Carnegie Mellon Press Release: December 19, 2003
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Press Release

Contact:
Eric Sloss
412-268-5765

For immediate release:
December 19, 2003

Carnegie Mellon Artist to Resurrect Greek Goddess Persephone in Installation

PITTSBURGH—Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, will come to life in Stephanie Flom's performance/installation entitled Persephone, Pomegranates & Promises as part of First Night Pittsburgh, the New Year's Eve celebration of the arts in downtown Pittsburgh, at the Dominion Plaza at 6 p.m. First Night patrons will encounter Flom, an artist and fellow in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, in the persona of Queen Persephone as she divines New Year's resolutions for revelers who wish to receive her promise of spring.

The installation is a tribute to the Greek goddess upon whom the myth of spring and renewal is centered. In Greek mythology Persephone is the beloved daughter of Zeus and Demeter (goddess of the harvest), who was abducted by Hades into the underworld. Because she ate of the pomegranate, she must return to Hades each winter. Her annual arrival back to earth brings the spring.

With the assistance of costumer designer Sue O'Neil (PPC Costumes) and flowing auburn tresses by Dennis Bergevin (Elsen Associates), Flom's Persephone will be kept warm by yards of flowing fabric inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite interpretations of the goddess, the most famous of which is Dante Gabriel Rosetti's "Prosperine."

"The project acknowledges the creativity/art in our everyday lives. Without this, life is as dark as Hades cave, as barren as the world when Persephone is underground. Having lived with the (project) name for several years now, my relationship to the myth and the archetype of this goddess has deepened," said Flom.

"There is a great power to embracing the darkness and to the knowledge that the light will return. During this barren season we turn inward and we strengthen our resolve (i.e. make resolutions) to make positive changes in our lives—to grow, to thrive—upon our return to the world."

Other installation elements include an 8-foot tall by 3-foot wide hand-carved cherry throne by Heather C. Cronin (HCCronin, Inc.) and Flom's hand-built corrugated ceramic vessels. The eight vessels will align with the eight pomegranates. When the wheel stops, Persephone will draw a card, which bears a hand-cut abstract pomegranate silhouette from the vessel. Using the card for inspiration, she will read her resolution. If her visitor agrees to adopt her resolution, he/she will be gifted the card as a reminder of Persephone, Pomegranates & Promises.

Based at Carnegie Mellon's STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, the Persephone Project is a research project that connects the public to art and the environment by promoting the garden as contemporary art and gardeners as artists.

First Night Pittsburgh is a project of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, planned and produced with the assistance of Three Rivers Arts Festival. Persephone, Pomegranates & Promises is one of four Resolution Sculptures commissioned by Arts Festival curator Katherine Talcott.

The STUDIO for Creative Inquiry is one of three programs of interdisciplinary work within Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts. The College of Fine Arts is a community of nationally and internationally recognized artists and professionals organized into five schools: Architecture, Art, Design, Drama and Music, and their associated centers and programs.

For more information about the installation contact Stephanie Flom at 412-268-1027 or by email at sflom@andrew.cmu.edu. For more information on the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry or the College of Fine Arts contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or email ecs@andrew.cmu.edu. Photo available after December 22, 2003.

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