The weekend of April 20-22, “Power Plant Beloit,” a colorful large-scale fabric installation, was unveiled in the Powerhouse.
Photo by: Bonnie Willison’17
The piece was first envisioned by Amanda Browder, an alumna of the class of ‘98 and a current Brooklyn-based textile artist. For the 2017-18 academic year, Amanda was invited back to her alma mater to be Beloit’s Victor E. Ferrall, Jr. Endowed Artist-in-Residence. One of the college’s seven residencies, the Ferrall Endowed Artists-in-Residence Program invites distinguished visual or performing artists to campus to teach, direct workshops, and perform/exhibit their works.
Since her graduation twenty years ago, Amanda has indeed crafted a remarkable CV. After earning her B.A. in Studio Art from Beloit, Amanda went on to earn her M.A. and M.F.A. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She taught for several years at the Art Institute of Chicago, before eventually moving to New York City to focus on her art career.
A textile artist, Amanda specializes in large-scale fabric installations for building exteriors and other public sites. Her work has been recognized both nationally and internationally at festivals, art shows, and in publications. Amanda was one of the innovative artists featured in the book Unexpected Art, and she is also the founder of the podcast, Bad at Sports.
Upon accepting the residency at Beloit, Amanda arrived with a mission to involve the entire community in every aspect of the creative process, from material collection to construction and exhibition. Every inch of fabric in “Power Plant Beloit” was donated by a person living in the Beloit community, including students, faculty and staff, and city/town of Beloit residents. As she prepared for the exhibit’s opening, Amanda remarked that one of her favorite aspects of the project was the individual stories it represented: “If you can imagine, each piece of this project is representative of the city. Somebody that lives here. Somebody that works here. And it’s going to be a celebration of all of us as a community as one big visual representation.”
After hosting a series of community sewing days, “Power Plant Beloit” was completed, and the awe-inspiring installation was displayed via a large crane in the under-construction Powerhouse. The massive size of the finished piece not only spoke to the collaboration between campus and community residents in the making of “Power Plant Beloit,” but also alluded to the relationship that is meant to continue with the anticipated completion of the Powerhouse in 2019. Envisioned to be a space that further bridges Beloit College to the surrounding city, the Powerhouse will be a central gathering space where campus and community members can gather to eat, study, exercise, exchange ideas and collaborate. And as the scale of “Power Plant Beloit” alluded, there already appear to be limitless ways in which the Powerhouse can spark creative collaborations.
Visit Amanda Browder's website to find out more about her and what she’s working on next.