Wednesday, April 16, 2014

From Our Notebooks: Early sketches of "Night at the Tower"

Merli's been hard at work on Luminarium's Night at the Tower project happening later this season. Check out this blog post chronicling her thoughts along the way!

Merli V. Guerra

Time for some simple sketches!

Each season, Luminarium creates a new body of work centered around a previously-untapped cultural landmark through the integration of dance and the arts. In 2012, it was the Celebration of Preservation Project at the centennial anniversary of Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House (Concord MA), and in 2013, it was the Threading Motion Project at the New England Quilt Museum (Lowell MA).

Now, as Luminarium's 2014 Season continues to pick up speed, I find myself hurtling towards one of the most complicated projects I've taken on to date: The Water Tower Project (or as Luminarium has now marketed it, "Night at the Tower"). In short, my goal is to transform the water tower at Park Circle (Arlington MA) into a breathing work of art, through dance and artistic film projections, while accentuating the architecture of this local landmark. The support we've received both within and beyond the Arlington Cultural Council is inspiration enough! And now that we have our date set (Saturday, September 6, 7-9pm . Park Circle, Arlington MA) and a new-found appreciation and understanding of local government (Ask me about it sometime...), it's now time to consider, construct, and create.

Please enjoy these early thoughts and sketches of the project, and if you have contacts or suggestions for ways to make this happen to the level that it's playing out in my head, please reach out! Leave a comment below, or write me at mguerra (at)

A very early sketch from the start of the season, showing
the dancers performing on the path along the front of the
tower, and (maybe??) some inside the tower's overlook!

"Digital sketches" of the Water Tower Project:

Ideally, I'm looking for a short-throw projector that can
cover the entire front surface of the tower. Among the pieces
I plan to project, last year's film The One I Keep is a work
that I feel would look beautiful in this space, with its
thousands of pieces of paper flying up and out the tower walls.

Through the help of Linda Shoemaker at the Arlington
Center for the Arts, I'll be creating a video feed devoted
to the impact of the tower on the town. This series will
combine early photographs from the 1920s (when the tower
was built) along with the ACA's collection of artwork depicting
the tower through the eyes and minds of Arlington's professionals
and children over the years. Viewers will have the chance
to see their own artwork stretched across the tower's walls!

Performative digital sketch:

And of course, no new project would be complete without
the creation of one entirely new work. My mind has been
bubbling for quite some time, but in the end, I think I have
settled on a new work involving projections of bright,
dripping watercolors cascading down the tower, with our
dancers performing an equally vibrant piece below. Perhaps
last year's colorful umbrellas can also once again join the mix?

Luminarium's Night at the Tower will be held Saturday, September 6, 7-9pm, at the water tower at Park Circle, Arlington MA--Just off Rt. 2!

This project is supported by a grant from the Arlington Cultural Council, a branch of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.