Today I went to Evelyn’s Park. I have not been there since the grand opening April 22, 2017. The grand opening for me was exciting, but also a little bit sad, I had hoped my sculpture would be there for all to enjoy.

Alice In wonderland by Bridgette Mongeon

The dedication plaque is a separate piece. Here is the message from the Rubensteins. Remember the love, when you look at the whimsy.

Today I went to the park, and especially the memorial garden. Many may not know that there is a special place in the park. It is on the south-east corner of the park and is called Evelyn’s Memorial Garden. You will know it because the pathway changes. It goes from pea gravel to gray brick.  In the middle of this memorial garden, there is a spot that is filled with brown mulch and empty. That is where the sculpture of the Mad Hatter tea party will go.

I was delighted that the hard work of the Rubnestein family and foundation had finally come to fruition. It was a long road for them, and they worked hard to get the park to this point.  No one, but them and those who dedicated themselves to getting the park done, knows how hard that was.  I wanted to go there today and think about that. I wanted to think about Evelyn and how thankful I am that I have been a part of creating a memory in honor of a woman that will be cherished by many. A memory that two boys began, because they loved their mom.  I’m thinking back to the dedication plaque

I think we are all so caught up in the idea of the whimsy of the sculpture, and the hidden objects, that somehow the love, the true meaning of this sculpture has been overlooked. Today I went to Evelyn’s Park and talked to Evelyn. On my way. I was overwhelmed with the need and sorrow that I did not bring a rock. I am not Jewish, but my best friend is, and I grew up surrounded by the Jewish culture. Because I also create many sculptures of deceased loved ones I have studied death and the traditions surrounding death.  The Jewish traditions surrounding death are some of the most endearing.  But my urgency for a rock came from a simple custom combined with my absolute love of rocks. I collect them from wherever I go. Rocks line my window sills. In the Jewish tradition, it is customary to bring a rock to the grave of a loved one.

On the book sits a mouse reading the copy.  At the top of a book the white rabbit jumps down a hole.

On the book sits a mouse reading the copy. At the top of a book the white rabbit jumps down a hole.

In article I found on my Jewish learning  they quoteRabbi Simkha Weintraub, rabbinic director of the New York Jewish Healing Center . “They say that by placing the stone, we show that we have been there, and that the individual’s memory continues to live on in and through us.”

I don’t know where Evelyn is buried, but I want to celebrate her life. I have studied her as I was also commissioned to do a sculpture of her for the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center.   I have been celebrating her life all through the last few years by creating this sculpture. Her children have celebrated her by creating this park, and by commissioning me to do this sculpture for the park in her memory.  I do know she was an amazingly strong woman, and I hope I can have her strength, courage and business sense as I proceed in my life.   I have decided that I may go and walk this pathway once a week until the sculpture is placed. Don’t be surprised if you see random rocks in the midst of the empty spot.  I will be culling through my personal collection and placing them there to honor Evelyn and her memory.

If you go to the park, after the sculpture is installed, look behind this book and dedication plaque. If you see a rock, now you will know what it means, and perhaps you will know that I have been there, or maybe others, and that her memory is indeed continuing to live on, in and through us. We are celebrating the memory of her and finding her love through the whimsy.

 

Dedication plaque reads…

Once upon a time,
In a land called Bellaire, there were two brothers,
Bo and Jerry Rubenstein.

The boys wanted to do something special,
To honor their mother, Evelyn.
Evelyn would often say,

“The way to make a difference is by giving and sharing.”
And so, in her memory,
The brothers created Evelyn’s Park
And placed within it
Wonderland.

-2016-

 

 

Jamie Teich, Library Assistant, Acquisitions, Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon and Jason Valdez Library Assistant, Serials and Reference.

Jamie Teich, Library Assistant, Acquisitions, Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon and Jason Valdez Library Assistant, Serials and Reference.

