Open Late – Spring Cleaning

The Sponge HQ has its first graduates. To mark the moment the space was thoroughly spring-cleaned, cake was baked and lemonade brewed with honey from the 2012 bees. A new hive, built by Eric Stepp, has been installed and awaits its next generation of occupants. In the stillness of transition we opened our doors as part of an Anderson Gallery Open Late and Richmond’s First Friday.

The past semester has been all about action beyond the space and these shores, with Hope heading to Sweden for the European Academy of Design Conference, for which Julia Hundley produced a fleet of cast foam sponges. Bundles of those forms returned felted, neatly labeled in distinctive cursive scripts and bringing home the energy and echo of these distant participants. Such exchange was also evidenced in Doha for the Tasmeem Middle East Art & Design Conference – ever more context to the evolving practice and pedagogy of the Sponge HQ, rooted so firmly back here at VCU.

Tonight there was a take-away thanks to sponge-on-sponge printing. Be it a tube, vase or antler sponge, folks went home ready to scrub with freshly emblazoned T-shirts too. On the floor Clare van Loenen’s hand-crocheted rug to gather on for the ongoing needle felting of the remaining sponge forms and plenty of continuing conversations. On screen the documentary, ‘Queen of the Sun’.

So to the bidding of farewell to the original sponge monitors 2011 to 2013 – Coleen, Julia and Riley. Whatever reef you attach to may it be part of an inspirational journey. We salute you!

Hope Ginsburg with graduating Sponge HQ monitors S. Riley Duncan, Coleen Billing and Julia Hundley and participants Colleen Brennan, Patrick Carter, JoJo Houff, Gavin Foster and Clare van Loenen. Photos by Joshua Quarles.

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