Dancing for Joy (By the Will of the People)

Dancing for Joy (By the Will of the People) by The Myth Makers
Landing in Back Cove Trail and Park June 2024

We are pleased to announce TEMPOart’s 2024-2025 temporary public art commission, Dancing for Joy (By the Will of the People). Created by internationally renowned artists Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein of The Myth Makers, Dancing for Joy will be a large installation situated on Back Cove Trail and Park in Portland, ME for up to two years beginning June 2024. 

About the Project

This twenty foot bamboo sculpture will feature two monumental great egrets performing their distinctive mating dance on the shores of the Back Cove. This duet symbolizes the  local bird life of the cove and the way people move in and out of and connect to this special place. Back Cove Trail is used by over 250,000 people a year in all seasons. Dancing for Joy will attract even more, amplifying the Trail as a hub of community activity because of TEMPOart’s extensive programming, and will also enhance the local creative economy.

The collaboration between Dodson and Moerlein grows out of a mutual love of the wild. Dodson takes inspiration from the mysterious nature of birds that spark her imagination. Moerlein takes inspiration from events in the natural world that leave visual marks and strike a narrative chord in the artist. Although monumental in scale, their ephemeral bamboo sculptures are temporary in nature. Made from natural materials, they are site specific, and respond to their local audience.

Dancing for Joy, reflecting the artists’ love of the wild, will celebrate the beauty of nature, in this case great egrets, and foster among viewers an appreciation of the nature that surrounds the greater Portland community. Great Egrets are flamboyant and vivid. Each spring they grow extravagant plumes and leap with abandon to attract and impress a mate. They are unusual birds that share all nesting and child care duties. This work of art will be a meeting place, a place for children to play in and run through. A glittering silver white and nearly 20 feet tall, it will be a beacon, visible from many views along the Back Cove trail. Dancing for Joy is designed for all ages. The doorways are a variety of sizes. Which entry suits you? Can you dance your best show off prance through the display of the Dancing Great Egrets?

Public Events & Programs

Thursday June 13, 5-6PM, Community Opening (June 14 Rain Date)
Free and open to the public, see Dancing for Joy for the first time, meet the artists, and mingle with our creative community! Music performances by Maine Academy of Music.

Saturday June 15, 10AM-12PM: Discovering Creativity of Building with Bamboo
Free and open to the public, all are welcome. In this hands-on workshop, participants will experience the strength and versatility of bamboo first hand, and practice the tools and techniques (even secrets!) used by TEMPOart Artists in Residence The Myth Makers, Donna Dodson& Andy Moerlein to make monumental sculptures.

Using ancient skills taught to the Myth Makers by an octogenarian Taiwanese bamboo master, participants will take bamboo poles and split them into flexible strips. Using this split bamboo, and the unique tools and materials provided, participants will experience the thrill of bamboo art construction. No experience required and all ages 12 and above can accomplish the skills needed to have a delightful experience. Younger children are welcome to work with their parent. This workshop is an opportunity to build with bamboo and create something both useful and lovely. Suggested: garden gloves and sunglasses handy but not required. Outdoors! Check weather and dress appropriately: sunscreen, raingear?

Registration required; please email manager [at] tempoartmaine.org to register.

Presentation by The Myth Makers at Catalyst 2024

Did you miss our annual fundraiser Cataylst? Check out the slides from The Myth Makers’ presentation.

Photo of The Myth Makers by David Wade from Catalyst 2024