USM Art Galleries Gorham and Portland

2000 — Common Ground Gazebo, Alan Holt



Common Ground Gazebo
Alan Holt
University of Southern Maine
Back Bay Community Garden, Portland, ME

Alan Holt (2000)

Alan Holt, as Artist-in-Residence with the University of Southern Maine Art Department, led a class of art students through a Collaborative Design/Build Project to create community-based public art.

Working at the site of a community garden, Holt and the undergraduate art students met with children from adjacent public housing and elders of a neighboring nursing home to identify common needs and aspirations.

The resulting Common Ground Gazebo, funded by the USM Art Department and built by the Holt and his students, incorporates over 120 ceramic tiles, painted by the children and elders.

The gazebo also features a six-sided faceted skylight with etched text based on a blessing in the Somali language. The text (“community, spirit, place”) is translated into six languages that represent the different heritages of the participating children.