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June 5, 2014

Colorful banners draw eyes to Glimmerglass

A new public art exhibition has been put up at the Glimmerglass Festival, which at least one organizer hopes will bring additional attention to the institution.

“For me it’s just really important to have stuff that people can experience for free,” said Francesca Zambello, artistic director of the Glimmerglass Festival.

The Glimmerglass Festival is a summer opera festival that has brought world-class opera to the Cooperstown area since 1975.

The art exhibit, called “Flight Patterns,” consists of 10 banners with colorful butterfly patterns that have been placed on the pathway leading up to the Alice Busch Opera Theater and are designed to move with the wind. It was created by artists George Peters and Melanie Walker, of Boulder, Colo., who have created aerial public art pieces for spaces around the world. 

The butterfly patterns on the banners, as well as their shape, loosely tie in with “Madame Butterfly,” a tragic opera about a romance between an American naval officer and a Japanese woman, which is one of four shows the Glimmerglass Festival will put on this year.

“We wanted to have some kind of a Japanese theme,” said Peters.

A number of other ideas, including creating large, white, paper fans, were thrown around before the idea of the banners, made of rip-stop polyester, was settled on. 

“It just catches every little subtle variation in the winds,” said Peters.

Peters and Walker made the patterns by making collages of photographs of butterfly wings in Photoshop. The patterns were then transferred onto the fabric at the Great Winds Kite Company in Seattle Wash., using a heat transfer dye sublimation process. The banners themselves were assembled at the Glimmerglass Festival by Peters and Walker, and attached to fiberglass coated steel poles, that have been secured in concrete bases in the earth.

“Everything fit perfectly,” said Peters, on assembling the banners.

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