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Asheville, North Carolina News

The Mannequin Project

ASHEVILLE NC – What happens when you gather six talented people to collaborate on a multimedia art project? If you’re lucky, Magic Happens!

“The Mannequin Project” is full of magical synchronistic moments, blended together in a perfect harmony.

Created and produced by local artist and activist Chloe Kemp, “The Mannequin” will grab you and not let go.  Chloe’s desire to use art as a medium to inspire, motivate, educate and challenge is definitely accomplished here.

This project actually began several years ago when Chloe found a mannequin accompanied by a few photos at a local yard sale.  Chloe set the mannequin in her living room, naming it Molly, so she would see it every day.   One year later she had a revelation about how to tell Molly’s story.  Creating new images with the existing photos, Chloe began to build the narrative.  New photos and video clips were added, with the intention of having a cohesive video as the final project.

“Each piece built perfectly onto the next one,” said Kemp.  Local poet Caleb Beissert, was the first to join.  The hauntingly beautiful spoken word poem Caleb wrote for the project blended beautifully with Kemp’s vision.   When she read Beissert’s draft of  “The Mannequin” for the first time – a hair-raising, chills induced, tear-producing experience – she knew they were on the right track.

Aaron Price, local musician extraordinaire, owner of CollapseAble Recording Studio, and frequent musical accompanist to Beissert’s poetry, agreed to help with the musical and recording end of the project.  In a late November afternoon, Aaron and Chloe coordinated an amazing blend of talent, each piece fitting perfectly together into the next.  Jacob Rodriguez, an amazing saxophone player with an impressive list of accomplishments including working with Aretha Franklin, Michael Buble, Cyrus Chesnut, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, as well as with jazz contemporaries Walter Smith III, Ambrose Akinmusire, and Marcus Gilmore, joined Aaron to create the music for Caleb’s spoken word poem.

Jarret Levine and Mira Shani, whom Kemp discovered performing at a West Asheville Yoga Kirtan, brought a beautiful mix of guitar and song to the ending credits of the video Chloe created.

Everything came together with ease.   After only a few takes for each performer, Aaron and Chloe knew they had a winner.  Listening to the final recording at the end of the day Aaron noted that it was so good people would think it was created in New York City.  Indeed, Asheville has some amazing talent and heart.  Come see for yourself

Join us in January for the Asheville premiere of the “The Mannequin Project”

  • Sunday, January 13th, 7:00 pm at THE ISIS,  743 Haywood Road, West Asheville. Come early for dinner and cocktails.  Stay afterward and listen to amazing jazz music hosted by Dr. Bill Bares with renown musicians Justin Ray on trumpet, Steve Alford on clarinet, Jacob Rodriguez on saxophone, Mike Holstein on bass,  and Ben Bjorlie on drums
  • Friday, January 18th, 6:30 pm at The Satellite Gallery , 55 Broadway Street, downtown Asheville.  Video, music, & poetry
  • Monday, January 21, 7:30 pm at The Altamont Theatre   monthly ’Poetry at the Altamont’ series.   18 Church Street, downtown Asheville


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