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Art project brings works to REO Town

Teresa Dunn stands in front of A Long Line of Women, her artwork now adorning the Lansing Board of Water and Light REO Town Central Substation.
Teresa Dunn
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Courtesy image
Teresa Dunn stands in front of A Long Line of Women, her artwork now adorning the Lansing Board of Water and Light REO Town Central Substation.

A joint program of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing and the REO Town Commercial Association is placing large digital works in full public view. The project is called “Art Moves REO."

A Long Line of Women by artist Teresa Dunn is currently being displayed on the Board of Water and Light’s REO Town Central Substation.

Dunn tells WKAR’s Scott Pohl that this is a reproduction of a work now hanging at MSU’s Broad Art Museum.

Interview Transcript

Scott Pohl: I want to ask you about this artwork. First of all, it wasn't designed for a billboard-size display. Tell me about the origin of this piece of art called A Long Line of Women.

Teresa Dunn: Yes, A Long Line of Women is the last in a series of paintings called Us, in which I focus on the stories of people of color, immigrants and people with multicultural backgrounds, and when I realized that most of the people who were participants in that project were women, I decided I want to make a painting that included all of them and celebrated their stories.

Pohl: You've told me that these women are local to the Lansing area.

Dunn: Many of them are, yes. Some are former students of mine from Michigan State, where I teach painting. Some are family. Some are friends, acquaintances. Other people are people that I have known for a long time from my childhood. And then, some of the women in the painting are family members of mine that don't have connections to the area.

Pohl: How did you come to be involved in this project, where it's been put up on the south side of the Board of Water and Light substation downtown?

Dunn: I saw a call from the Arts Council of Greater Lansing to participate and to be considered to participate in this project, and they wanted to celebrate diverse voices, And a lot of my recent work over the last five, six, seven years has done just that. As a Mexican-American woman, thinking about diversity of voice and of experience, lived experience is really important to me.

Pohl: I want to ask you more general questions about your work and the focus that you choose for projects like paintings. Tell me a little bit about what message you hope to convey with the work that you do.

Dunn: That's a really good question. I feel like I have been a storyteller as long as I can remember and been really interested in people's stories and painting the dynamics of relationships between individuals. Something that I've long, has long been important to me is to try to depict really interesting relationships, and this particular body of work tries to depict relationships that are less representative in the dominant mainstream American cultural media.

Pohl: Do you work primarily or exclusively in paints, or do you do three dimensional pieces? Tell me more about the scope of your work.

Dunn: I'm definitely a painter. I appreciate all different disciplines in media, but I'm a painter. I do also draw, and my preference is to work with oil paint. I just really like the freedom of the medium, the brilliance and the color. Color plays a really important role in my paintings.

Pohl: So you've had works publicly displayed before, but this is something new for you. This must be kind of exciting.

Dunn: Yes. Usually, my work is in a gallery or museum, and people intentionally go to those spaces to see artwork. But what I find really wonderful about this project as a community-oriented public work, is that both its scale and its placement is really visible, and everyone who happens to pass by can enjoy the work and maybe inspire interest in the arts.

Pohl: The Art Moves REO project includes works of art on the REO town Central Substation of the Board of Water and Light, at Malcolm X and Washington. That's on the south side of the building. You can see it when you're northbound on Washington Avenue. The current work in the project is A Long Line of Women by artist Teresa Dunn. Teresa, great meeting you, and congratulations!

Dunn: It's so nice to meet you. Thank you. And, I really appreciate both the Board of Water and Light and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing for this opportunity.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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