Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Artist scatters her leaves worldwide

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hmmm. Sounds as if there are 20 confused people wandering around France right now. Wooden leaves hidden behind monuments can do that to you.

        The perp is Cincinnatian Carol Ann Newsome, manager of Talbot House's Driver Intervention Program by day, artist and founder of New Leaf by night.

        New Leaf is the project where she cuts a 31/2- by 41/2-inch piece of wood, paints a leaf on one side and “Turn over a new leaf” on the other. Then she hides them for people to find because “it's fun to do something generous and artsy for the universe.”

        She's fresh back from a bike tour of the French countryside where she left 10 at historical sites, then 10 more in Paris.

        Because “turn over a new leaf” doesn't translate and keep its idiomatic meaning, she left it in English. She hasn't heard from any finders, but she will: “It's the chaos theory. Someone will find one and find me on the Internet.”

        Since the project began in 1995, she has distributed more than 2,000 leaves in 24 countries.

        As for now, she's 700 away from finishing a batch of 2,000 for her Millennium 2000 project. It ultimately will drop leaves in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa Jan. 1, 2001.

        “I have 80 volunteers to do it. I just have to finish the leaves first. I'm spending 20 to 25 hours a weekend painting.”

        On the floor: Dang, weren't they just everywhere? 'NSync and Britney Spears (here because 'NSnycer Justin Timberlake and she are an item), we mean.

        Like last Thursday, before their Friday concert: They did Main Street awhile, mostly the dance club Electra, then headed to Rumba, the club at the Waterfront.

        “They stayed about two hours and danced a lot,” says owner Jeff Ruby. We put them in the Rum Room (a VIP area) so they'd have some privacy, but people can see in.

        “What amazed me is seeing how big they are, they just went right out to the dance floor and had fun. They actually closed the place.”


        Bear facts: Merciful heavens, it's a polar bear controversy. At the heart of it are Berit and her brother Ulaq, the 2-year-old Denver polar bears living in Cincinnati's Lords of the Arctic exhibit.

        Cincinnati is doing a Name the Bears contest for kids, so the names Ulaq and Berit are goners.

        And that has Denver's Barbara Hartley plenty steamed. She paid the Denver Zoo $3,250 for naming rights to the female and settled on Berit in honor of her granddaughter.

        “I won the privilege of naming the bear,” she told the Denver Post. “I gave quite a donation for that. I don't think it's fair. If they were named here, the names should stay the same. I don't see why Cincinnati has that right.”

        Cincinnati didn't know about that, says marketing director Donna Oehler. It's doing a contest because “We wanted to have the bears embraced by the community. We wanted to get everybody involved.”

        Everyone is. Public relations manager Barb Rish estimates 10,000 entries (“It's on the Internet, so we get them from everywhere,” she says.) and the deadline isn't until July 30.

        Knip's Eye View appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.