February 28, 2012

Communication is focus of interactive art project

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A special weeklong event at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will illustrate that personalized thank-you notes and the U.S. Postal Service are not at all passe. 

“Thinking of you…a project by Megan Lotts,” is an interactive art experience incorporating one-of-a-kind artwork with personal notes and traditional mail delivery.  Each day, March 1-8, from 2 to 4 p.m., Lotts will be in the Morris Library Rotunda Art Space with her mobile studio. 

Everyone is welcome to stop by and participate.  Lotts will have with her an assortment of hand-made cards, created using recycled materials, and she’ll be making cards on the spot, too.  Visitors can select a card, add their own personal note, and address and seal it before depositing it in Lotts’ “mailbox.” 

When the exhibit ends, Lotts will add stamps to the cards and mail them from the main branch of the Carbondale Post Office.  She’ll number and sign each card and each will include the link to her website, www.meganlotts.com.  Card recipients can then go online and find out more about the “Thinking of you” project.  If they elect to do so, they can indicate which card they received and what city and state it made its way to, giving website visitors updates about the project.

“My intent with this project is to highlight the significance of ‘one-of-a-kind’ handmade objects, the importance of communication and how the U.S. postal system plays a role in our everyday lives,” said Lotts, assistant professor and fine arts librarian. 

As a child, Lotts recalls spending a lot of time making cards and artwork with items she found around the house.  She also learned the importance of writing thank you letters when she received a gift, a habit she continued even in college.  Attending art school during her 20s, she made a habit of setting aside time each Friday to make cards and write letters to friends, sending several missives each week to stay connected to friends and family even as she expanded her circle of friends.  She said her love of “snail mail” is still strong and she’s hopeful this project will help others fuse an appreciation for recycling, handwritten communication and postal exchange.

For more information about the event or the Morris Library Rotunda Art Space, contact Lotts at mlotts@lib.siu.edu or by calling 618-453-2663.  Or look online at http://www.lib.siu.edu/footer-portlets/about-the-library/rotunda-art-space.  You can view previous exhibitions online at http://www.lib.siu.edu/footer-portlets/about-the-library/photo-galleries.