“Unexpected opportunities resulted from my fellowship activities, including accolades at exhibitions and a new piece on display at the new Cummins building in downtown Indianapolis. This time of exploration and professional growth has been rich with personal connections—for that I am most grateful. The value of connection and collaboration stands out as an overriding theme of this fellowship, both professionally and personally.”
Visual artist Shawn Causey creates colorful, large-scale installations in a variety of media from steel to string. Her first installation, Bright City, a twelve feet high and two-hundred feet long interactive sculpture was commissioned as a colorful gateway to a vibrant new community development in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. With degrees in art and music, from Herron School of Art and Design and Butler University respectively, she has been at work in the art world since the late nineties.
For her fellowship, Causey traveled to Turkey for the 2015 Istanbul Biennial. Having hoped to return to Turkey after visiting many times during college, Causey says of her experience, “walking the streets of Istanbul, riding the ferry back and forth across the Bosporus, lingering in tea houses, and hunting for foods reconnected me to a place that deeply affected me long ago.”
After her travels in Turkey, she worked with collaborator Mark Daniell to create another enormous installation, this time intended for a more intimate gallery space. With the help of 85 volunteers, Causey and Daniell developed Sweet Spot, a work fashioned from nineteen miles of hanging multicolored string. For Causey, “the support of those enthusiastic volunteers, who kept the studio buzzing day and night for several weeks, remains the highlight of the entire fellowship.” The renewal process gave her the opportunity to take professional risks and pursue collaboration in large-scale work while also deepening her network of art professionals in both Indianapolis and Turkey. After debuting in Gallery 924 at the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Sweet Spot went on to the Top Twenty Public Vote list at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan and won Best of Show at the annual Indianapolis Art Center’s Art from the Heartland juried exhibition.