Cocktail Party Fundraiser for “ La Tienda Medellin” a Community Art Gallery at a Redding artist’s home on Friday April 20th The public is invited to a cocktail party at the home of Margaret Roleke Rooney at 32 Lee Lane in Redding, CT. The event will take place from 7-9pm on April 20th. The party is being held to raise funding and awareness for a project being developed this summer in the Colombian city of Medellin. Margaret’s son Rian Rooney is part of a team of five architecture, art history and philosophy students from Yale and Columbia Universities who are involved in the project. Rian Rooney grew up in Redding , graduated from Joel Barlow High School in 2008 and studies architecture at Colombia University where he will graduate in 2012. Rian is interested in social and political questions in architecture and urbanism. He has studied in Chile and travelled extensively in Central and South America.
The other members of the team are Diego Arango who will also graduate from Columbia University in May with a degree in architecture. Diego grew up in a Colombian family in South Florida and has traveled yearly around Medellin and Colombia throughout his life. Thomas Bettridge is also a Columbia University student majoring in philosophy. He will graduate in May and is the editor of the Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism. Nicholas Murphy will graduate in May from Yale University with a major in art history. Alejandro Uribe was born in Medellin, Colombia and is an environmental engineering student at Columbia University (Class of 2013). These students travelled to Medellin in the winter of 2011 and witnessed firsthand how a city once infamous for decades of violence and civil unrest had transformed into one of the cultural capitals of South America. Inspired by this transformation, they set out to start a community art gallery in this city. During Medellin’s period of cartel-related drug violence, gated shopping malls became the center of the city’s public space. Their aim is to recenter everyday public life away from the divisive space of the shopping mall and create a new type of gallery that brings community members together rather than dividing them.
The team was inspired by the early work of the artist Claes Oldenburg and the Utopian ideas of the Russian Constructivist movement to create a non-commercial gallery or storefront art space where artists and citizens can exchange ideas, opinions, and representations. The public is invited to come and hear the students explain the project while enjoying Colombian appetizers, deserts, beer, wine, and soft drinks.