Jane Ingram Allen
BIRD WATCHING PROJECTS
The Bird Watching Projects began in Fall 1996 with the idea of making a few sculptures
of birds to sit on top of the bus shelters along Utica, New York's main street. I thought
this would be a way to brighten up the streets of Utica and add some color and fun to the
dreary days of winter. And, it would continue my interest in putting art in public places
where everyone would encounter it. I proposed the project to the City of Utica and
received their support for the idea.
I wrote a grant proposal to the Ruth Chenven Foundation, New York City, asking for
funds to do the project and received the grant in November 1996. I began designing and
making sculptures representing common birds found in New York State. The project has grown
to include now over 250 individual bird sculptures which continue to be shown as
installation works at different sites in different configurations. As the birds continue
to migrate to different sites, some have found permanent homes in individual's backyards
and on city decks as well as becoming public art works.
For more background information about the development of my Bird Watching Projects, click here to read my "Artist's Statement."
Bird Watching 1
In May 1997 "Bird Watching 1" was installed on some bus shelters in Utica,
NY, along Genesee Street, the city's main street. This was a temporary installation, and
due to bureaucratic difficulties and liability issues, the birds could not be left on the
bus shelters. However, some of the birds will be installed permanently at the Utica Zoo in
Bird Watching 2
"Bird Watching 2" was installed August 2- September
6, 1997, at Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park in Brooklyn as part of the 1997
Outdoor Sculpture Show "Between the Bridges." This installation
consisted of 66 birds perched along the hand railing of the boardwalk along
the East River in this urban park located between the Brooklyn Bridge and
the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn, NY. To see more photos of "Bird Watching
2," click here.
Bird Watching 3
"Bird Watching 3 -
Migration" was installed November 30, 1997 - April 30, 1998, as a public art work at
Castellane Gallery, an outdoor sculpture exhibition area along Highway 46 near Munnsville,
NY. For this installation I included over 200 birds sited on, in and around an abandoned
barn on this rural farmland along a public highway. in and around an abandoned barn on
this rural farmland. Richard Castellane, owner of the site, used to run a gallery in NYC
in the early 1960, and my exhibition was the inaugural exhibition for his re-entry into
the contemporary art field. Richard plans to continue with changing exhibitions of outdoor
work at the site. To see more photos of "Bird Watching 3 - Migration" click here.
4 The Birds (Bird Watching 4)
Bird Watching 4 took place on May 2, 1998, and was a multi-media collaborative art
installation with live jazz performance titled "4 the Birds" at the Kirkland Art
Center, Clinton, NY. For this multi-media indoor piece I collaborated with my son Chris Allen, a jazz composer and
trombonist. The live jazz performance was by Chris's Boston-based jazz band Central Artery
Project, and consisted of "bird" music composed by Chris to go with the
installation. The bird-inspired jazz was composed for this performance by Chris Allen and
was performed in the installation by Central Artery Project featuring Chris on trombone,
Ed Barrett, Guitar; Paul Cherba, trumpet; John Sullivan, Stand-up Bass and Tatsyua
Nakatani, Drums. You can listen to some of the music from for "4 the Birds" by clicking here. To return, click on the back button on your
"4 the Birds" used some of the same perching birds, a few chickens and a
rooster and many newly created "flying" bird sculptures which hung from the
ceiling with springs.
The birds moved in space becoming kinetic sculptures with a little audience
involvement. To see more about "4 the Birds" click here.
Bird Watching 2 - Reinstallation
On May 2, 1998, I made a re-installation of "Bird Watching 2" at
Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, Brooklyn, NY. This is a state park located across the East
River from Manhattan between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge. My colorful
birds were so popular with park visitors and staff when they were exhibited during the
BWAC 1997 Outdoor Sculpture Show at the the park that I was asked to bring the birds back
in 1998. The birds will remain on view during the summer of 1998 along the boardwalk in
Bird Watching Project - New York Mills School
week of May 26 - June 1, 1998, I was an artist in residence at New York
Mills Union Free School, New York Mills, NY. During the residency I worked
with students in elementary through high school grades to create a "Bird
Watching" installation in the school's new garden and outdoor classroom
area, which has been designed by the school's art teacher, Amy Deller.
