Chase Jones made it a goal to watch the sunrise every day for one full year, and to share the experience with 200 people. The fourth person to watch the sunrise with him became his wife, Jayne (Reynolds) Jones.
Now, with help from his bride, the 23-year-old senior at Florida State University hopes to share his sunrise experience with 20 different communities in Florida, and he has received a $1,000 grant from his college to do so.
“Sarasota is one I definitely wanted to bring my project to, because it’s my hometown,” Jones says.
Jones lived in Lakewood Ranch from age 13 to when he left for college. He still considers it home, even though he splits his time between Tallahassee, where he’s in school, and traveling with his Sunrise Cube.
It’s an 8-foot by 8-foot cube-shaped sculpture built from Mylar, a polyester resin, and it can hold up to 12 people inside of it. The project uses direct light to reflect thousands of light rays.
Jones intends for the public to use it in three ways. The first is watching a sunrise from inside the cube. The second method uses a projector placed outside the cube to project light toward it; the viewer observes the light from inside the cube. And the third way is viewing the cube from the outside, while a dance and musical performance takes place inside of the cube.
Chase Jones built and conceived the project. Jayne Jones’ background is media production, and she helped create the projection aspect, as well as the musical elements. The couple is touring with the project through July and August.
A cross-country bike trip from Portland, Oregon to Tallahassee two summers ago gave Chase Jones a new perspective on life, and, in-turn, the idea for this project.
“The main reason for the trip was to see all of my family; I have five brothers and sisters spread out across the country,” he says.
It took him three months to see his father in New Mexico, his mother in Illinois, his two brothers in Texas, a sister in Utah, a sister in Idaho and, finally, his sister in Tallahassee. He camped for the majority of the trip and would wake up to watch the sunrise.
“I was able to spend a lot of time thinking about my choices, any trials I might be facing, thinking about how I impacted other people and what they are as related to light and darkness,” he explains.
The trip resulted in his sunrise-watching goal, which he started in October 2011. And when the business-major-turned-web-design major-turned-art-major took a class centering around the subject and object of light, he knew what he wanted to make his semester-long project.
“My interest was not just the physical quality of the light, but also the spiritual and emotional quality of it.”
It stemmed from his own life-experience of feeling lonely and dark to feeling happy and full of light— something Jones equates to a personal sunrise. His goal was to find a way to make it universal; thus, he created the Sunrise Cube.
He completed his goal of watching the sunrise with 200 people by the end of 2012. Today, he’s watched the sunrise with nearly 300 people. And for the most part, most people hadn’t previously watched the sunrise from start to finish.
”For the sunrise to be ignored, it’s kind of mind-boggling to me, as special as it is in my life. Now, my dilemma is, ‘How do I share this with other people and make it as available and powerful and possible,” he says. “When was the last time you watched the sunrise?”
IF YOU GO
When: 1 p.m. Saturday, July 27
Where: ArtCenter Manatee, 209 9th St. West, Bradenton
Info: Call 746-2862 for more information