Buffalo, NY - Artfarms with CS1 Curatorial Projects has commissioned a new art work for the Pelion Community Garden at City Honors School. The goal of the project is to engage students in grades 9-12 in high-level math and science via an interactive sculpture. This unique opportunity will allow teachers to create lesson plans connected to the Common Core and will supplement STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) courses with hands-on real-world experiences.
Building on Pelion’s mission to serve as an outdoor learning lab for students, this new art work will extend the weekly programming currently aimed at middle schoolers, which focuses on natural science, environmental stewardship, gardening and nutrition. Pavilion for Forgotten Skies will invite the upper level students to contemplate the realm of the night sky; its rhythms, cycles, and our lost knowledge of these events as the result of the invention of electricity. The geometric movements of the night sky inspire mathematical and musical expression, while gravitational forces secure us to our planet. The moon influences biological life, as different cultures derive a variety of meanings from the stars.
As artist Matthew Walker says, “Pavilion for Forgotten Skies will educate the leaders of tomorrow in their need to consider alternative solutions for today’s problems. It asks us to look back at what we have lost and gained through our relationship with technology and provides context for discussion of what there is to learn from a more connected understanding of earth systems. How can we be better stewards of the environment and of our undertakings?”
This pavilion will be modeled after the mound buildings of indigenous peoples of North America and Europe and will co-function as an ecological structure and architectural place-maker. From street level the work will appear as an 8 foot high x 300 square foot mound. Plantings upon the mound will include night blooming and scented vegetation, offering passersby and engaged students an opportunity to “see” the overlooked and hidden energy that is in the night. Inside the pavilion will be a seating area in which a constellation map can be projected onto the floor. A device embedded in the structure’s ceiling (inspired by early planetarium projectors) will channel sunlight through a reflective tube and into a series of lenses and perforated foils.
Sitework and installation is planned in a series of working intensives with students and volunteers. The artwork will provide students with hands-on learning and problem solving skills that will complement and enhance their STEM/STEAM classroom curricula and the broader International Baccalaureate course of study at City Honors School.
Points of student engagement include: Structural Design and Construction Arches, bridges, and berms Designing for hydrology Geometry, Mathematics, Sciences Trigonometry, the Golden Mean, and the process of inquiry in mathematics Astronomy and celestial movements Light and optics Ecology & Sustainable practices Building practices Green roofs the philosophy of stewardship Botany/Biology Affects of lunar cycles on plants/biological life Pollinators, microbes, soil structures Anthropology and Archaeology Architectural relationships with technology Vernacular Architecture Indigenous perspectives on cosmology.
Conducted this spring and set to continue in the fall, a series of hands-on activities titled Conceptualizing a Pavilion for Forgotten Skies invites CHS students to understand the principles and concepts behind this proposed artwork. Following a lecture by artist Matt Walker, students created botanical prints and small-scale earth mounds in the classroom under the instruction of CHS art teacher Becky Moda and Pelion Garden Manager Caesandra Seawell.This program is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; administered by Arts Services Initiative of Western New York.
Artfarms Buffalo is an ongoing place-making initiative transforming vacant urban parcels into a locavore food and art centric district, one plot at a time. Located in parts of East Buffalo, an area bypassed by market forces with little economic activity for conventional redevelopment to grow from, Artfarms layers existing farming, art and food efforts into pockets of interdependent activities that form a backdrop for other new development. In 2014, Artfarms completed its first sculpture Tree by Michael Beitz on the Michigan Riley Farm. This summer it erects the first stage of a structure for delicate and climbing crops at the Wilson Street Farm, Rise and Fall, designed by Millie Chen, Joan Linder, and Warren Quigley, fabrication by sculptor Larry Griffis. Artfarms Blog. Artfarms Facebook.
C.S.1 Curatorial Projects commissions and produces new work in collaboration with a wide range of artists, individuals, and institutions. The mission of C.S.1 is to facilitate creative art projects in unexpected spaces. Founded by Claire Schneider, former Albright-Knox Art Gallery Curator, C.S.1 is dedicated to building community through site-responsive and participatory work. Territory of Collaboration is “a sculpture in the form of a garden, which aims to be art,” inspired by Robert Irwin’s Getty Garden and designed by Al Volo and Buffalo Horticulture at 47 Bidwell Parkway. In 2018, C.S.1 Curatorial Projects, Silo City, Ujima Theater, and Young Audiences of WNY celebrates Buffalo’s diversity through a series of cross-neighborhood public art performances with noted African-American artist Nick Cave. www.CS1projects.org & Facebook: C.S.1 Curatorial Projects
Pelion Community Garden at City Honors School was founded in 2011 on four vacant city lots across the street from City Honors School. In the last five years, the school community has transformed this land into a vibrant outdoor horticultural classroom, where students engage in hands-on ways with the natural world. The garden offers several distinct zones, including raised vegetable beds for classroom use, a native perennial rain garden, and a “three sisters” garden. Pelion serves over 200 students a year as well as the larger neighborhood and community, whose residents attend workshops, maintain their own vegetable beds, and participate in free garden activities. Facebook: Pelion Community Garden
Matthew Walker is an artist based in Hamilton, Ontario, whose practice engages a relational experience with landscape and the role landscape has in forming social meaning. Primarily a sculptor, Walker’s Device for the Emancipation of Landscape, begun in 2012, is an ongoing performance in the landscape where a large cannon-like device projects the sounds of nature back into spaces which have been disrupted and dominated by human development. He completed his MFA at the University of Calgary and spent eight years studying and teaching at The Banff Centre in Alberta. Walker has shown nationally and internationally and has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and The Alberta Foundation for the Arts. matthewwalkersculpture.carbonmade.co