FCC Artist Blog

Saturday Public Art Salon: Roots of Four Corners Week 1

Post by: Mechelle Merritt

Cornerstone meeting planning Public Art Salon 3!

Cornerstone meeting planning Public Art Salon 3!

We are excited to be kicking off the  Public Art Salon 3: ”Roots of 4 Corners.” The purpose of the Salon is to unify, recycle, and inspire. We are reaching out to our local Four Corner businesses to learn more about the cultures around us. We will use the information we learn to create chairs that express the genuine heritage of each store we visit for the next six weeks.

Cadieja on the left Mechelle in the right at “Reggae on the Grill”

Cadieja on the left Mechelle in the right at “Reggae on the Grill”

We were fortunate to be able to interview a Reggae on the Grill employee before their renovations. He told us about the food Jamaicans eat, and he was very happy to share his experience. We learned about stew chicken, ox-tail, cabbage, curry chicken, and plantains. Also he told us a special recipe for a drink called Sorrel where you extract the flavor from the sorrel green plant that then comes out as red liquid.

Cadieja and Mechelle interview the historic food store S.K.B’s.

Cadieja and Mechelle interview the historic food store S.K.B’s.

S.K.B convenience store has been in Four Corners since 1998. The store is owned by Daman Muhammad from India. We interviewed an employee who told about a famous dish his family loved to eat. The dish is called biryani made with chicken, beef, sausage, vegetables, and rice. We found that very similar to Jambalaya.

The crew at “Exclusive” barbershop

The crew at “Exclusive” barbershop

Exclusive Barbershop was the next stop to interview. Their barbers  were full of energy and very welcoming. They are from the Dominican Republic and they speak fluent Spanish and English. They named coconuts, cabbage, plantains, rice-n-beans, chicken-n-beef patties, and sea food as popular foods from their country. We found many similarities between their food and Jamaican food.

T&E Mini Mart

T&E Mini Mart

Another interesting interview was with “T&E Mini Mart,” our neighbor directly next door from DAC. The owner is from the country Trinidad and he talked about the West Indian food he loved to eat such as Roti – a tortilla-like roll up sandwich made with potatoes, shrimp, chicken, rice, beans, and special sauce. We thought this recipe was similar to burritos.

Chairs Mechelle found in the trash

Chairs Mechelle found in the trash

On my way to DAC I felt so lucky to find a mother load of chairs at my local church trash area. All of the chairs we are using for this project are recycled from the community. I feel this is a great way to help the environment.

STEP 1: clean the recycled chairs

STEP 1: clean the recycled chairs

To prepare for refurbishing chairs you need to clean the chairs before sanding. This is to prevent dirt from  destroying the sand paper. That way the sand  paper will smooth the wood properly.

STEP 2: sand the chairs

STEP 2: sand the chairs

Sanding the first chair was a very interesting process. First I used 100 level sand paper, secondly I used 120 level sand paper, then lastly 150 level paper for a smooth finish.

Resident of Four Corners helped us sand he was very nice.

Resident of Four Corners helped us sand he was very nice.

STEP 3: the painting starts stay tuned…….

I think the beginning of the “Roots of 4 Corners” project was a success. We  learned about the cultures of the local businesses, recycled chairs and inspired a local resident to be involved. This wonderful beginning proves art, is beautiful, functional and creates unity.