Meet Your Creek combines ecological literacy and community art practice around Longfellow Creek. As part of the project, funded by Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art funds, I invited other artists with a connection to the creek to create "postcards from the creek." Their wonderful works are now posted on the blog. Please check it out!
Very excited to be working on this project with King County!
As development continues throughout King County, more and more of our surfaces are impervious. When rain hits pavement and asphalt, it collects pollutants as it travels into Puget Sound’s streams, lakes, rivers, and bays—this is stormwater.
In order to address stormwater issues, King County’s Water and Land Resource Division Stormwater Services Section (the Section) is developing a program to incentivize green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) on private properties in unincorporated King County. It partnership with the Section, we put out a call for an artist to reimagine rain gardens and help get the public engaged with them. Now, we are excited to announce that Vaughn Bell was selected for this unique opportunity.
Vaughn brings experience working with people across disciplines—engineers, community members, young people, scientists, artists, and many others. Her experience working with Seattle Public Utilities Drainage and Wastewater since 2016 as Artist in Residence has united her interests in environmental policy and public art.
Super Natural explores artist-imagined innovation for human interactions with the natural world. Ari Weinkle’s typographic animations play with natural forms within the context of 3D-rendered alphabets. Emma Steinkraus, a fine-art painter, decorated a silk jacket with images of flora that can be foraged from the landscape of the Ozarks.
Vaughn Bell’s hanging plexiglass terrariums invite gallery viewers to stick their heads into plant space. Members of the fall Botany course will curate and cultivate the plants in these forms while the exhibit is on view.
Exhibition runs until December 8, 2018 at the Warner Gallery at Millbrook School.
Image of "Local Homes" courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden, this work is re-created in a new form at Millbrook School.
My colleague and collaborator Antonio José García Cano has added content to our blog about the WATERshed project. WATERshed is a trans-disciplinary effort that connects the work of student artists and student scientists in exploration of the Puyallup River Watershed. Check it out!
The University of Washington-Tacoma is located within the watershed of the Puyallup River, which drains into Commencement Bay and to Puget Sound. Vaughn Bell’s Eco-Art class TARTS 402 has begun an on-going exploration of the local watershed through walks, mapping, journaling and other art practices. This project was developed out of collaborative research between Vaughn Bell, Antonio José García Cano (a Fulbright Fellow from Spain), and UW-Tacoma students.
WATERshed involves an exploration of our local watershed at the macro and micro scales. Students explore, research, and reveal the larger Puyallup Watershed through field trips, mapping exercises, journaling, drawing and discussions. Simultaneously, students examine the local conditions of wáter flow on a site inmediately adjacent to the Art Building on campus and propose and create artworks for site to address environmental conditions. Student work, documents and reflections become part of on-going exhibition and archive on campus.
I'm working on a public art project with the community of the University of Washington-Tacoma. All the Rivers in the World, Tacoma
Meet your Creek continues to work at the confluence of public art and ecological literacy with community-engaged art events. www.meetyourcreek.com/
For the very first time, the International Weather and Climate Forum welcomes contemporary art with Warmingland, a group
exhibition that addresses the questions of climate change and sustainable development. Warmingland brings together a
group of international artists who are committed to this cause: Vaughn Bell (USA), Wen Fang (China), Jérémy Gobé (France),
Studio Orta (England, Argentina, France) and Douglas White (England).
In a playful nod to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Warmingland addresses the alarming increase in temperature in this
wonderful land that is planet Earth. The exhibition takes visitors through the looking glass into a world of polluted air and
bleaching coral, a world where islands are disappearing because of rising sea levels. And yet it is also a world whose citizens
marvel at the beauties of nature, rally round and take part in trying to preserve their common heritage.
Warmingland takes a sensitive and participative approach, one that doesn’t try to list the woes of our beleaguered planet, but
rather extends a poetic invitation to visitors, encouraging them to open their eyes to what is at stake and take action. The
artist and environmentalist Joseph Beuys maintained that “every man is an artist” and, as far as the climate is concerned,
transitioning towards a low-carbon economy is definitely in our hands.
Jean Jouzel, the president of the International Weather and Climate Forum, is convinced that, because the environmental
transition is also a cultural one, it is vital today to turn to art. As he says: “Artists definitely have a role to play in developing
awareness of global warning and its consequences”.
Visitors to Warmingland will discover some pioneering works as they embark on an amusing and sensory journey, one that is
both committed and deeply moving.
Entering the exhibition, they will be welcomed by English artist Douglas White’s immense Black Palm. Here the palm tree, which
is emblematic of tropical island paradises, becomes the symbol of a world that is reliant on carbon. This sculpture illustrates
resilience and the solution: a circular economy that recycles its waste transforming it into spectacular new raw materials.
The Antarctica World Passport programme by the world-famous artist duo Lucy + Jorge Orta gives visitors the opportunity to join a
community of some 25,000 citizens around the world who hold an Antarctic passport as a token of their commitment to preserve the
world we share.
