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Madison Arts Commission Blink Temporary Public Art Transforms Concrete Shelter in James Madison Park with Canvas, Paint, and Light

MADISON, Wis. - Chris Murphy's first major work in Madison was helping to produce the legendary Statue of Liberty installation on frozen Lake Mendota in 1979, 14 years before his current collaborator, Loey Blue, was born.

Now Murphy is directing the production of "In Light of Everything" -an installation of canvas, paint, and projected light - not far from the site of his previous work. Blue, a 17-year-old senior at Malcolm Shabazz City High School is the youngest artist to receive Madison Arts Commission BLINK! funding. She painted the canvas and created the art for the projections. Murphy serves as a mentor and electrician for the installation.

"In Light of Everything" runs from Thursday, September 9 through Friday, October 22, 2010 in James Madison Park.

"The city's BLINK grant program is such a gift," says Murphy. "BLINK creates a channel for Loey to share her talent, for her to express the world she and her friends inhabit in a creative, amusing way that anyone passing by, day or night, can enjoy."

The painted, hung canvas depicts kids sitting on a curb in an urban setting. At night, silhouetted images are projected on the canvas over the figures.

The kids are idle - or deep in thought - or both. The subjects sit below an expanse of white space, until evening. Then Murphy's light system kicks in and Blue's stencils are projected on the canvas above the friends. The light stencils are objects of nature: a leaf, a bunny, a cloud. Sixteen such images appear as background or "sky" objects.

"Madison is such an awesome place to grow up, and I tried to reflect everything I love about the city in the painting," says Blue. "I really appreciate just sitting on the curb with good company, when it's hot and there is nothing to do."

This project was funded by the Madison Arts Commission BLINK! program: The artists also wish to thank the City of Madison Parks Division and the Board of Parks Commissioners, especially Parks Superintendent Kevin Briski, Development Manager Kay Rutledge, Landscape Architect Bill Bauer, and Facility Maintenance Supervisor Tom Scaife. Additional in-kind support provided by Mike Duffy, Ruth Shelly and the Madison Children's Museum, and Metal Skills Plus. Special thanks to District 2 Alder Bridget Maniaci and residents of the Tenney-Lapham/James Madison Park Neighborhood for lending their garden space.

Chris Murphy -
Linda Kietzer -


Loey Blue is currently a senior at Shabazz City High School, where she has cajoled teachers to convert most of her written assignments to visual presentations. When she was in 7th grade, she helped Madison artist Sharon Kilfoy produce the Wil-Mar Center mural. Loey has also been providing face-painting and henna services for summer festivals around town, fundraisers for the Madison Children's Museum, and painting services for Ride the Drive and Cycropia Dance. She recently completed work on a mosaic project for the Madison Children's Museum.

Loey's experiences at Shabazz City High School have taken her to the Pine Ridge South Dakota reservation of the Oglala Sioux Indians, where she has helped put new roofs on homes, skirted trailers, and built outhouses. She was recently a member of Shabazz's Project Green Teen, a semester-long curriculum of classes on the environment and ecology. On Sunday mornings you can find her volunteering for Madison's REAP program, which provides healthy snacks for local schools.

In her free time, Loey enjoys hula hooping, zine-making, and biking around town. She also likes to make stop-motion films with friends.

This is her favorite quote, by, Margaret Kilgallen, the late artist:

"…I spend a lot of time going over the line trying to make it straight, I'll never be able to make it straight. From a distance it might look straight, but when you get close up, you can always see the line waver. And I think that's where the beauty is."

A selection of Loey's artwork can be viewed here:

C Murphy's sculptural obsession began with his work on Pail and Shovel's Statue of Liberty II in 1979, in which a semi-submerged Lady Liberty appeared on Lake Mendota. Murphy says the success of this public art experience steered him into the three- dimensional arena because "the public response with this potent symbol impressed me so much that I wanted the direct communication with people that public art affords."

Murphy breathes new life into the discarded electronic materials that he handles daily as an electrician and repurposes these bits of colorful metal into engaging wiry animal and bug sculptures. His work embraces his love of disparate stuff with classic Wisconsin iconography. See for examples of his work.
In 2008 Murphy worked with Milwaukee arts group IN:SITE and produced a relief sculpture called "Choros." This group effort involved more than 90 face casts of community volunteers, which he mounted against two solar-powered panels, lighting them up at night. Each face represented a person killed by gunfire in the City of Milwaukee during 2007.

More recently, Murphy received BLINK funding for "Girl on a Ledge," which featured a glowing girl reading a book atop the Madison Children's Museum during its construction. See


  • Karin Wolf, Madison Arts Program Administrator, 608.261.9134
  • Christopher Murphy, 608 575-3853
  • Linda Kietzer, 608 692-1017