2012 Programs

White House at Deerfield Academy 2011

courtesy Peter Krasznekewicz

A white house on display at Deerfield Academy 2011

Peter Krasznekiewicz

courtesy Peter Krasznekewicz

Peter Krasznekewicz at work

The Little White House Project: “Dwell in Possibility”
A green, public-art installation of 40 white houses along Main Street

Thursday, May 10 to Saturday, June 30, 2012
Opening Reception May 12 at the Emily Dickinson Museum
on view dawn-dusk
Fee:  none

The Emily Dickinson Museum, in collaboration with the Amherst Public Arts Commission, is pleased to present "The Little White House Project: ‘Dwell in Possibility’," an ingenious art installation across the grounds of the Homestead, The Evergreens, and other Main Street  properties.

Created in 2011 by Deerfield Academy student Peter Krasznekewicz, the exhibition will be in place from May 10 to June 30, 2012, and is free and open to the public. The exhibit opening will coincide with the Emily Dickinson Museum’s annual Poetry Walk on May 12.

Deerfield Academy senior Peter Krasznekewicz came up with the concept for the exhibit after his freshman year. Partially inspired by the works of Bulgarian public artist Christo and partially by his early exposure to the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Peter developed the idea of creating stylized white houses with quotes form Dickinson’s poetry.

Peter’s goals were to produce a work of art that honored Dickinson’s profound view of the world, was rooted in the landscape, benefitted the Deerfield and Amherst communities, and, as a “green” art project, did not create waste. After exhibition, the materials used in the construction of the houses will be recycled by Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity for use in a new local project.

Each of the forty white houses is approximately seven feet long, four feet wide, and eight feet tall, made from Forest Stewardship Council certified and formaldehyde-free plywood panels. On every house, Peter stenciled lines of Dickinson’s poetry, spreading the words of each line around all surfaces in different font sizes—essentially “wrapping” the houses in poetry, using them as canvasses for thought and contemplation.

The structures will be placed on several properties in the Dickinson National Register District starting at the edge of Sweetser Park, then on to the Gates Lot, the museum grounds, the lawn of the Amherst Woman’s Club, and the lawn of the Hills House next door.

In addition to the Emily Dickinson Museum, sponsors include the Amherst Public Arts Commission; The Jones Library, Inc.; Amherst Woman's Club; Hills House LLC; and Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Related programs and installations

In conjunction with the Little White House installation, the Amherst Public Arts Commission is spearheading an arts education component with arts and English teachers in the local schools. Scrap wood from the house construction will be cut into one foot squares and donated to local schools and artists to be used as canvases for new paintings based on Emily Dickinson’s poems. Selected entries will be displayed in the Dickinson Homestead through the month of June. The majority of the panels will be featured in the “Emily’s Rhapsody” installation at the 2012 Amherst Biennial this Fall.

 The Jones Library will host two “graffiti houses” in its atrium, featuring the work of Boston street artists Todd Robertson and William Long beginning May 1 and on view through the end of June.

Some of the white houses will appear in Franklin County, including sites in Greenfield where Peter will present his project to the Cultural Economy summit 3 conference sponsored by Fostering the Arts & Cultural Project for Franklin County on March 23 and 24.

“The Little White House Project is one of the most creative ideas I’ve ever seen for conveying the power of Emily Dickinson’s poetry,” says Jane Wald, executive director of the Emily Dickinson Museum. Terry Rooney, chair of the Amherst Public Art Commission, adds, “These houses bring Emily’s poems alive in a very contemporary way.”