The Idea of an Essay, Volume 4

84 The Idea of an Essay: Volume 4 Nature’s Inspiration Kristen Cochran Imagine combining music into sculpture. Michael Jerome Bashaw brilliantly intertwines these two elements in his unique masterpiece, Music Grove, featured at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio. Bashaw’s sculpture, created with bamboo and musical instruments, immediately catches your attention as you walk into the front lobby of the museum. The museum not only encapsulates the lives of African-Americans but also showcases African-American art. Michael Jerome Bashaw’s sculpture Music Grove brilliantly incorporates sound and music through the masterful use of unique natural elements, diverse textures, and interactive instruments. Music Grove truly illustrates the beauty of combining music and sculpture. The sculpture’s main structural component is bamboo rods, connected with zip-ties, housing a variety of musical instruments. As one enters the museum, the sculpture virtually spans the entire lobby. Viewers weave their way through the expansive sculpture, stopping at each “station” to play the musical instruments and watch art come to life. Michael Bashaw not only uses ordinary musical instruments such as gongs and a xylophone, but he also creates natural instruments out of aluminum cans and metal funnels. One of the main instruments, housed in the center of the sculpture, is a sizable hand-made drum with beads inside. By tilting the drum in any direction, the beads rush to the sides, creating the sound of crashing waves on the seashore. The large metal funnels serve as rain-making devices. At the bottom of the funnel, a large piece of copper foil is stretched across the bottom. When water is poured down the funnel, it races down the basin, onto the copper foil, creating the sound of pouring rain. Michael Bashaw incorporates several unique elements using natural lighting and organic materials, allowing him to remain faithful to the rustic feel he achieves. The natural sunlight in the front lobby of the museum highlights the sculpture and immediately