Chelsye Garrett, a Donaghey and McNair Scholar at UALR, dropped a bomb on the Arkansas Arts Center last week — a “yarn bomb,” that is.
Garrett is a furniture design major at UALR who worked with officials at the Arts Center’s Education Department for six months, organizing a large scale project to literally “crotchet” the Arts Center building and give it the look of being completely wrapped in a homemade blanket.
The project involved knitters from across the country, as well as abroad, who helped assemble the quilt-like design onto wood frames, which were then installed on the facade of the Arkansas Art Center.
Garrett hosted “Knit in Public” events in which people were donated knitting needles, crochet hooks, yarn and lessons, and she formed a Facebook group to reach artists from as close as Texas and as far away as Canada and Chile.
The installation took about 41 hours in total and roughly 80 volunteers.
It started with a spring semester internship, during which time Garrett worked with Lou Palermo from the Arts Center. After the end of the internship, Garrett continued the project on her own time and coordinated the volunteers, many of them UALR art students, to help wrap the Arts Center’s fountain, trees and light poles in yarn and knitted materials.
The installation covers roughly 1,200 square-feet of surface at the entrance to the museum.
The color-scheme begins where cool blues and green panels are lower to the ground and gradually evolve into warmer purples and yellows, with warm pinks and reds at the very top as the knitted panels travel up the building.
Her visually compelling and unified look has received the attention of local television and print media. InArkansas.com even highlighted the work as its favorite Instagram photo for the week.
InArkansas noted: “Colorful patterned patches of yarn have taken over the beautiful entrance of the center, covering even various trees and shrubbery with yarn flowers, dangling ornaments and I even spotted a cute bunny rabbit!”
Garrett told InArkansas that it was important the installation featured an interactive quality, drawing viewers in and fully immersing them in the space.