Meet The Myth Makers: Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein

At the heart of TEMPOart’s latest installation, “Dancing for Joy (By the Will of the People),” are the creative minds of Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, known collectively as The Myth Makers. This blog post offers a glimpse into the lives and work of these internationally renowned artists, shedding light on their unique collaboration and artistic journey.

Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein bring together a profound love of the wild and an appreciation for the natural world. Dodson, a graduate of Wellesley College, is currently a Resident Scholar at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center and a Visual Art Fellow at the St. Botolph Club in Boston. Her fascination with the mysterious nature of birds fuels her imagination and artistic expression.

Moerlein, a Dartmouth College and Cornell University alumnus, is a lifelong art educator and community activist. His inspiration often stems from natural events that leave indelible visual marks, igniting a narrative chord in his artwork.

A Journey of Creativity and Collaboration

Dodson and Moerlein have completed over 50 projects in the past 13 years, working across 18 states and internationally in Switzerland, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Their monumental, ephemeral sculptures, crafted from natural materials, are designed to be site-specific and temporary, creating a unique dialogue with their environment and audience.

Their work has received national recognition and numerous accolades. Notably, The State of New Jersey Senate and General Assembly praised their Phoenix Festival for bringing honor to Camden. In 2017, their project “The Dance” was highlighted when the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum received the National Medal for Museum Service. Artnet and the Huffington Post named their “Avian Avatars” the most beautiful art show in New York City in 2015.

Creating “Dancing for Joy”

The collaboration between Dodson and Moerlein for TEMPOart’s “Dancing for Joy” is a celebration of nature, community, and love. This twenty-foot bamboo sculpture of two great egrets performing their mating dance symbolizes not only the local birdlife of Back Cove but also the dynamic movement of people within this cherished space.

The artists’ creative process began with a deep understanding of the local environment and its inhabitants. Dodson’s inspiration from birds and Moerlein’s narrative-driven approach combined to create a piece that is both visually stunning and rich in meaning.

In interviews, Dodson and Moerlein share their excitement about the project and its impact. “We wanted to create something that not only reflects the beauty of Back Cove but also engages the community in a meaningful way,” says Dodson. Moerlein adds, “The great egrets, with their flamboyant mating dance, perfectly symbolize the joy and freedom we wish to celebrate through this installation.”

“Dancing for Joy” by The Myth Makers is more than just a public art installation; it is a testament to the power of collaboration, the beauty of nature, and the spirit of community. As we prepare to unveil this magnificent sculpture, we invite you to join us in celebrating the artists behind the masterpiece and the vibrant creativity they bring to Portland.

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