Julie Comnick

Julie Comnick's Arrangement for a Silent Orchestra is a video and painting project that explores the gradual dissolution of culture in contemporary society through the symbolic ruin of a personal and cultural icon: the violin.

Forced to take music lessons as a child, Julie selected the violin at age 8 and stopped playing at 18. Over the course of nine months, she solicited instrument repair shops for violins that could not be salvaged. After collecting nearly 100 violins, she piled them on a mountaintop and burned them from 6pm to 6am the following morning. From the video footage she took of this event, Julie has created twelve large-scale paintings depicting the violins in varying stages of ruin.

Due to increased emphasis on technology and decreased emphasis on the arts, youth are becoming less and less likely to learn to play an instrument; on this trajectory, future generations would be less likely to pass on cultural legacy to their children. We are at risk of its eventual loss. Julie invites the audience to consider what makes a musical instrument precious in their own experience, and also the cultural context that could allow for its loss.


Julie Comnick earned her MFA in Painting from Montana State University and her BFA from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. She currently lives and works in Flagstaff, AZ as the Foundations Coordinator and Instructor at the School of Art at North Arizona University. She has exhibited nationally in AZ, OK, CO, IL, SC, CT, and Washington, DC.