MANSFIELD -- Community conversation inspired by monstrous artwork.
That's the goal of the revived "'Field of Monsters" art show, according to organizers.
"The goal is to create a community conversation about what actual monsters are versus what we perceive as monsters," said Bryan Gladden, a Mansfield man involved with the effort.
The idea behind monster-based artwork began in 2014 with Main Street Books in Mansfield.
The popular book store closed in 2020, but Gladden, a regular customer, hopes to revive the effort with the assistance of others, including Carmone Macfarlane with The Phoenix Brewing Co. in Mansfield and Mary Frankenfield with the the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library.
"I didn't want to see it fade away after they closed their doors," said Gladden. "This is a great way to transition and honor that little piece of Main Street Books and keep alive that spit of innovation, creativity and conversation. How may conversations did we all have in that bookstore?"
"Field of Monsters" is a downtown Mansfield community art project, running between Sept. 4 and Oct. 31, aimed primarily at the Carrousel District, Central Park and the new Imagination District.
One of the coolest aspects of the project is you don't need to be an artist to participate. Nor do you need to spend a lot of money.
The "monster" artwork should not be a new painting. Gladden said participants can pick up a painting at a thrift store or even find an old one in their home. Just make sure it's of little value. Because you are going to paint your own monster(s) onto it.
"If you find an undiscovered Picasso in your basement, please don't paint on it," Macfarlane said with a laugh.
Organizers suggested visiting https://weburbanist.com/2014/07/27/just-add-monsters-chris-mcmahons-modified-thrift-store-art/3/ to get some ideas for their projects.
The project is open to everyone. Preregistration is required at https://mansfieldohio.art/monster-painting-project. Paintings can be dropped off at The Phoenix, 131 N. Diamond St. on Aug. 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Macfarlane said paintings must be correctly labeled and have a wire hanger on the back. Adult projects will be taken on one side of the facility and younger artists will drop them off on the other, she said.
As part of the effort, Macfarlane, a former art teacher, has scheduled a "work day" for participants on Aug. 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. at The Phoenix beer garden. It's under a tent and it will go on, rain or shine. Anyone under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
"They can work on their paintings in a fun, group atmosphere. They need to bring all their own supplies and brushes, as well as their own painting," she said.
Gladden said the "Field of Monsters" is a project of the Richland County Development Group Art Sector with many active community partners. He said it's a multifaceted project and open to all ages.
The Phoenix will be the "gallery" for adult art work. Two Cousins Pizza will be the high school, junior high and and grade school gallery, Gladden said, adding that local business storefronts will also be included, creating a "walking tour" of downtown art.
The art will be on display from Sept. 5 to Oct. 31. Monster-themed "assemblage" pieces, i.e. 3-D, can also be created, though display possibilities and drop-off points for these artworks is still being finalized, according to organizers. They must be created from recycled materials.
Artists will have an opportunity to sell their work at the end of the project. The artist receives 90 percent of the money (minus sales tax) and 10 percent will go to the Richland Community Development Group Art Sector to help with future projects.
One of the highlights of the project, according to Gladden, will be a community symposium to discuss myths and monsters, real and perceived, with educators and others at the Mansfield Playhouse. The date and time of that community event will be announced, he said.
Frankenfield said the library and all of its branches are pleased to participate with related events.
"We thought it was a really interesting way to have a community-wide conversation," she said. "We wanted to have something for all ages and we came up with a variety of events and programs surrounding the project."
Here are events planned at the library as part of the project:
Adults -- "Something Wicked to Pass the Time Trivia Game" -- Pick up a trivia worksheet at any branch of MRCPL and try to figure out the clues to each horror title. One winner will be selected, per branch, during each week of September.
Teens -- Monsters Among Us art contest -- Create a monster on paper or a 3D model and submit at any branch during the week of Sept. 13-18. One winner from each category (paper or 3D model) will be chosen and announced on Sept. 22. Winners will receive a T-shirt created from their designs.
Children -- Not So Scary Monster art contest -- Create and submit monster art at any branch Sept. 13-18. Categories will be pre-K, K-1st, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-5th.Winners will be chosen and announced Sept. 22.
Adults -- A Monster Scavenger Hunt -- This will be in downtown Mansfield during the First Friday Sock Hop event. Pick up a list of riddles at the library Bookmobile (parked in the municipal parking lot) and solve the riddles to find the shops to visit and collect as many monster book covers as you can. Each book cover is worth one entry for the grand prize: A night out with two tickets to the Ohio State Reformatory and a gift card to Uncle John's Place.
Adults (at the main library) -- Monster Movie Marathon -- On Oct. 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., residents are invited watch free horror movies on the big screen in the Community Room to get folks in the mood for Halloween. Join for one or all of the movies: Frankenstein (1931) at 9:30 a.m., The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) at 11 a.m., Young Frankenstein (1974) at 1 p.m. and Creepshow (1982) at 3 p.m.
Children -- Not So Scary Scavenger Hunt -- Between Oct. 18 and 31, children can participate in their own kid-friendly hunt at any library location. Each participant will receive a bookmark featuring the art of the previous month's contest winners.