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333 Fathoms

“333 Fathoms” Detail. Paper, ink, glass, cork, rocks, wool yarn, wax, wood, paint. Feb. 1, 2013 through July 31, 2015.

In an unplanned convergence, two First Friday openings invite residents to share messages – either with their community or their deceased loved ones.

In “333 Fathoms Deep,” at the Brink gallery, artists Howard and Lorraine Barlow encourage visitors to write letters to their loved ones – sharing the words they wish they had said, but didn’t before it was too late.

The Washington artists’ project will culminate with the submerging of these messages at the edge of the continental shelf, 50 miles off the Washington coast, on the next blue moon in July 2015.

The other works at their Brink exhibition, “XOXO,” acknowledge each other’s impending deaths by “creating sculptural works examining oath, love, loss, ritual, and tradition in a way that is anything but dull, distanced or businesslike,” the Brink wrote in an email.

A reception will be held on Friday, Sept. 6, from 5-8 p.m., at 111 W. Front St. Normal gallery hours are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

New Orleans artist Candy Chang’s worldwide project began with a simple act – scrawling a message to a loved one on an abandoned house. It developed into a public art project in which passers-by are invited to pick up a piece of chalk and complete the sentence, “Before I Die I Want to ... ”

The many humorous, heartbreaking and surprising answers have helped spread the project to other cities, Missoula among them.

The Garden City incarnation, a 24-by-7-foot chalkboard, will go up on Friday afternoon at the Central Park parking structure on West Main Street., a local site whose motto is “neighbors helping neighbors,” got the OK for the local version from Missoula Mayor John Engen, who will christen the board with its first aspiration at 4:30 p.m. on First Friday. The official opening continues until 8 p.m. at 128 W. Main St., and an accompanying reception will be held from 5-8 p.m. at Beaudette Consulting Engineers, 131 W. Main.

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