“Rebirth, No Strings Attached” by Stephen Douglas (left) and “Unwoman” by Pam McKnight (right)

We are excited to announce an auction of cello art by abstract painter Stephen Douglas and found object artist Pam McKnight. Dunkley Music donated two no-longer playable cellos to Treasure Valley Artists’ Alliance, and Stephen and Pam transformed them into beautiful works of art. All proceeds from the auction will go towards scholarships for local art students. If you would like to support this program by acquiring one of these cellos, be sure and sign up here to be notified when they go on auction.

More about these works of art:

Through the magic of electronics, Stephen’s cello, Rebirth, No Strings Attached, once again plays music! Stephen tells us, “First I felt it was important to preserve all of the stages of this instrument’s life, revealing all the different elements that allowed it to sing in the first place. Next I wanted to give it back the beautiful voice it had.  I wanted to find a way to give the cello a pulse, a way to show all its moods while it sang.” So, Stephen installed a bluetooth wireless speaker in the instrument and LED lighting with a bass sensor. Now, when you pair the cello with a smart phone or something like Alexa, it plays your music in the cello. The lighting flashes, changes color. It is a multi-media experience. Stephen enjoys playing everything cello on Rebirth, from Yo-Yo Ma’s Bach to a cello version of the theme from Mission Impossible.

Found object artist Pam McKnight’s cello art Unwoman also has a technological flair, but steampunk style. Pam writes about her process and inspiration: “A few years ago I was given a violin in disrepair to use in my art. I had fun turning it into an homage to a Native American violinist. Researching Zitkala-Sa, I used paint, found objects and collage elements to represent the musician. In this [project, I used] metal gears and chains and other cast off items to turn the cello into a steampunk cello. This idea sprang from my research on famous women cellists, and I came across a current cellist who plays in the style of Steampunk music. I was intrigued by the name she goes by: “Unwoman” taken from the book “The Handmaids Tale.” Unwomen are the lesbians, feminists and others who wouldn’t submit to authority. I related to Unwoman’s answer when asked about her creative process. She said each song might have a unique creative process since there is so much experimentation. Some of it is on the fly and some of it is labored over. In my art I enjoy taking items that no longer have an intrinsic value in and of themselves and relish turning them into something new to be enjoyed by someone else rather than end up the in the trash.” To see how Pam put hers together, visit her blog at http://pammcknight.blogspot.com/2018/02/cello-art.html.

So, you want to see (and hear) these cellos. Right? The good news is that they are going on tour around the Valley, and perhaps farther, prior to the auction, so you can see and hear for yourself. First, Stephen’s cello will perform at a wine tasting event at the Vine Wine Shop & Lounge on Friday, March 30, 5:30-8:00 p.m. Then, both cellos are appearing at the reception for the Black & White Exhibition, Friday, April 6, 5:30-8:00 p.m., at Boise State Public Radio, 220 E. Parkcenter Blvd, Boise 83706. More locations will be announced as the schedule firms up, and, if you sign up, we’ll send an email with the updated schedule. And if you want the cellos to attend an event you are organizing, give us a call at 208-870-5556 or email us at info@treasurevalleyartistsalliance.org.

To sign up to be notified about the auction and the schedule for seeing the cellos, just fill in your name and email in the form below and Submit. If you do not see the form, you can get to it by clicking here.

If you do not see the Submit button, please notify webadmin@treasurevalleyartistsalliance.org.