We are thrilled to have presented the 2018 Henry Meigs Environmental Leadership Award, our highest honor, to renowned environmental artist and sculptor Stacy Levy. Linking art with science, Levy harnesses ephemeral changes in nature with the lasting presence of sculpture. Rather than simply showing how nature works, Levy has also created and built many projects that solve environmental issues on the site.
Levy was the first artist to receive the Meigs Award. Levy is a distinguished sculptor whose work has broken new ground in linking the worlds of art and science. She uses the language of landscape and art to tell the ecological story of site, and her projects reveal the sometimes hidden natural world in the urban environment. Stacy works closely with landscape architects, engineers, horticulturalists, hydrologists and biologists to create artworks that allow natural systems, like the infiltration of rainwater, to function and thrive. From rivers to runoff, Levy has explored many facets of water along with other ecological subjects.
Through a lyrical approach to natural science, Levy blends an understanding of sustainable design and ecological concepts and harnesses the ephemeral changes of weather and seasons with the lasting presence of sculpture. Rather than simply showing how nature works, Levy has also created and built many projects that solve environmental issues on the site. In addition to her site-based work, Levy has shown extensively at museums and galleries. A native of Philadelphia, she has developed work across the country and internationally. The Schuylkill Center’s art program has worked with Levy a number of times; most recently, Levy created Rain Yard, an innovative outdoor artwork which manages the stormwater runoff from our Visitor Center’s roof.
Braided Channel celebrated Levy’s career to date and presented a new extension of her community-based water work. The gallery featured moving image documentation of a sampling of Levy’s site-based works. Documentation is often a challenge for these works, which are ever-changing in response to environmental conditions, and activated in new ways over time by the presence and participation of people and nature. How alive these works are is often difficult to capture in a gallery setting, with still images serving as a very limited translation of the experience of a site. For this exhibition, Levy developed short, gestural videos that offer dynamic views of these site-based works brought indoors. They offered windows into the places where a selection of Levy’s works are living out into the world.