American artist and environmentalist Vaughn Bell endeavours to capture the beauty of living nature, its smells and its poetry. Village
Green comprises four fragile and wonderful landscapes that visitors can discover in a multi-sensory experience by placing their heads
inside the terrarium-like structures.
Jérémy Gobé immerses visitors in the marine environment, which is also adversely affected by global warming. Coral / Artefact, a
scientific and artistic project that aims to save the world’s corals, is being presented to the public for the first time. Can artists and
scientists manage to save coral by working together? Let’s hope so!
Confronted with air pollution and global warming (which contributes to exacerbating the effects of pollution on our health), everyone
has a role to play with their art and creativity. It is this firm belief that drives the Maskbook project, a collective work of art launched
by Chinese artist Wen Fang and Art of change 21. The project allows thousands of participants from all over the world to express
their solutions. A Maskbook workshop will be organised during the Forum.
“Art is the best option for taking action, developing awareness and innovating in the field of sustainable development. It is a way of
forging perceptible connections with climatic phenomena that can be difficult to apprehend and which may sometimes seem elusive
and threatening” according to the two people who came up with the idea for the exhibition, Alice Audouin and Marguerite Courtel
from Alice Audouin Consulting, which specialises in the relationship between art and sustainable development.
Warmingland was made possible thanks to the support of Schneider Electric Foundation, LVMH, Mirova (Natixis Investment
Managers), GreenFlex and Enercoop.
About The International Weather and Climate Forum
The International Weather and Climate Forum (FIM) was created in 2004. It is a key event on the calendar both in terms of
education and as a means of rallying support. The forum is part an event for the general public, part international symposium
and part contemporary art exhibition, as well as being a media workshop for weathermen and women from numerous countries.
The FIM is presided over by the climatologist Jean Jouzel.
About Alice Audouin Consulting
Alice Audouin Consulting is a consulting firm specialising in art, sustainable development and responsible communication. The
two partners, Alice Audouin and Marguerite Courtel, strive day-by-day to ensure that innovation and creativity are at the heart of
companies’ corporate strategy and that artists play a major role in the environmental transition.
International WEATHER AND CLIMATE FORUM
Paris de l’Hotel de Ville, 75004 Paris
2nd-3rd June, 11am-6pm; 4th-5th June, 9am-6pm
Exhibition tour everyday at 3pm
Come see my new work "Local Homes" and more at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Saturday & Sunday, April 21 & 22, 2018
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Special events on Friday, April 20
With three days of science activities, the Unearth Science festival celebrates science and nature in ways that will encourage you to see, touch, hear, and explore.
Meet Your Creek connects public art, place-based learning and ecological literacy. Over the course of 2018, beginning with a kick-off in November 2017, a series of participatory community events is unfolding around Longfellow Creek. Art events will occur in tandem with community events sponsored by Seattle Public Utilities to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Watershed Action Plan.
We are creating unique, hand-made Postcards from the Creek. Participants make their own postcard based on their own observations and understanding of Longfellow Creek. They are then invited to either mail the postcard to a friend or loved one, or to donate it to the postcard archive, which may be exhibited at a local venue. When we think of sending a postcard, we often imagine a scene of spectacular natural beauty, inspiring awe in national parks or famous sites. By creating postcards from our own backyards, we find an opportunity to observe more closely the processes happening all around us. Mailing the postcard and sharing the images online offers a chance to share knowledge about our own local place and its inhabitants.
Funding for this project is provided by Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art Funds, administered by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.
Last month I was in Italy creating a site-based work through the Eremi Arte program. It was a wonderful experience to be able to create work in response to and collaboration with such an amazing place.
I wrote this little bit about the process of working:
To fly in a plane, to go to a place with language you don’t speak, to be surrounded by strangers, to first arrive in a place after dark and wind up the curving road not knowing where, in a new time- this is dis-orienting. To re-orient takes time. To know a place may take months, years, a lifetime. So what is it for an artist to come to some place they don’t know- really deeply don’t know, and respond? This is a difficult question. I am most interested in artists whose process in some way responds to a specific situation/time/place. But why some artist, why here- why me? And what danger is there in this approach? How can we fail- the expectations of the hosts, my own expectations, the community, the place? With this feeling of uncertainty comes discomfort and fear. Look at the beautiful landscape! Look at the deep history, culture and spirit of this place! Now what will you do?
Actually this uncertainty and discomfort is probably very good, and very important. So I think an experience like this is good for an artist: mind-refreshing, fear-inducing, challenging. If a work comes together in a short time, and feels successful, it is also satisfying for an artist and community working together. However, we must also be prepared for a work to “fail” and for this process of failure to still have some value to those involved in it. For me it is also important that the discussion and presentation of the artwork highlight that it is contingent: arising from relationships between people, institutions, location, timeframe and context. The artwork is not the idea or vision of an individual expressed in the place, rather it is a confluence of forces temporarily arising in the place.
I would like to thank the organizers of the Eremi Arte program for creating a situation in which this confluence of forces can occur. I am thankful that enthusiastic students were willing to engage in an uncertain process. I am also very grateful that, because of the happy confluence of people, place and ideas, we have created a work which I believe has some depth, presence and sensitivity.