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COCA Selects Artist To Create Common Ground: A Site-Specific Art Installation

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Artist Olaniyi R. Akindiya of ArtWithAkirash Studio will debut the participatory installation September 28.

COCA Selects Artist To Create Common Ground: A Site-Specific Art Installation

On Monday, September 28, COCA - Center of Creative Arts will unveil Common Ground, a participatory installation designed and created by international artist, Olaniyi R. Akindiya, with the subtitle: Ila??siwaju - Work in progress, still constructing #2. Common Ground captures the themes of community, gratitude, the connectivity of the arts, and the importance of inclusive and welcoming shared spaces. The installation celebrates the opening of COCA's new Ferring East Wing following the close of the Create Our Future Campaign.

"Common Ground will be a unique "take" on a traditional ribbon cutting," said Kelly Pollock, COCA Executive Director. "Rather than a stand-alone, one-time event, Common Ground is a site-specific, participatory celebration of what COCA's community has built: An accessible, central place for the entire community to connect through the arts; to tell stories and envision our future."

Akindiya is a world-renowned artist originally from Lagos, Nigeria; he currently resides in Austin, Texas. Akindiya was selected through a blind process by a panel of artists, designers, and community members. A pool of regional artists submitted entries in response to COCA's open call to artists.

"Common Ground to me is a place to be together in this moment: An opportunity for us all to forget our differences, what positions we hold in society, or any of the other cultural forces that push us apart," said Akindiya. "For this one moment, in this space, let us be one, be equal, be brothers and sisters, remember we are all from one family tree. From that vantage point, there is much more that unites us than separates us."

The installation will be on display in COCA's Millstone Gallery and the new Centene Commons from September 28-November 15. The installation uses moveable and shapeable corrugated plastic that will utilize the high arching spaces of the Centene Commons and the Millstone Gallery and includes elements of community involvement. In accordance with COCA's Health and Safety Guidelines, small groups and individuals are invited to reserve time slots to engage with the exhibition and all participants will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing precautions.

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