My residency was sponsored by the school's Art, Music and Drama Boosters
Club which is also supporting the garden project. I led the students in
designing and making 10 bird sculptures including an eagle and nest with
two baby birds. Students also made many colorful butterflies and some
bugs which hang from the trees in the garden space. The sculptures were
constructed using handmade paper which the students made, painted and
coated with polyurethane to help make the birds weather resistant. To
see more photos of the New York Mills School Bird Watching Project click
Bird Watching 5
"Bird Watching 5" was installed on June 6, 1998, at the State Administration
Office Building Plaza at One Capitol Hill in downtown Providence, Rhode
Island, as part of the city's annual Convergence
Art Festival. Jane's art installation in Providence is sponsored by
a grant from the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts. To see more
of "Bird Watching 5" click
Bird Watching 6
"Bird Watching 6" was installed in Wilcox Park in Westerly, Rhode
Island, on June 7, 1998. This installation was sponsored by the Memorial
and Library Association of Westerly and the Westerly-Pawcatuck Joint Development
Task Force also in cooperation with the Convergence Festival of Providence.
To see more about "Bird Watching 6" click
Bird Watching - Peep Show (Bird Watching 7)
Bird Watching Projects now includes "Jane Ingram Allen's Peep Show",
a storefront window installation in downtown Utica, NY. This installation
uses a family of blue birds complete with nest and three baby birds. This
piece was installed on June 1, 1998, at the old Boston Store on Genesee
Street, Utica's main street. This public art project is part of the Utica
Monday Nite series of art and performance events held in downtown Utica
throughout the summer months. To see more about "Jane Ingram Allen's
Peep Show" click here.
For the Birds Too (For the Birds 2)
the Birds Too" - an interactive installation
of multiple "flying" bird sculptures at the Rathbone Gallery,
The Sage Colleges, Albany, NY, October 8 - November 10, 1998. For
more information click here.
3 For the Birds
Jane had a one-person exhibition titled "3 For the
Birds" at the Zeitgeist Gallery, 312 Broadway,
Cambridge, MA, Apr. 15-18. Jane had received a Special Opportunity Stipend
grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Upper Catskill Community Council
of the Arts to support the exhibition in Cambridge. For this site specific
installation in the gallery Jane used about 60 of her "flying" bird sculptures
made of handmade paper over a wire armature. The colorful birds filled the space.
They were suspended from the ceiling with springs so that they move when
viewers activate them. The reception on Saturday, April 17, at 8 PM featured a
special performances of "bird inspired" jazz by her son Chris Allen and his band
Central Artery Project.
Bird Watching 8
of Jane's bird sculptures were exhibited as a site specific installation
at Smithtown Township Arts Council, Mills Pond House, 660 Route 25A, St.
James, NY (Long Island) from April 10 - May 23, 1999. Jane's
"Bird Watching 8" installation was part of a group invitational
exhibition titled "Available Space" in which 8 artists use various
rooms and spaces in and around the Mills Pond House. Jane used the
front and back porches and the grounds for her installation.
Bird Watching in Lake George
Watching in Lake George" a public art installation presented by the Lake
George Arts Project, Canada Street, Lake George, NY, opened June 26 - October 1,
1999. This public art installation in Lake George for the summer of 1999 was
supported by a grant from the Serlin Foundation. The site specific
installation of Jane's painted handmade paper and wire bird sculptures
celebrated the new lakefront walkway with "birds" perched on light
posts and rooftops along the lake's edge, on MacDonald Pier and in Shepard
Park. Lake George is a village at the southern end of Lake
George, a scenic and historic vacation area in New York's
Adirondacks. Jane's site specific installation featured
birds common to the Lake George area and the Adirondacks.
The Village of Lake George is considering reinstalling Jane's
birds next summer! There is a possibility of birds being purchased
by Lake George. "Bird Watching in Lake George" may become
a permanent installation in Lake George so that visitors and
residents can enjoy them all year long.
BIRD WATCHING IN ITHACA
1, 2000 - April 1, 2001: Ithaca Commons, Ithaca, NY, "Art
in the Heart of the City" Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition.
