North Adams, MA
In Cavernous: The Inner Life of Courage, Colorado-based artist Wes Sam-Bruce’s uses the Hoosac Tunnel as a metaphor for brave endeavors. Kidspace explores what it takes to be courageous and persevere in the face of mountain-sized obstacles. Gallery visitors are invited to play in a tunnel-like structure built specifically for the museum.
Sam-Bruce, renowned for producing interactive artworks, found the North Adams icon to be a fascinating historical site to explore. According to the artist, “the Hoosac Tunnel construction can be viewed as a representation of an act of courageousness: a journey through the unknown — dark, cavernous, difficult, loss, successful, light-giving, connecting, a triumph, tenacity, and grit.” Being central to the North Adams community, he views the tunnel as a symbol of the legacy of a group of people who then and now have acted courageously through the many chapters of the city’s history.
Sam-Bruce will [....] build an artwork that will feature a cavernous mountain, tunnels, and thresholds. Visitors can make their way through the installation, an uncharted exhalation composed of repurposed wood, text, and drawings, finding themselves surrounded by content that delves into the human experience; they have not only entered the mountain, but also, as Sam-Bruce puts it, “the space of one’s innermost self — the root of courage.”
Cavernous is the third component of Kidspace’s Art 4 Change, a four-year project that explores problem-solving through empathy, optimism, and courage. The guiding principle for these exhibition projects is Albert Einstein’s statement that “[We] cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” In other words, without empathy, hope, and courage, societal problems can seem overwhelming. In an era of narcissism and cynicism, therefore, an experience with Sam-Bruce’s work provides the opportunity to strengthen our collective sense of bravery, tolerance, and kindness.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.