What artist wouldn’t be delighted to have their work a part of the collection in the Museum of Fine Arts. Well, I can say mine is.  Well, not my artwork, but my book. Today the Museum of Fine Arts Houston accepted my book into the Hirsch Library. Chief Librarian Jon Evans and I spoke at the end of last year, and this is the first chance I have had to get down there and bring my book. The book focuses on a lot of fine artists around the world who are using digital technology in their fine art. Last year I found a post on Linked in from Robert Kimberly, an art installer at the MFA. He purchased my book to understand more about one of the pieces he was installing. It was dragon bench by  Joris Laarman. I had no idea the MFA Houston even owned a work by the artist that I featured in my book.  There are many very prominent artists in this book. I’m honored to have had their acquaintance when writing it. I’m even more tickled that it is now a part of the permanent collection at the Hirsch Library. It may be a small thing to others, but for me, to have my book both in the Albright Knox collection and in the MFA Houston, well it is big.

Now, my next goal is to lecture at the MFA about these artists, their process and how digital technology is being embraced by many fine artists, as well as how it is infiltrating some of the traditional sculpting processes.  More on that soon… I hope.

Norma Zenteno sculpture ProjectToday was an exciting day as I met with the family of Norma Zenteno. I’ll soon be starting a sculpture of Norma for the family. The sculpture is of a young Norma playing guitar while a dog looks on. The family will be placing this sculpture at the Brown Foundation Plaza on Harrisburg in Houston’s East End. The sculpture honors Norma and the work of Barrio Dogs. 

The family and I sat together and talked about the scheduling details, fundraising and contracts,  then parted, but at the last minuteI asked if I could see the place where the family was installing her.

Let me back up a bit, If you don’t know my work, I am known for quite a few things in the fine art field. I often incorporate digital technology in my traditional process as I talk about in my last book, I love sculpting children, For a while there everyone referred to me as “the cat girl” because I created the Prairie View Panther for Prairie View University and the very large Grambling Tiger for Grambling State University. I guess recently people know me for the monumental sculpture of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea party which will be installed in November and can be seen on both the Facebook page and the website.

Houston, Texas sculptor Bridgette Mongeon brings literature to life

Diliberto Photo and Design came by and did a wonderful photo shoot for press photos.

I am also known for my sculptures of deceased loved one. For many, this may sound like a very macabre thing to do, but I love it. A few years back Texas Country Reporter created a segment on this portion of my art. I love developing a relationship with the deceased; I love helping families and individuals come together around the likeness of a loved one that I create. I love giving recognition to an individual and honoring their life through my art.I have written much about this process of sculpting deceased loved ones, and one day I hope to publish a book about it.

In walking this one path of my creative journey, I have found that there are some incredible things that happen. It has been a while since I created a life-size sculpture of a deceased loved one. I had almost forgotten about the connections and unusual occurrences that happen when beginning this creative process. It is strange, unusual, wonderful and incredibly inspirational.

That is what happened today. On the way to the destination for the sculpture, I began to get a “feel” for a part of the sculpture. There is a thing that happens during these types of commissions that I can only describe as a “knowing.” Though it has happened over and over again with countless posthumous commissions, it never ceases to excite me. In the case of Norma, it is like she is walking beside me, causing things to happen or showing me how things should go. She solidifies our connection and is in the details, and slowly I get to know her and develop a relationship with her even though we have never met.

I’m delighted with what transpired today. I can’t wait for our next meeting when we prepare some photo reference for the project. The family will be a part of this sitting, a loved one is taking her place wearing clothes similar to Norma’s so that I can get a feel for this. I love this. In creating posthumous sculpture, I have found that those sculptures that have the most life are those that have a strong emotional connection brought on by the interaction and sharing by those who knew and loved the subject. Somehow, their energy and love is fused within the clay. It is very exciting. I can’t wait for the up and coming sitting. I’ll share that soon. In the meantime. I have a new friend. She is not on this earth, but I’m having a great time getting to know her, and watching the light in the eyes of her family as we bond.

Feel free to help to infuse this sculpture. Share your stories to help me bond with Norma. These stories, help me to connect to Norma. Your love and memories are transferred to the clay and bring Norma to life. The Zenteno family has set up a website to begin to receive donations for this sculpture. Thank you for being a part of the creative process.