Southern Tier's Community Labyrinth Project


Labyrinths represent "wholeness," and can be different shapes and sizes. Comprised of a designed space and a path, a labyrinth invites us to enter, progress to the center, and then back out again - with opportunities to enjoy all that there is to experience along the way. With origins in ancient Greek culture, labyrinths have been created by many different cultures for many centuries. Today, labyrinths are found in parks, gardens churches and other places where experiences of peace and enjoyment are desired. In addition, the natural elements and features of the Chadakoin River area, where The Riverwalk Community Labyrinth is located, offer visitors the sights, sounds and solitude of nature.

Aspire's iXpress artists in the Southern Tier continue their summer long "labyrinth experience"

Activities have included: (1) making individual finger labyrinths, (2) creating and using a temporary 40-foot-diameter labyrinth in Mall Boulevard's Day Hab parking lot; and (3) observing and identifying the wildflowers and grasses ocurring in this natural area, and doing drawings and nature journaling from all that we're finding.
The development of the 90-foot-diameter Riverwalk Community Labyrinth continues, located along the Chadakion River on Jones and Gifford Avenue, Jamestown. The labyrinth paths are being mowed regularly and the plants tended by individuals of The Resource Center.
Meanwhile, the artists at Aspire's Lakewood Day Hab and The Resource Center are creating the components for "Serpentine Field," the labyrinth's proposed centerpiece sculpture. Funds for the sculpture were awarded by NYS Council on the Arts and administered by Cattaraugus County Arts Council, based upon a grant application developed by Aspire's iXpress staff. Funding for the sculpture was the impetus for the Riverwalk Community Labyrinth becoming a reality.

"Serpentine Field" will be a mixed media sculpture, a mosaic of hundreds of individually-created ceramic tiles and other media. The sculpture will occupy a space approximately 8 feet square and 2 feet high, in the labyrinth's 25-foot-diameter center. Inspiration for the sculpture arises from the natural features of the Chadakoin River area where the sculpture and labyrinth are to be located: grasses, flowers, and leaves: footprints of animals; insects; fossils; and the many textures of stones, bard and other elements present at the site. Aspire's iXpress artists are enjoying the many clay art processes being employed in creating the varied tile imagery: stamping, carving, and creating textures with various techniques and tools.

The clays being utilized were selected based on their visual, textural and weather-proof qualities. Tiles will be fired once and remain unglazed, resulting in a natural appearance.

When completed this fall, The Riverwalk Community Labyrinth's "Serpentine Field" will offer and experience reminiscent of the sights, sounds, textures, and aromas of the area's water, field, trees and weather, and all that is to be discovered there. The sculpture offers opportunities, too, to contemplate the relationships among places, people, our constructed envirnoments and the natural world.
Watch for more updates on The Riverwalk Community Labyrinth!