Art inspires emotion, then art at BTPL

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published March 5, 2018

 John Thomas Biggers’ painting “The Mandolin Player” was installed last week for a temporary exhibition at the Bloomfield Township Public Library.

John Thomas Biggers’ painting “The Mandolin Player” was installed last week for a temporary exhibition at the Bloomfield Township Public Library.

Photo provided by Tera Moon, of the Bloomfield Township Public Library

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Art often evokes emotions and opinions from its viewers.

But sometimes, those thoughts might fall on deaf ears.

Not at the Bloomfield Township Public Library, where a mini exhibition has been placed on display in collaboration with the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. “Muse at the Museum” aims to combine music with art and public response to create a unique performance experience.

Composer William Banfield — a Detroit native and a professor of African-American studies and music and society at Berklee College of Music — has been commissioned by the festival organization to write a new piece of music inspired by the painting, on loan from the Wright Museum and displayed inside the library. The piece, considered a valued component of the Wright’s collection, depicts a black musician against the backdrop of an impoverished black community.

The painting, titled “The Mandolin Player,” will be up through March 14 alongside materials to give visitors a chance to record their response to the work. In addition to written reactions, patrons are encouraged to get creative and respond with poetry, drawings or any other medium they feel best illustrates their unique feelings.

The responses will be used in an upcoming concert at the Wright Museum in June, where interpretations of the artwork will inspire spoken word artists, jazz and techno musicians, and other performances.

“We believe that the public component is very important to this creative process and want to encourage as many people as possible to share their voices from the community,” Anne Ruffley, of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, said in a prepared statement.

“The library is excited to help this conversation between the public and the artist happen,” added Tera Moon, assistant director of the Bloomfield Township Public Library.

For more information, call the library at (248) 642-5800.

The Bloomfield Township Public Library is located at 1099 Lone Pine Road in Bloomfield Township.