Harvesting art at Five Corners

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To the Editor:

As summer arrives, bringing with it many changes, some may have noticed there’s something new and exciting happening at Five Corners. Right now, the Island Housing Trust (IHT), a nonprofit affordable-housing developer, advocate, and land steward, is finalizing plans for six permanently affordable rental apartments on Water Street, Vineyard Haven, next to Stop and Shop. In the fall, the house that was gifted to IHT in 2012 will be torn down to make way for those apartments. In the meantime, that property is providing a temporary home for art.

If you’ve driven through Five Corners lately, you’ve seen the community art project underway. We realize that seeing an old building covered in graffiti in downtown Vineyard Haven may strike people as an unusual choice. Some might even wonder if the building has been vandalized. I’m here to assure you that it has not. We’re simply presenting an art form that we don’t often see on the Island, if at all. While I think it’s exciting to see something new, modern, and fun bring more cultural diversity to our Island, I also think it’s important that people understand what’s happening with the building, so everyone’s not left wondering.

What’s happening at the Water Street house is a work of art spearheaded by Craig Miner of Whatever the Outcome (WTO), an art movement that exists to “harvest joy” by bringing together a collective of artists to create dynamic art. Over the past three years, more than 100 local artists have contributed to WTO projects and have raised funds for Island charities through their artwork.

On this project, Mr. Miner is joined by some of the island’s finest artists: Dan VanLandingham, Traeger di Pietro, Terry Crimmen, and Lauren Coggins Tuttle. IHT’s purpose in embarking on this project was to strengthen community and bring life to a building that’s been lifeless for so long. The project is temporary, as demolition is slated for the fall. It’s also a work in progress, one that will continue to evolve over the coming weeks and culminate in four canvases being joined together on the front of the building in July. Those canvases will then be sold as a benefit for the school art departments.

The IHT would like to say thank you to the Town of Tisbury Building Department and Board of Selectmen for their willingness to allow local artists the ability to express themselves through this public community art project. We invite everyone to come watch the evolving artwork in the upcoming weeks.

The Island Housing Trust is providing a temporary home for art until it can provide permanent homes for our residents, and we hope you will put your trust in us.

Sophie Abrams

Island Housing Trust