LandLab is a unique artist residency program that operates on multiple platforms: artistic creation, ecological restoration and education. A joint project of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education and the�Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA), LandLab offers resources and space on our 340-acre wooded property for visual artists to engage audiences in the processes of ecological stewardship through scientific investigation and artistic creation.

The Schuylkill Center and the Center for Emerging Visual Artists are pleased to announce the selected artists for the LandLab residency. The selected artists will conduct their three projects through yearlong paid residencies, where they will engage with the Schuylkill Center�s property, conduct research, and develop and create installations which intervene with the land and demonstrate ecological solutions. Residencies will run through the summer of 2018. The final artworks will be on view at the Schuylkill Center free of charge, and an exhibition documenting the LandLab artists� process will be on view in the gallery at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists in Center City in the fall of 2018. Opportunities to engage with the artists� projects will be ongoing throughout the year.

Dance Exchange is a non-profit dance organization based in Takoma Park, Maryland, known for innovative performance projects and creative practices that engage communities and partners across wide ranging disciplines. Dance Exchange creates performance engagements that speak to the issues of a place and the people that steward that place, collaborating to advance how individuals and communities come together to create change in the world. Cassie Meador is a choreographer, performer, educator, writer and Executive Artistic Director of Dance Exchange. Her works have tackled numerous social and environmental issues, like How To Lose a Mountain, which reflects on a 500-mile walk Meador took from Washington, DC to a mountaintop removal mining site in West Virginia to trace the impacts of the energy that fuel her home. Meador�s Moving Field Guides, an interactive outdoor experience led by artists, naturalists and regional experts in ecology, is being implemented nationwide in partnership with the USDA Forest Service.

During LandLab, Dance Exchange will explore Philadelphia's waterways through movement exploration with visitors and local artists and scientists, culminating in installation and performance at the Schuylkill Center. Civilization begins and ends at the river�s edge. Where land meets water, many human stories are told, histories are revealed and concealed, futures are envisioned, debated, and denied. The history and future of the Schuylkill River is one central to the story of our country and of southeastern Pennsylvania, and the implications of our relationship to the river are vital to our understanding of how we continue to care for our environment. Through this residency, Cassie Meador, Executive Artistic Director of Dance Exchange, will begin a new project that explores the relationship between land and water. Meador will collaborate with Jame McCray, an interdisciplinary ecologist, and Zeke Leonard, an artist who mobilizes community-based sustainability efforts through interactive musical objects and installations. The creative team will use interdisciplinary dancemaking to move community members from a place of observation to participation to active stewardship.

Kate Farquhar is a Philadelphia based artist and landscape architect, whose work combines her artistic interests with her apprenticeship in cutting edge green infrastructure. Her process occupies the space where habitat, green infrastructure and myth overlap. Currently, she collaborates with the interdisciplinary studio at Roofmeadow, designing green infrastructure and places for people. Recently she has been inspired by professional projects such as assistant-teaching Drawing and Field Ecology in PennDesign's Master of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning department. Earlier this year she also coordinated the Penn Program for Environmental Humanities WetLand Art Residency. In the past, she has apprenticed in environmental planning, native plant cultivation, gardening, product design, public interest folklore, social justice, street art and outdoor education.

Kate conceives a collection of mythic micro-environments - called Synestates - to thoughtfully insert materials or elements from the cityscape into SCEE's wild and managed lands, speculating about future possibilities for contact between people and the environment. Synestates play on the concept of synesthesia, whereby the mind correlates one category of abstract information with another. These works will bring cognitive dissonance into the "forest bath" at SCEE, reminding visitors that being outside immerses one in a world of cognitive differentiation.Projects will combine conventional hard urban materials and synthetic interfacing with living and/or decaying organisms. Subsequent human contact is eagerly anticipated!

Jan Mun is a media artist that creates social sculptures working with digital and living media. The landscape has become her framework to unfold stories about others and herself by using a combination of artistic and scientific processes that manifest in the form of interactive installations, photography, performance, and bio-art. Jan creates interfaces to elicit participation as a reflection and critique of our political and social systems. Working with communities such as Newtown Creek Alliance, BeeVillageNYC, NYC Mycological Society, and the Soil & Microbiology labs at Brooklyn College Jan innovates ideas to be realized through research, chance, and collaboration.

As a LandLab artist, she will be exploring mycoremediation and sharing her passion for mushrooms as "ecological instigators," ultimately constructing The Mushroom Vortex Maze. The Mushroom Vortex Maze is constructed using wooden logs inoculated with three types of edible mushrooms to create separate rows that each forms a logarithmic/golden ratio spiral. By entering the maze to forage for mushrooms you can easily be dislocated at the center and exit from a different path then where you entered, changing your trajectory. Along the center of the spiral all three types of mushrooms are available and when this pattern is found in the natural phenomena, the center where you stand is also where the pattern is infinite.

The interaction within the Mushroom Vortex Maze is based on cultivation and our biological instincts for food; one is lured into the vortex maze to forge for food or simply out of curiosity. Foraging for mushrooms in the United States is discouraged due to risks of mistakenly eating poisonous species and the lack of knowledge to know the difference. This is one indicator of our dislocation to the natural environment toward a built environment. In the Mushroom Vortex Maze, a dialogue with these two relationships is created as another option to foster a symbiotic relationship the between natural and built environments.

LandLab is funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Joseph Robert Foundation. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

For more information about LandLab: please see https://www.schuylkillcenter.org/departments/art/LandLab-Program.html; or contact Tina Plokarz, Director of Environmental Art, 215-482-7300, tina@schuylkillcenter.org; or Julia Fox, Community Program Coordinator, 215.546.7775 ext. 13, julia@cfeva.org.


Artist�s rendering of "The Mushroom Vortex Maze," a LandLab project to be led by Jan Mun


Artists of Dance Exchange lead a Moving Field Guide Workshop

Launched in Spring 2014, LandLab residents create art-based installations that prevent or remediate environmental damage while raising public awareness about our local ecology.

2014-2015 LandLab Artists

  • WE THE WEEDS (a collaboration of artist Kaitlin Pomerantz and botanist Zya Levy) created a woven installation constructed from invasive vines, simultaneously encouraging dialog about the global movement of plants, and removing hazardous invasive species from the forest.
  • Jake Beckman explored the detritus cycle of a forest and its disruption by invasive earthworms, creating a sculptural installation that makes these hidden processes visible to visitors.
  • Marguerita Hagan, B.H. Mills, and Maggie Mills built �Native Pollinator Garden,� a pollinator-focused series of raised beds accompanied by a sculptural installation to educate the public on native plants, chemical-free gardening, sustainable practices, and the relationship between humans and bees.
  • #StormSnakes, by Leslie Birch, explores the issue of stormwater run-off using electronics to collect data from a Schuylkill Center stream.

For more information about LandLab, please contact Director of Environmental Art Christina at�Christina@schuylkillcenter.org

The Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA) provides career development services for professional visual artists, helps artists reach their audiences, and promotes interest in and understanding of the visual arts among citizens of the Philadelphia region.

Support for LandLab 2014-2015 was provided by the Knight Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation and the William Penn Foundation. This project was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Support also provided by PECO. This program is administered regionally by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

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