Friday, June 26, 2009

Press Release for Denver Artist Reception / Listening Party


June 22, 2009

Free School Records
Phone: (303) 520-4842


June 22, 2009, Denver, CO – Abecedarian Gallery director Alicia Bailey and Denver-based independent recording artist John Common ( share a belief that art forms benefit from overlap, and that collaborative efforts usually have rewarding and exciting outcome. That belief is the basis for the Common Box Project.

Here’s the general idea: Invite 60 artists from across North America, send them each a simple wooden box, along with the nuts and bolts of a new record by an indie songwriter and then mix it all together in a beautiful collaboration called the Common Box Project -- a mixed media collaboration with artists of all types to create unique pieces of assemblage box art that are inspired and/or informed by the new record by John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light – due to be released this fall.

Each box, measuring about 7x7x5, has a recessed area in the back that will hold a copy of John’s new record. Buying a box will be the only way to get an early copy of John’s new record as regular distribution won’t start until later this year. A limited number of copies will also be available with purchase of a work on paper in support of the Abecedarian Student Scholarship Fund.

The exhibition opens Thursday, July 9 at 1pm and continues through the close of the CD Listening Party July 18 at 10pm.

Learn more about the project at:

Exhibition: The Common Box Project
Exhibit Dates: July 9 - July 18, 2009
Exhibit Events:
July 14: Abecedarian Gallery hosts Action Figures (formerly Self-Made) with guest John Common, 7-9pm
July 17: Exhibit open during Arts District on Santa Fe’s Preview Night, til 8pm
>>>July 18: Listening Party - New recordings by John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light, 7-10pm
Gallery Location: 910 Santa Fe, #101, Denver, CO 80204 (at the north end of the 910 Arts building)
Gallery Hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday 1-5. 1st & 3rd Fridays 1-8
Contact: Alicia Bailey -, 303.340.2110 or 720.282.4052
John Common -, 303-520-4842

Some of the notable Common Boxers with national reputations include Tennessee sculptor Dolph Smith, paper artists Betsy Dollar (Minneapolis) and Helen Hiebert (Portland, OR), and painters Kelly Kievet and Kimberly MacArthur-Graham. Although there are boxes coming in from all over the United States (and two from Canada), many regional favorites (Dave Seiler, Penney Bidwell, Maura Grimzinski, Annalee Schorr, Kathleen Sherman, Joan MacDonald, Claudia Roulier and Rik Sargent) are part of the project. Alicia Bailey has a national reputation as book artist and curator so a heavy emphasis on book artists is inevitable. In addition to Alicia, book artists contributing to the project include Mia Semingson, Amy Leepard, Rutherford Witthus, Suzanne Vilmain, Mary Powers Torrey, MaryAnne Riker, Jana Brubaker, Gail Smuda and Jill Berry. It seems particularly fitting that luthier (maker of stringed instruments) Randy Arnold, is also participating.

The full list of artists can be found at the project blog:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Box Project In Your Town?

When we started this, we had no idea how strong the interest would be in bringing the visual art community together with the musical community. We ran out of boxes for the Denver Box Project show almost immediately. And artists started asking if we were going to do another exhibition. So that made us wonder "Maybe we should do shows in other towns??"

We're putting feelers out and so far there's real interest in doing a Common Box Project event in Asheville, Chicago, Taos, Santa Fe, Pensacola, Portland (OR), and Los Angeles.

The idea would be the same:
  • Make a call to local artists
  • Get them the raw materials (a box, lyrics, audio and related images from the new record by JC&BFoL)
  • Artists would do their thang i.e. make incredible assemblage art
  • Throw a party/gig/opening night somewhere in that town where everyone involved would hang out, get to know each other, see all the amazing art, hear the new record, and me and the band would play a show - ideally with with 1 or 2 bands from that town.
  • It could be all in one night or over a weekend, whatever works.

