‘Forge’ satisfies the curious and the creative
Art exhibit celebrates the rich industrial history of east side
Forge, an art event at the Madison Brass Works, opened June 10 to a crowd curious and excited to explore 18 artists’ installations nestled into the historic, industrial building that inspired the art. Forge, which was an enormous gift to our community, was curated and organized by Ellen Carlson and Erika Monroe-Kane.
They did an incredible job with every detail, and the 1,500 or more visitors who got to see it appreciated every part of it.The new art and the old building evoked memories, aroused senses and expanded their regard for the dignity of the work that happened there. Using a stack of old-fashioned time cards to record their comments, visitors said: “Damp and Dangerous. Loved it.” “This space and this show is amazing. Love, Love, Love all this rusty stuff!” “Thank you for giving this history LIFE again.” “An unexpected beauty.”
Monroe-Kane remarked, “I loved that we had people particularly drawn in by the building, those who came for the art, and people who stopped off the bike path just because they were curious. This mix was really wonderful because it created a situation where everyone could be surprised by something unexpected.”
Carlson agreed and added, “The community response was even greater than we imagined it would be. Seeing how people engaged with the art and the building was rewarding for us as organizers and curators, but also for the artists who often were among the crowd visiting the exhibition. It was truly a special opportunity and we couldn’t have done it without the trust of Goodman Community Center or the vision and commitment of the artists.”
As a central part of Forge, Carlson and Monroe-Kane invited the Goodman Community Center to exhibit our plans for the Madison Brass Works building — construction will begin in August or September. Without exception, people we talked with were pleased to see Goodman expanding to do even greater good in our community. We feel lucky to live in a place where people value such creativity and community.