For this exhibition Jane installed 26 bird sculptures on the three entry
signs at Ithaca Commons, a pedestrian mall in downtown Ithaca, NY. The
exhibition also contained Jane's "Birds on a Wire" sculpture
installation as well as sculptures by other artists. The exhibition remained
on view throughout the year.
BIRD WATCHING IN ROCHESTER
May 27 - November 18, 2000: Visual Studies
Workshop, University Avenue & Prince Street, Rochester, NY, sponsored
by the Pyramid Art Center.
Watching in Rochester" on the grounds of the Visual Studies
Workshop at the corner of University Avenue and Prince Street in downtown
Rochester was installed on Saturday, May 27 and remains on view. Jane’s
installation in Rochester is sponsored by the Pyramid Art Center as part
of their off site exhibition program while the Center is in the
process of re-locating. The birds were so well received that Jane
was asked to extend the exhibition. Elizabeth McDade, Director of the
Pyramid Art Center, said that Jane's birds made even the most ardent Post-Modernist
smile. "Bird Watching in Rochester" continues Jane's series
of "bird watching" installations in public spaces begun
in 1997. The birds are made of handmade paper
over a wire armature, painted with acrylics and coated with polyurethane
for outdoor use. These photos are of the installation in Rochester.
For more information about other "Bird Watching" projects, click
Bird Watching in Cazenovia
Route 20, Village of Cazenovia, NY, July
7- August 12, 2001
made a site specific installation of her bird sculptures all along Route
20 through the downtown part of the village of Cazenovia, NY. Bird sculptures
were placed on signs, in store windows and on street trees. The exhibition
was part of Jane's ongoing series of "Bird Watching" installations
in public spaces and was presented by "Cazenovia Counterpoint,"
a festival of music and art organized by the Society
for New Music.
Bird Watching at the Schuylkill Center
May 17 - October 27, 2001
Art Gallery, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education,
8480 Hagy's Mill Road, Philadelphia, PA
created an indoor and outdoor site specific installation in her "Bird
Watching" series with multiple bird sculptures representing common
birds found at the Schuylkill Center. The installation is in the newly
created lobby art gallery at the Center which features changing exhibitions
of art dealing with nature and the environment. Jane also has many birds
sited in trees and on signs around the main building at the Schuylkill
Center. Jane is an artist-in-residence at the Schuylkill Center May 15
- June 30 and again during the month of October. Jane's residency is supported
by an "Artist As Catalyst" grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts
Foundation. During the October part of her residency Jane will be creating
other works that will be exhibited at the Schuylkill Center Art Gallery
in November and December, 2001.
"Bird Watching in Schenectady,"
Jay Street, Schenectady, NY -
installed on August 11, 2003 and continuing.
worked with artists and volunteers of all ages in Schenectady to teach
them how to make the handmade paper bird sculptures for this public art
installation on Jay Street in downtown Schenectady. The birds in this
installation are similar to the "bird watching" installations
that Jane has been doing all over the world since 1997. The Schenectady
project contains over 110 individual and unique bird sculptures made by
over 40 volunteer participants, ages 8 to 80. The birds are installed
all along the fronts of buildings and in storefront windows on this unique
street of small shops closed to vehicular traffic. The project was sponsored
by the Jay Street Business Association, Proctor Theatre and other community
participants and partially supported by a grant to the artist from the
"Bird Watching at Guandu Nature Park,"
November 6, 2004 - January 31, 2005, Guandu Nature Park, Taipei County,
this exhibition Jane volunteered to make a site-specific installation
of 12 bird sculptures representing common birds found at Guandu Nature
Park for the Park's new wetlands conservation area. Jane's bird
sculptures are installed on a bridge leading to a new marshland nature
area that will provide research and educational programs on wetlands management
and temporary resting places for the many migratory birds that stop over
in Guandu Nature Park. The installation was on view at the Nature
Park through January 2005. This photo shows Guandu Nature Park director
Lingi Wu displaying some of the birds temporarily on a pedestrian bridge
over some of the marsh lands at the Nature Park.
Updated April 5, 2007