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Misfit Cups of the World, Unite!
**PLEASE NOTE: THIS SALON SERIES HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR MAY 23. PREVIOUS REGISTRATIONS WILL BE HONORED FOR THE NEW DATE. IF YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED AND ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND, PLEASE LET US KNOW AT 612-206-3100 OR firstname.lastname@example.org.**
What does a cup mean to you? If you received a ceramic mug as a promotional giveaway at some fair, convention, or sporting event, it could be just a free thing that you happened to pick up and is now collecting dust in the back of your cupboard. But suppose that you happened to meet your significant other at the same place you got that cup, that you answered the phone and heard some horribly bad news, or that you were on an amazing vacation and a mug was one of the things you brought back. In these cases, something that was given to you for free can become a memento of the happiest moments in your life or a reminder of troubled times. A whole range of emotions and memories can be invested into a thing – like a ceramic cup – by an endless number of owners, and the connection between the object and the person can reveal so much about our hopes and aspirations, our fears and failures. They become physical manifestations of memory, something we can always cherish or choose to leave behind.
Artist, professor, and craft activist Michael Strand is intrigued by the “lives” of everyday objects and how the dynamic between people and their things, particularly ceramics, can expose new ideas about individuals, family relationships, and communities. His previous craft activism initiatives include meeting four generations of a particular family, learning their history, and then creating ceramic cup “heirlooms” that the family will bequeath to future children. Another of his projects involved him and a large team decorating sandbags - which would be used to protect Strand’s hometown of Fargo from rising floodwaters – with jokes, inspirational words, and drawings. When viewed by emergency volunteers, these sandbags offered encouragement and fostered a greater sense of community between people working together to prevent their town from suffering a natural disaster.
“What does a cup mean to you?” is a question that Michael Strand grapples with in his latest initiative that will be featured at the May 23 Salon Series: the Misfit Cup Liberation Project. This interactive art experience asks audience members to bring their old, unwanted cups – be they bought in a boutique or purchased at Goodwill – to trade for a brand new one, handmade by Strand. The price for the exchange is a story about the old cup - how the owner came to possess it, and why he or she is willing to let it go. The Misfit Cup Liberation Project made its debut in 2012 at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo and has since been exhibited in Houston and Tallinn, Estonia, and will have its Minnesota premiere at the ACC April Salon. Strand’s goal is to trade or “liberate” 1,000 cups worldwide and end the project with an anthropological study of what humans across the globe value, as seen through these misfit objects.
Besides the Misfit Cup Liberation Project, Strand will talk about other aspects of his work at the Salon Series, as well as a new collaborative project with the American Craft Council Library. If you have a cup you are willing to let go, and if you want to hear about fantastic community engagement through craft activism, come to the ACC Library Salon Series on Thursday, May 23, at 7 p.m. for a truly unique interactive art experience!
**REGISTRATION FOR CUP EXCHANGE IS NOW FULL, BUT THERE IS STILL SPACE AVAILABLE FOR THE EVENT.**
Please note: This event is free, but space and cups available for exchange are limited. To attend, register here.
Presented by the American Craft Council, the Library Salon Series is a series of free public presentations exploring craft, making, and art. Check out past Salon Series events.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.