Gilbert’s LunchEnCounter photoinstallation and second line parade (a Tacoma first!) were part of SCATTERED EPHEMERA, a series of multi-site large scale urban art installations and performances. She worked with a team of artists, students and residents to pay tribute to this area’s rich past at the F.W. Woolworth Building, Tacoma Art Museum, downtown Farmers’ Market, Rialto Theatre, and Tacoma Public Library, Tacoma, Washington, all of which was sponsored by the City of Tacoma and Tacoma Contemporary. This exemplifies Gilbert’s multilayered approach to artmaking: educational: workshops, dialogues, and mentoring; activism/collaboration: bringing together individuals/groups from afar and in the immediate and adjacent areas to join forces (many of whom had never worked together) to research and mine a given or mutually selected context; and interactive public art: events and installations that come together when the viewing participant enters the picture.
“The old Woolworth’s building in Tacoma, Wash., now an AT&T switching station, was taken over briefly by artists and turned into a nostalgically barbed installation. One of the artists, Jan Gilbert, from New Orleans, filled windows with historic photos from the days when the Woolworth’s lunch counters became the frontlines of the civil rights movement. And then she led a jazz funeral through a cheery market of flowers and fruits sold by mostly Asian farmers. “
Andrei Codrescu, National Public Radio and www.downtownexpress.com
For related work, please visit Scattered Ephemera.