Goods Riddance is a project begun by Adriane Herman in June, 2014, two days after her beloved dog, Browser, died. Having just “let go” of her treasured companion, Adriane felt she could let go of anything and began purging in earnest.
These were the very specific personal breeding grounds for a project that continues to expand far beyond its beginnings as an individual’s campaign to pare down. By occasioning opportunities for others to release things – accompanied by the encouraging sound of cheering – and by collecting new images of and stories about people letting go of things that they feel hamper them, Adriane and Mo believe that this project has the potential to affect the lives of myriad individuals. They envision an impact on both those who participate in the project as purgers, and those who receive a printed pamphlet arising from these engagements that will be inserted in the KC Star later this year.
How does art graduate from interesting to meaningful? William Carlos Williams produced a cheaply made, advertising-free magazine in 1921 called “Contact”, that Donna Casella dubbed “A Rebellion against the Arty Art Worshippers.” The premiere issue of “Contact” declares: “we are here because of our faith in … artists who are capable of having, comprehending, and recording ordinary experiences. Artists who deal with our situations.”
Adriane and Mo relish ordinary experiences and synchronistic situations, and when it comes to the stuff that pens people in, physically as well as psychically, believe that we are clearly “in it together”: “Kansas Citians from both sides of the river and the political aisle hip check closets and pay rent on storage spaces in perpetuity, resisting releasing things that evoke memories. In lieu of releasing redundancies, we procrastinate…”
Sharing stories, bearing witness and offering encouragement are all acts of generosity and, oddly, can often be easier to do so with strangers than with friends and loved ones. Stepping into unfamiliar zones, even those studded with land-mines of discomfort, can lead to exponential growth. For Mo and Adriane, such zones of discomfort formerly included organized spiritual communities. But they teamed up with artist-pastor Dylan Mortimer and visited an evangelical church in Prairie Village on ten consecutive Sundays, for a mutually expansive encounter in which they worked with the assembled congregation to jettison accumulated baggage.
Believing that everyone needs role models, and that a little encouragement goes a long way, Adriane and Mo are continuing the Goods Riddance project at other, secular sites. In addition to collecting stories, they are chronicling the ease and release that are evident when people let go of things – through photographing the sometimes awkward, but often surprisingly graceful poses they strike as the discarded objects fly through the air.
They will also use the text and images they collect to create a humorous yet pointed publication resembling a “discount flier”. This will arrive as an insert in the Sunday newspaper, delivered to households around the Kansas City metro at the peak of the holiday buying season. Adriane and Mo see this method of delivery as an apt way to transmit an infectious energy that might help others let go, or even avoid acquiring things that will consume physical and psychological space.
Adriane Herman researches how to live consciously and seeks mentorship from strangers who seem effortlessly able to do things that much of her training made counter-intuitive. Her current mission is to lighten her load by releasing objects, activities, and relationships that hamper her growth, and acknowledge that her perceived need to maintain them has to do with unfulfilled needs that she is even less likely to have met if she doesn’t create space in her life for new things to enter.
Herman is an internationally exhibited artist, with many solo shows across the continental United States. She has received numerous grants and awards and her work has been showcased in journals, books and printmaking surveys. Herman has worked in collaborative groups such as Slop Art, and teaches in the areas of both printmaking and sculpture. She holds a B.A. from Smith College and an M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a Level II certificate in the Wilton Method of Cake Decorating.
Mo Dickens lived 40 years in North Carolina, working as a journalist/columnist, and public school teacher. Since 2005, Mo has been Gallery Assistant at Belger Arts Center. He writes press releases, organizes exhibitions and loans, and has given personal tours of the Belger Collection to 50,000+ visitors. Mo is one of those rare people with spare time, which he fills shaking hands with and/or hugging myriad talented artists, gallerists, and curators in the Paris of the Plains. In 2010 The Pitch named Mo Kansas City’s “Best Humble Servant of the Arts,” frustrating him that the honor precluded bragging about it.