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Muckenthaler Cultural Center invites visitors to become a part of the art

The Found Poetry Project, started by Muck's 2020 Artist in Residence, poet Katharine Zaun.
The Found Poetry Project, started by Muck’s 2020 Artist in Residence, poet Katharine Zaun, invites community members to submit found poetry for a group exhibition at Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton. Found poems are created by using an existing page of text (such as a page from a magazine, newspaper, or book) and remaking it by circling, underlining or blacking out words.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

A new poetry art exhibit at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton allows visitors to become part of the art.

The Found Poetry Project art installation features amateur found poetry on one side, while the other side is left blank for visitors to leave poems or thoughts in chalk and sticky notes.

The exhibit was created by poet Katharine Zaun, an artist in residence at the Muckenthaler, as a way to bring the community together during the pandemic.

Zaun said she thought of the idea after being inspired by the Muckenthaler’s distribution of free art kits to children since the beginning of the pandemic.

“It made me think, ‘What is something that I could do with poetry that would engage some of the Muck members at home,’” Zaun said.

The Found Poetry Project, started by the Muck's 2020 Artist in Residence, Katharine Zaun.
The Found Poetry Project, started by the Muck’s 2020 Artist in Residence, Katharine Zaun.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Zaun held a few virtual instructional workshops where she explained how to create found poems for those who had never created them before. Then people sent in their poems, which are framed on one side of the installation over a mural that Zaun created from painting over cardboard.

The other side of the mural is painted with chalk paint, where visitors can contribute.

“The pixelated effect of the painted cardboard background is representative of the digitally saturated quality of our lives during this pandemic,” Zaun said in a description of the art installation. “We chose cardboard to paint on — rather than painting directly on the mural’s wood panels — because we wanted to stay with the idea of the found poems by using found objects, too.

“The found poems stand out against the cardboard background to portray how we’ve attempted to piece together this new normal and find connection in new ways — find new narratives that give shape to this strange and isolating time.”

The Found Poetry Project is on the lawn of the Muckenthaler center, which is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

For more information, visit themuck.org/found-poetry-project.

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