Bolanle Adeboye: Macrocosmos

Bolanle Adeboye is a designer/maker determined to find and appreciate the exquisite in the mundane. She is very often stunned by beauty lurking in the most unlikely places.  She lives and works in Charlottesville.


When Alan (director of The Bridge) sent out a request for guest journal entries, he included a “cheat sheet”.  It had prompts to get ideas flowing and a bullet point list of possible questions to address. 

A third of the page was dedicated to emphasizing that it was ok to “ditch the bullet points” and write about whatever from whatever perspective in whatever tone. 

It had lots of question marks and ended with an exclamation point.


Why do I bring all this up? 

Because its microcosmic.   And if you’ve had any relation at all with The Bridge, then you know what I’m talking about.  

(Insert all those buzzy words and their synonyms.  Do it alphabetically for fun- “active, accessible, alternative, building, bridging, broadening, connected, collaborative, creative, dedicated, dynamic, diverse“- ok, enough of that 😉

But really,  I bring up the sheet because of the last two sentences on it. These two sentences, which lifted out of context, seem to point right to the heart of my personal struggle with life and art in general, and with “Macrocosmos” specifically.  

One’s a question, and the other is, in answer, an action.  

“What’s the point?”   the sheet asks, meaning, of the work, and of its impact on the community. 

I laugh because I ask this of myself constantly, meaning, of everything, of anything.  “why get up, why brush my teeth, why decide to wrap a building inside and out with 900 sq/ft of “art”?

I dont know. I have to keep finding a reason.  “The point” is so palpable sometimes that the question is non existent, and yet so slippery that i have to keep chasing after it. 


When I went into my first meeting with Alan and Lisa, to talk about a possible exhibition at The Bridge, I had no idea what the show would be.  I left that meeting with not only a grand vision but an absolute confidence in its execution.  

I kept pushing, trying to find the boundaries of what was “allowed” in the gallery and they kept expanding, responding with “yes!”, “ I dont see why not”, and  “we’ll make it work”. 

It was so uncharacteristic it was slightly unbelievable. 

I remember the three of us standing in the parking lot, in late february, looking up at the facade, brainstorming the “large murally, billboardy thing wrapping the exterior of the building…”

I stopped, looked them in the eye and asked “are we really going to go for this? in May? as in in 2 months?”  and they both without hesitation went “yes!”, “I dont see why not”, and  “we’ll make it work”. 

And thats what “engaged, empowering, experimental” looks like folks. 


May came, and “Macrocosmos” went up, and our vibrant community embraced it, interacted with it, contributed to it.  And once again the question of “the point of it all “ evaporated into self evidence.

For a little while. 


The sheet’s last words are an injunction to “…run with it!”  

OK.  I hear you.  I’ll keep up the chase. Life can feel like an endless marathon, but i like the company.  GO TEAM!


See Bolanle Adeboye’s work here.