#92 February 1996
Section 220.127.116.11.092.of the Artemis Data Book
The Ars Ad Astra Winner is: Elisabeth Carroll Smith
On September 3, 1995, twenty works of art on the theme "Space & Humanity" that were selected through an international competition accompanied European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Reiter to the Mir space station on his 180 day EUROMIR 95 mission. Picture of Mir Space Station Ars ad Astra represents the first time in histroy that artists have been invited to have their art works included in the world's space program -- in space.
Thomas Reiter and his two Russians colleagues -- Sergei Avdeev and Yuri Ghidzenko -- had the task of deciding which of the twenty art works best fulfilled the theme of the project. After more than one week of deliberations the cosmonauts made their difficult decision. They first narrowed down their choice to ten works, then to just three. The painting they liked the best was "When Dreams Are Born" by American artist Elisabeth Carroll Smith.
The decision was announced during a live 20-minute video link-up with the Mir station on November 30 at 17.00 in the afternoon as a part of ESA's "Art & Space" event which was hosted by the Euro Space Center in Transinne, Belgium.
Thomas Reiter said that the crew took this task very seriously and that having art in their environmant was a welcome and important addition to the strenuous scientific activities that must be carried out by all astronauts.
The astro-jury showed how they displayed the art exhibition in the Mir by attaching the pictures to the station walls. 81 pictures including digitized versions of the 20 originals were stored in an electronic archive in the ESA on-board portable computer.
The winner, a professional pilot, had to make special arrangements with her employer to be present for this once-in-a-lifetime event. She received a special Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph that was on the Mir for one year and which is valued at more than $10,000. The prize was sponsored by the Swiss watch company OMEGA SA. ESA astronaut Ulf Merbold presented the artist with an art print that had flown with him on his EUROMIR 94 mission.
Her work will stay on the Mir space station to entertain future crews and as a symbolic statement about adding a cultural dimension to humanity's space activities.
Thirteen of the twenty space artists were present to hear the live announcement from space. Although most artists came from Europe, some travelled from as far away as Mexico and the United States to be there to hear the result.
The artists were:
Each of these artists received a prize of LASCAUX artists' paints donated by the Swiss producer of fine art materials LASCAUX - Alois Diethelm AG. The paints sets were valued at $250 each.
Approximately one hundred art students from different European schools were also present at the Euro Space Center to participate in the event. They were introduced to European space activities by ESA representatives, had a chance to use the center's facilities, and got to meet European astronaut Ulf Merbold. Five students were picked to ask the Mir crew questions about their experiences in space. Some students brought with them a piece of art that they have made on the same theme -- Space & Humanity. Reproductions of the 20 paintings in space and the student artworks were put on display at the center. A "Cosmic" fashion show and a "vernissage" of the art exhibition taking place on both Earth and in space capped the events of this exciting day.
All of the original art works except for the one chosen to stay on the Mir station will be returned to Earth at the end of the EUROMIR 95 mission. The Ars ad Astra art works will become a part of the "Art to the Stars" exhibition of space art which is currently on an international exhibition tour including stops in Oslo, Berlin, Turin, New York and Beijing.
Ars ad Astra: The 1st Art Exhibition in Earth Orbit and the "Art to the Stars" exhibition are being organized by The OURS Foundation -- a cultural and astronautical organization based in Switzerland. The OURS Foundation was responsible for the flight of the Cosmic Dancer Sculpture to the Mir station in '93 and has organized several major exhibitions and symposia about space art in Europe. The project was endorsed by the prestigous International Academy of Astronautics.
For more details: -- The Twenty Art Works In Space.
The OURS Foundation, CH-8424 Embrach, Switzerland,
Tel. ++41 1 865 08 53; Fax.++41 1 865 26 65.
The OURS Foundation: e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
European Space Agency - Public Relations - Paris.
Tel. ++33 1 53 69 7155; Fax. ++33 1 53 69 7690
Attention: All the Ars ad Astra artworks are under Copyright © 1995 The OURS Foundation. Any commercial exploitation without the explicit written permission from The OURS Foundation is prohibited under law. Use of these pictures in news publications is permitted but must acknowledge both the author of the work and the copyright of the OURS Foundation.
[* Several people suggested that Peter Kokh enter this competition with one of his paintings on glass using "paints" made solely of materials available on the moon. However, OURS guidelines on "painting media" clearly ruled this out.]
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