation and Parks and the fences were deemed stable even with a single section removed. MICA has been in contact with city officials and has taken responsibility for repair of the damaged marble piece.

The decision to de-install the fence from two of the parks two days prior to the scheduled date was made to eliminate any danger posed by the possibility of further vandalism to those fences, and to allow the project team to focus their energies on installing the other artworks in the ten-artist exhibition and on preparations for a public celebration and opening this weekend. Currently, the project team plans to de-install the other two fences on Saturday morning; the fence sections will be stacked in the park through the weekend, and will be removed by the company which provided them during the week of March 31.

On Saturday, March 29, Beyond the Compass, Beyond the Square will officially open to the public with the culmination of an interactive "street sweep" scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In The Baltimore Street Sweep Action: Towards the Center, artists and volunteers will form four "parades" (anyone wishing to participate should meet the organizers at one of the step-off points: Charles and 25th Street, Madison and Washington Street, Mosher Street at Druid Hill Avenue, and Pratt Street at Charles) and will sweep the streets leading to the parks from the east, west, south, and north. The four groups will converge at the southern park and work with artist Jonathan Taube to complete an interactive/collaborative sculpture. At 1 p.m., the full exhibition will open and the afternoon will feature docent-led tours, family activities, and entertainment. The exhibition features works by eight additional MICA student artists: Daniel Allende, Rachel Faller, Emma Fowler, Um-Gi Lee, Rebecca Nagle, Mackenzie Peck, Michael Ries, and Dana Solano.

The exhibition was organized and curated by students in MICA's Exhibition Development Seminar. All of the artists were students in the interdisciplinary sculpture class Conversation as Muse. Installed outside of the Walters Art Museum in the four historic parks of Mount Vernon Place, the exhibition is part of the city-wide Festival of Maps. Beyond the Compass, Beyond the Square garners inspiration from the Walters Art Museum's Maps: Finding Our Place in the World, and the work of each the artists in the exhibition explores a new and unique way of mapping. Complete project detail, including a factsheet with information about the community input and permits/permissions received for this exhibition, information on how to participate in The Baltimore Street Sweep Action, and a complete public programs schedule can be found at www.mica.edu/beyond.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.