We just need three things to pull this off in your town:

1) Enough interested artists (30+)
2) A local person to be the curator / project manager / quarterback
3) A gallery space
4) A place for John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light to play a show (same space?)

What do you think?

~ John

The Box Project is Getting Noticed!

Westword wrote a little something about the Box Project! Read here:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Basic Idea...

Take 65 artists from across the region (country?), 65 simple wooden boxes, and the nuts and bolts of a new record by an indie songwriter and then mix it all together in a beautiful collaboration called the Common Box Project.

Here's the basic idea:
  1. John Common and Blinding Flashes of Light are in the studio right now, finishing a new record.
  2. Alicia Bailey is an artist and gallery owner (Abecedarian Gallery) whose recent assemblage box art inspired them both with an idea...
  3. A mixed media collaboration with artists of all types to create 65 unique pieces of assemblage box art that are inspired and/or informed by the new record.
  4. A call is going out to artists from across the region (and country) to see who is interested in joining in this collaborative box art project.
  5. 65 boxes have been crafted by artist/woodworker Nicolas Willert. Each box has been designed to hold a copy of the new CD (a secret place in the back of the box).
  6. Each artist who is chosen to participate in the Common Box Project will be shipped a raw box and an artist kit containing materials related to the new John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light record intended to inspire/inform the artwork (audio, lyrics, images, stories, etc).
  7. Each artist will then ship their completed assemblage box art piece to Abecedarian Gallery by late June. Each box will also hold a copy of the new record.
  8. The Common Box Project listening party for the new record will be held Saturday, July 18, 7-10pm. Artists, fans, friends and press will all be invited.
  9. Proceeds of each piece are split evenly between the gallery, the artist and the band.
  10. Cool, huh???

How To Participate:

If YOU are interested email Alicia Bailey at

If YOU KNOW AN ARTIST who might be interested, please forward them a link to this blog/website:

Denver opening of Common Box Project Announced

The Denver opening of the Common Box Project has been announced. Details below.

It's taking place at:
Abecedarian Gallery
910 Santa Fe, Unit #101
Denver, CO 80204
720.282.4052 or 303.340.2110.
Admission is free

Thursday, July 9, 2009
- Exhibition Opens
The Common Box Project exhibition opens to the public at Abecedarian Gallery.

Tuesday, July 14 - Abecedarian Gallery hosts Action Figures w/ John Common
Each month Action Figures (formerly Self Made) highlights a member of Denver’s Creative Community, whether they make things to see, smell, taste, touch or think about they are making Denver a better place to be. The July edition of Action Figures will takes place Tuesday, July 14th at Abecedarian Gallery @ 7 pm.

Saturday, July 18, 2009
- Artist Reception, CD Listening Party
Box artist reception and listening party (come get sneak listen to the new record by John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light that inspired all this box art!) at Abecedarian Gallery from 7:00 to 10pm. Exhibition closes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A list of Common Boxers

Been wondering who these common boxers are? We are from all over North America!

Here's a list, with links to artist websites & tidbits about current projects
has a piece in the exhibition 'Marking Time'
has work featured in the exhibition 'Denver Square'
  • A.M. Dirks, Louisville, CO
is in New York working on a restoration project
has a piece in the exhibition 'Marking Time'
is featured in in Sculpture in the Park in August
will be exhibiting The Rabbit Stable in July/August in Portland, OR
is playing with Itchy-O during the Denver Underground Music Festival end of Julyhas work featured in the exhibition Boxy Books
has work featured in the exhibition Denver Square
has an upcoming show at Sliding Door Gallery during July
and is in a Colorado Sculpture Show July 2-28 in Aspen
has started a line of hand-bookbinding equipment
is playing with Itchy-O during the Denver Underground Music Festival
  • Sheila Jonah, Toronto, Canada
  • Susan Eriksson, Boulder, CO
  • Susan Vaho, Denver, CO
  • Suzanne Vilmain, Santa Fe, NM
  • Tymla Welch, Denver, CO
  • Vickie Stevinson, Denver, CO