I have to start this post with a shout-out to Tammy Parks. Every time I consider public art, I think of her and the discussions we had about it in her room. Thanks for calling my attention to the beautiful things around us, or the lack thereof. I hope you and DP are well. Up and out!
It is quite easy to ignore the recreational offerings available in the town where you live. It does not seem to be the case that you actively ignore these opportunities, but rather that you can put them off because they are always there. For example, when I was an undergrad at Pitt, I had free admission to many of the Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh; I went once to two of these museums.* What’s more, the Soldiers and Sailors Museum is on campus, and the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History are across the street. I am a textbook procrastinator, it seems, even with regard to things that aren’t work-related.
In my efforts to say “yes” to things, I am trying not to let any opportunities slip by in Damme. One of the best pieces of advice we received at ETA orientation from one of the former ETAs was to try to leave the house at least once each day. It seems obvious, but if you have no plans, it is really easy to sit around in your pajamas eating slices of cheese and watching American television on the internet. Or so I hear. If you don’t live in the center of town, you might not see other people when you look out your window and forget that people are out doing things. You could be one of those people! You just need a purpose.
The Kunst+Kultur-Kreis Damme, The Arts and Culture Circle of Damme, decided to call attention to the public art in town. They numbered each of the town’s 37 sculptures, placed them on a map, et voila, you have the Damme Skulpturenpfad, or Damme Sculpture Path. The map is available for free at the Rathaus or the Dammer-Berge Tourist Office. I grabbed my trusty companion, Sir Quacks-A-Lot, picked up a map and decided to check out 11 of sculptures in between rain showers. This might seem like an arbitrary number, but geographically, this was the best way to break it up. It turned out to be a really cool and easy way to call attention to artworks I had never noticed before. I had literally ridden past each one of these on my bicycle several times, and never stopped to look. It felt a lot like geocaching.
Is there anything in your town you might be missing? Take walk sometime and check out what your area has to see. The TV and delicious saturated fats will be there waiting when you back.
Sculptures 1-11: “Title” Title Translation, Artist, Location (translations by Heidi)
- “Moorbäume” Moor Trees, Gerhard A. O. Schmidt, Mühlenstraße
- “Welle” Waves, Kenji Takahashi, Mühlenstraße
- “Die Narrensäule” The Fool’s Column, Realschüler (Realschule students), Mühlenstraße
- “König und Königen” King and Queen, Hans J. Müller, Große Straße
- “Viktorbrunnen” St. Victor’s Fountain, Ferdinand Starmann, The Church Square
- “Ohr an Stele” Ear on a Stele, Dirk Höller, Große Straße
- “Seitenblick” Sideways Glance, Hans J. Müller, Große Straße
- “Knotensaüle” Knotted Column, Dirk Höller, Große Straße
- “Mobilzilium” Stefan Suthe, Friedhofstraße
- “Totem-Wal” Totem Whale, Hans-Jürgen Pille, Parkplatz (parking lot) Leiber-Scheune
- “Schattenträger” Shadow Bearer, Wolf E. Schultz, Parkplatz (parking lot) Rathaus
* Side note: To be fair, my friend and I tried to go the Warhol Museum one night to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We rode the bus right past our stop without noticing, and got off instead at a strip club in a not-so-great part of town. The bus driver even asked us, “Are you sure this is where you’re going?” (If a city bus driver expresses anything resembling concern for your well-being, you should also be concerned.) We walked towards downtown, too terrified to stand and wait for the bus back. A kind man about our age, who was pushing his little brother around in a shopping cart, stopped and told us that we “shouldn’t be walking around here alone,” told us to get across the bridge and downtown ASAP. Three hours later, we made it back to our dorm physically unharmed, but now both of our brains will forever associate “the Arts” with “trauma.”