Columbus State’s Pasaquan Releases Limited-edition Vinyl Album
Tuesday, November 30th, 2021
The Pasaquan Preservation Society recently released A Circle of Atoms: the Pasaquan Sessions, a vinyl record celebrating the legacy of artist and Pasaquan creator Eddie Owens Martin, commonly known as “St. EOM.”
The collaborative project between Pasaquan, the Schwob School of Music and Institute 193 has been over a year in the making—complicated in large part by the COVID-19 pandemic. After the site was forced to cancel its annual musical festival, Pasafest, Schwob music students—under the direction of music technology professor Dr. Matt McCabe—brought the recording studio to the Buena Vista-based outdoor art environment in July 2020. Students and videographer Matt Hanner constructed sound engineering and video recordings of the tracks on site to capture the artistic atmosphere of Pasaquan.
“We see Pasaquan as a center for creativity for artists, poets and creative original pieces. This album and the curated selection of songs really embrace and embody the spirit of Eddie and this site,” said Mike McFalls, director of Pasaquan and a professor of art.
The limited-edition run of 500 albums produced by Kindercore Vinyl is available for sale now. The album was funded through a grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts, the Kohler Foundation, and the Georgia Department of Economic Development, so all proceeds from the album’s sale go back to the preservation of the site.
The album’s eight tracks are by musicians Robert Lee Coleman, Lonnie Holly, Exotic Bird Hunter, James Husband, Chickasaw Mudd Puppies, Nikkie Speake, Crispin Wah, and Jim White. The album also includes voiceovers recorded by Martin before his death in 1986.
“Many of the artists on the album wrote songs about or inspired by Pasaquan,” said McFalls. “Most of the artists there understand the value of a place like this and they want to help with perpetuating Pasaquan’s influence in the art community.”
The album cover features photos by famed photographer Guy Mendes, including one of Martin at the site. The album also comes with a poster featuring an image of Pasaquan.
Pasaquan is also in the midst of a three-year preservation project, funded in part by a grant from the RDK Foundation. The project is a cross-collaborative effort between CSU chemistry students under the direction of associate professor Dr. Kerri Taylor and art students under McFalls’ direction. Chemistry students determined the paint used on Pasaquan’s exterior surfaces has been deteriorating under environmental conditions and are working with art students to repaint the site.
Martin built Pasaquan over a decade beginning in the late 1950s. The word Pasaquan is coined from Spanish and Chinese languages, meaning roughly “the past coming together.” The seven-acre art compound is now internationally renowned and includes concrete sculptures and over 900 feet of masonry walls—all eccentrically painted in the African, pre-Columbian Mexico and Native American cultural style for which Pasaquan is known. The site was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008, and Columbus State took ownership of it in 2016.
Pasaquan is open to the public Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pasafest is being planned as an in-person event for April 16, 2022. For more information, visit pasaquan.columbusstate.edu.