Songs the Plants Taught Us
Supported by a University Research Council Arts Advancement grant, Songs the Plants Taught Us researches the intertwined futures of plants and humans to stimulate civic dialogue around green improvements to the urban landscape. Gallery events work as a microcosm for understanding the green livability of Camp Washington, inviting partnerships with local business, civic and arts leaders to unite behind an appreciation for, and celebration of, the value of plants and parks in the neighborhood. Spring 2019 events at Anytime Dept. gallery included an exhibition of over 20 artists’ paintings, flower plantings, film screenings, poetry readings, and performances, with conversations each week on urban gardens and food forests, plant communication and therapy, and the use of public parks.
In 2020 events continue at Wave Pool with an exhibition on African plant diasporas, community meals, and a Spring public event “Concert for the Trees,” with food and refreshments, and where an itinerant orchestra plays songs to the trees in Valley Park. Recognizing that purely instrumental approaches to using art for civic engagement will be insufficiently innovative to stimulate all Camp Washington residents, these events situate unconventionally indeterminate perspectives and practices alongside ones that are more explicitly directed at community engagement.