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February 14, 2013

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Glass House Collective, Public Art Chattanooga and ArtsBuild need your ladders. No, they’re not building a Stairway to Heaven or anything like that (but we would endorse such a project). Instead, they have commissioned Virginia artist Charlie Brouwer to construct a temporary sculpture celebrating community spirit.

“Rise Chattanooga” will feature hundreds of ladders borrowed from arts-minded donors in the project, which began on Feb. 9 and continues until Saturday, Feb. 23. On that day, the project will be complete and featured at Glass House Collective’s “Better Block” event on Glass Street. The entire community is invited to participate.

Brouwer is visiting schools, churches and businesses and even knocking on doors.

“When neighbors need ladders, they borrow them and return them and that makes their relationship stronger—a true community exists when each member realizes that their own hopes and dreams depend on, and are tied to everyone else’s, and the only way to rise is to rise together,” Brouwer said.

Real functional ladders are needed, but ladders of all sizes made from any materials are welcome, including step stools, birdcage ladders and even handmade ladders.

Heavy-duty cable ties will hold the ladders together and tagged labels will be attached to each ladder so that they can be reunited with their owners. An alphabetized list of ladder lenders will be available on riseupchattanooga.org and at the site of the sculpture, 2523 Glass Street, in East Chattanooga.

If you’re not tall enough to reach the top shelf or if you’re still cleaning out gutters, don’t worry. All the ladders will be returned to their  homes on March 30.

Ladders that owners do not want back will be donated to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga.

In 2002, Brouwer began these “Rise Up” projects as a way to engage a broader audience than the traditional “art world” in an authentic contemporary art experience that involved them in its making. This will be his ninth installation made from borrowed ladders. Examples of all his work can be seen at charliebrouwer.com and riseupchattanooga.org.

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