Orlando artist launches global art awareness project using paper bag mushrooms.
April 1st – Forever???
Doug Rhodehamel [email protected]
website : www.dougrhodehamel.com
Do you know the mushroom man? You might, and you might not even know it. Orlando Installation artist, Doug Rhodehamel, has been covering the planet in his whimsical paper bag mushrooms for more than 20 years. This spring he is asking the citizens of the world to help promote his awareness program: The SPORE Project.
Developed in 2005, the SPORE Project was designed to promote support for creativity and art education by constructing and planting patches of mushrooms made from brown paper lunch bags. Why paper mushrooms? Quite simply, they are fun and easy to make.
Whether real or constructed from paper bags, mushrooms awake the imagination, seemingly popping up whimsically overnight like a magical, storybook happening – and they are familiar worldwide!
With the help of many different participants, Rhodehamel has managed to plant mushrooms on every continent in the world … including Antarctica. This time around, rather than merely planting as many mushrooms as he can, Doug hopes to focus more on the purpose of the SPORE Project. “What I really hope to achieve is more on the awareness aspect of this project,” Rhodehamel says. “I want people to know just how important creativity and art education is. A lot of people take both for granted, but without the twin forces of creativity and art education we really have nothing.”
Every spring, Rhodehamel himself will be planting masses of mushrooms in unexpected areas during April and May, located all around Orlando and in other parts of Central Florida. He hopes that schools, community centers and individuals around the world will join him in the effort to use paper bag mushrooms to create art education awareness.
Why spring? Spring will have sprung, and the kids (as well as their teachers) will be full of the season’s fever and will need something fun to do in school. Based on his past efforts, Spring is a great time for making mushrooms: It has a calming effect on everyone; the cost of materials is extremely lo, averaging 5 dollars per hundred mushrooms; and children especially love painting them.
Photos of the individual plantings will be posted on the SPORE Project website to give participants a sense of involvement. They will be able to point to a part of the project and say “I did that!” The project’s Facebook page also allows participants to communicate, organize and post photos of what they have done, or intend to do.
Doug also has two secret pet paper bag mushroom projects in the works. One is to have mushrooms planted on the lawn of the White House, and his other endeavor hopes to send a mushroom up to the International Space Station. He has already developed a specialized mushroom perfectly suited for space travel.
The SPORE Project is open to anyone who wants to participate. It’s a great excuse to get some friends, relatives, coworkers, or inmates together to create something. Make some mushrooms and plant them in someone’s yard and above all, have fun! You’ll be helping to make the world a better place.
The SPORE Project is web-based, and everything you need to know can be found at www.dougrhodehamel.com.
Press photos available at