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Quilting Community AQS News


Over 8,000 “Dream Theme” Panels Will Be Stitched Together

by Jennifer Marsh, Director, The Dream Rocket

Huntsville, Alabama, October 12, 2009 – One of the 20th-century icons, the 37-story Saturn V Moon Rocket, will be transformed into the world’s largest collaborative public art project – the Dream Rocket.

By May 2010 over 8,000 panels, created by students and individuals from more than 100 countries, will be stitched together and installed as a 36,467-square-foot wrap on the 37-story tall Saturn V rocket replica located at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The Saturn V was recently named “One of America’s Seven Wonders” by ABC’s Good Morning America.

Each of the panels will express a “dream theme” –– each participant’s hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow.

“We want people all over the world to dream those audacious dreams and to inspire them to make their dreams come true,” said Dream Rocket Director Professor Jennifer Marsh, one of the leading figures in collaborative public art. “The Dream Rocket will symbolize not just the dreams of individuals, but also the power of global collaboration.”

Huntsville, known as “The Rocket City,” is a quiet Southern town that was transformed into America’s ”Birthplace of Space” and is now one of the nation’s leading high-technology centers. Huntsville expects visitors from all over the world during the two months that the Dream Rocket will be on display in May and June 2010. A huge crowd is expected to witness the completion of the wrapping, with a grand celebration afterwards.

“This will be a spectacle involving the largest available cranes and a helicopter to help place the wrap on the tallest portion,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “Once in place, it will be a powerful image for all –– especially those whose artwork is included,” said Mayor Battle. “We live in an entrepreneurial city and we know how important collaboration is. The Dream Rocket will be right at home here.”

The 363 foot tall Saturn V rocket is located at the US Space and Rocket Center and dominates the Huntsville skyline. The original Saturn V rocket, lies beside the upright replica. US Space and Rocket Center’s CEO, Larry Capps, said, “It’s a very interesting idea. We’ve always focused our efforts on the notion of getting youngsters excited about their future, and Jennifer’s idea walks hand-in-hand with that goal. So if wrapping the rocket might influence some budding young artist, or scientist, then we’re behind it.”

“Anyone can be involved,” said Marsh, who teaches public art at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Any group or individual can reserve a two-foot-square panel for $100. Sponsors can also reserve a panel for those who cannot afford the cost. “For example, this week I heard from a woman who wants to sponsor 10 panels for school children from Africa. Our website will help link the artists and the sponsors.”

“A crucial element of both art and technology is the importance that creativity plays in both disciplines for the benefit of society,” said UAHuntsville President David Williams. “We applaud Professor Marsh’s initiative to bring together the dreams of a world through artistic elements and tie those inspirations to one of the most enterprising engineering projects in history.”

“This is a fabulous project,” added Paul Finley, Madison’s Mayor. “Combining dreams with education, while making it fun is a win-win for everyone involved. In today’s world, it is critical to bridge the gap between book learning and real-world examples––and The Dream Rocket project does just that.”

The Dream Rocket is a part of the International Fiber Collaborative, a non-profit organization that enables people to collaborate with other communities and countries worldwide on a single mission. Marsh has directed two previous collaborative art projects that have received global attention, and is recognized as one of the leading figures in collaborative public art. In April of this year, she directed the “Interdependence Tree,” a project that involved over 8,000 handmade leaves contributed from 39 US states and 23 countries.

The Dream Rocket’s website encourages participants to incorporate dream themes including health, energy, peace, technology, science, community, conservation, poverty and space. Marsh is also reaching out to other non-profit organizations that embody the work of these dreams, so that participants can be inspired by linking directly to organizations like Doctors Without Borders, the American Red Cross, United Nations Volunteers, Coral Reef Alliance, Oceans of Opportunity, UNICEF, Water Aid, World Vision, Action Against Hunger, Aids Action Coalition, US Space and Rocket Center, NASA, and the Interfaith Mission Services, among others.

“We’re very excited about The Dream Rocket project,” said Judy Ryals, CEO of Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The exposure that this unique project will bring to the arts and culture community in Huntsville and Madison County is sure to be impressive and bring many visitors to see the feat firsthand.”

Marsh has an ongoing web-relationship with hundreds of teachers around the world who use her projects in their classrooms to teach about art, culture and science. She expects that panels produced in classroom projects will make up a big part of The Dream Rocket wrap.