"Can I Buy a Vowel?"

On July 31, at 11:30a.m., artist James Grayson Sinding will drive a dump truck into Tollefson Plaza (S. 17th & Pacific Ave.) and drop thousands of 12” wooden letters – 5 sq. yards of alphabet, to be exact – that make up his Artscapes installation, Letters. Sinding will then invite the public to get involved – and get writing.

James Sinding's larger-than-life message board

Sinding’s inspiration for the art work came from the magnetic alphabets people stick on their refrigerators – magnified to the 10th power.  “This project I hope will be Tacoma’s refrigerator,” he says, a place where citizens and visitors can come to compose their thoughts, write a poem, leave a message, or even vent steam (he plans to monitor the site daily): “There are no real ground rules for the project, besides read and write.” The open-air installation will be hard to ignore, or resist. Sinding hopes it will draw people into Tollefson Plaza, a large, open space in the heart of downtown.

Sinding, a 2010 graduate of the University of Washington with a B.A. degree in Arts Media & Culture, says he usually creates art that is more introspective in nature. Letters represents a reversal, in that it is “a public forum. A place for people to actually write their own thoughts down. It can be personal to them.” He is preparing the wooden letters by painting them in bright colors. “Thousands,” he says. “A lot….My goal is to have enough letters in the beginning, so that I won’t have to replenish.” And what will his first message be? “Tough saying, I don’t know what my thoughts are going to be that day. We will see.” For Tacomans, Letters promises F-U-N, writ large. Letters, Tollefson Plaza, S. 17th & Pacific Ave., through Aug. 30, 2010; www.jamesgraysonsinding.blogspot.com

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