The Lantern Project is a series of lantern making workshops with actors from Staging Reflections of the Buddha lead by artist and cultural activist Juan William Chavez and light sculptor Bob Hartzell. Chavez and Hartzell worked with the actors to create 17 lanterns, to be installed in the Pulitzer’s reflection pool, to create an installation inspired by the lotus lantern festival. The lanterns are symbols of light, wisdom and compassion. Through the lanterns, the dark becomes bright, symbolizing the Buddhists belief in the power of enlightenment to dispel human suffering.
The lantern installation can be viewed during the closing performance and lantern ceremony (see below for a schedule of events and more information).
“The lanterns represent togetherness, creating something from scratch as a group. Think positively that we can do something greater, seeing the light and following it into the future.”
-Lamonte Johnson, Actor
On March 10, the final evening of Reflections of the Buddha, the public is invited to participate in a lantern dedication ceremony on the grounds of the Pulitzer. Lanterns that have been created by Chavez and Hartzell will be hung from trees behind the Pulitzer’s galleries. The dedication refers to both a dedication of merit to recognize all good will and works created by this exhibition, as well as the new relationships that have formed through the Staging process and performances. Participants in this final ceremony will be invited to take a lantern home with them to remind them to carry forward positive social change. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 7:00pm on Saturday, March 10, 2012.
Lantern Dedication Ceremony Schedule
6:30 pm Visitors may arrive. Reception in the Courtyard.
7:00 pm Ceremony begins.
Monks from the Mid-America Buddhist Association (MABA), Thai monks, Actors from the Staging project, Pulitzer Director, Kristina Van Dyke, and other Pulitzer staff will conduct the dedication. Members of the public will have the opportunity to participate, and to take home a lantern.
8:15 pm Ceremony ends. Participants are invited to enjoy the exhibit for one last time before the building closes.
9:00 pm Building closes.
Juan William Chavez (born in Lima, Peru) is an artist and cultural activist whose studio
practice focuses on the potential of space by developing creative initiatives that address
community and cultural issues. He has exhibited at venues such as Art in General,
Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis, White Flag Projects and Van Abbenmuseum.
From 2006-2010, Chavez founded and served as director for Boots Contemporary Art Space,
a non-profit organization that supported emerging artists and curators. Since 2010, Chavez
has focused on public projects in North St. Louis. Such projects include Urban Expression
for the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary and the Northside Workshop.
In 2011, he was awarded the Art Matters Grant, the Missouri Arts Award and nominated for
the United States Artists fellowship. Chavez has a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and
an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Bob Hartzell is a printmaker and light sculptor, who is active in
community arts and education. He grew up in a series of small
Missouri towns as he followed his education administrator father
from school to school. After a few failed attempts at a degree from
NMSU (now Truman State University), he moved to Chicago were he
completed his BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During
his twenty year unofficial fellowship in the art and music scene in
Chicago he worked at Steve Walter’s Screwball Press and as lighting
director at the famous rock club, Lounge Ax.
After starting graduate school at Columbia College Chicago’s Center
for Book and Paper Arts, he was lured to the University of Missouri to
study fibers with Jo Stealey and the opportunity to teach and restart
the silkscreen program at Mizzou. While completing the work for
his MFA, he was active in the local community – volunteering for
numerous local organizations including the True/False Film Festival,
Access Arts, Columbia Art League, and the Blue Bird Music and Art
Having moved to St. Louis a few years ago, Bob has been active in
the local arts community both through teaching and volunteering. He
is a graduate of the Regional Arts Council’s Community Arts Training
program. In 2011, working with Washington University in conjunction
with the Southern Graphic Council’s International Conference in St.
Louis, he organized the Lights Along the Cherokee project that helped
build a series of twenty seven light towers that marked a variety
of venues on the night of the SGC visit to Cherokee Street. He is
currently a resident artist at the South Broadway Art Project in south
city, and the owner and chief everything officer of his print-shop alter-
ego, Augratin Press.