There is really no way to forget 9/11 on its tenth anniversary, but there are ways to acknowledge it and maybe move on, some small act that we can do. What remains important is people -- people communing with other people, shoulder-to-shoulder, possibly in some sort of creative civic project. Here in Denver, Alicia Bailey of Abecedarian Gallery in the Art District on Santa Fe is teaming up with surreptitious art-bombers the Magnet Mafia on just such a project, inspired by the annual Big Draw, a community-based program sponsored in the UK by the Campaign for Drawing to get people -- all people -- to pick up a pencil and draw.
"Usually in October, they subsidize towns all over the UK to come up with different projects," Bailey explains. One town, she adds, even picked up on another Bailey/Mafia team project, wherein they hosted an art-magnet exchange with a town in Austria, and tried it themselves. But for this year's The Big Draw at Abecedarian, which culminates there on Sunday, the focus is strictly on the local community.
"I wanted to do something on September 11, but I wanted it to be about something completely different than thinking about the repercussions of that day," Bailey continues. "And I wanted to get people involved in way that also involves the city and even the actual architecture of the city. It seems like a good link."
To that end, anyone is invited to drop by the gallery this week, where an accompanying Little Draw exhibit is on display, to pick up a six-inch-square vinyl magnet and a Sharpie to take home, decorate it and return by Sunday at at 3 p.m. Or, you can join in with others to draw on magnets between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. that day. As the magnets come in, they'll be photographed; after Sunday, the Magnet Mafia will set out to distribute them on metal surfaces all over town, with a message on the back for anyone who finds one, inviting them to snap a picture of the magnet and then relocate it, even they simply take it home and place in on the fridge.
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And - pssst - if you're the sort of person who thinks it would be more fun to find a magnet, rather than create one, Bailey offers these clues: "They typically end up in Highland or probably on Santa Fe and in RiNo." East Colfax in downtown Aurora is also a possibility. Good luck.