Sunday, August 17, 2014

Events: August 21-23, 2014.

Material Witness: Art, Activism & Fibre
Friday, August 22, 7pm—10pm. 
Exhibit runs until October 4.

Barry Ace, Karina Bergmans, Emily Rose Michaud, Bozica Radjenovic, & Mona Sharma. Curator: Laura Margita 
Barry Ace, "Nigik Makizinan - Otter Moccasins" (2014), Found leather boots, otter pelts, velvet, capacitors, resistors, diodes, light emitting diodes (LED), deer hide, synthetic porcupine hair, cotton thread, brass hawk bells, felt.

Textile is a powerful and versatile medium put to use throughout human herstory for travel, clothing, agriculture, architecture, historical documentation, expression of identity and experimental art. Barry Ace, Karina Bergmans, Emily Rose Michaud, Bozica Radjenovic and Mona Sharma are each occupying creative termini at the edges of fibre art. Each artist has followed the path of their artistic practice to an expression that is as logical to the heart as to the formal and aesthetic conversation of professional contemporary art practices.

The installation Ms. Michaud is presenting "How We Gather, PART III: Under Our Highways, Rivers Flow" was created with an artistic development and production residency made possible through the Dennis Tourbin Fund for Emerging Artists. The Dennis Tourbin Fund for Emerging Artists at the Community Foundation of Ottawa, is a permanent tribute to the greatly respected late Ottawa artist and his legacy. The fund seeks to encourage emerging artists to carry out creative works of art that cross disciplines and traditional boundaries. It also seeks to promote the presentation of art outside of the gallery walls into the public arena, reaching new audiences and engaging the community

Gallery 101 - 51B Young Street, Ottawa, ON, K1S 3H6.
Info: http://www.g101.ca/exhibits/material-witness-art-activism-and-fibre



Emily Rose Michaud, "How We Gather, PART III: Under Our Highways, Rivers Flow", 2014. Ephemeral installation using burlap, rye and wheat, Super 8 mm film projection, soundscape. 


Taste The $ource (while supplies last) 
A series of public performances celebrating water

Thursday Aug. 21 @ 2PM, Sparks Street - exact location TBA

Friday Aug 22 @ 8PM Gallery 101, 51 B Young Street

Saturday Aug 23, 8:30AM @ University of Ottawa, ARTS Hall 70 Laurier Street East, Room 033

A freshwater mermaid offers a taste of her treasured collection of often-forgotten rivers and lakes from various regions of Quebec. Some water samples are out of stock, some taste like blueberry roots and rocks – a rare experience as the commodification of water accelerates and sources of clean water become harder to find. These performances address water at first from an emotional and gustatory place, and then allow the audience to form their own response to the broader social and political issues found within. The water creature coaxes us to drink what seem to be raw waters from nearby sources, challenging us to acknowledge and adapt to the waters we live with.

Emily Rose Michaud, "Taste the $ource (while supplies last), 2014. Performance using water, various labelled jars, mermaid costume, table, signs.


Art as Resistance
Saturday, August 23, 1-3pm

Join us for a panel discussion on socially engaged art, resistance, and revolution.

Scott Benesiinaabandan (Montreal)
Adam Brown (Ottawa)
Amira Hanafi (Cairo)
Emily Rose Michaud (Montréal/Outaouais)
Moderated by: Leah Snyder (Ottawa/Toronto)

Beyond illustrating the issues at stake, can aesthetic forms themselves offer models for collaboration and movement building?
How do artists’ practices shift in response to revolution? Is a revolution a work of art?
What decolonizing strategies can we learn from artists performing and inserting their work in public space?
What role does spectacle play in creating an open space for dissent?

This is a free event. Everyone is welcome.

The Ottawa Art Gallery - 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa K1N 6E2. 

Water Assembly
People's Social Forum 2014
Saturday, August 23, 8am—12noon

Water is both a universal right and a powerful mediator in the relationship between humans and the environment and between Indigenous Peoples and Canada.

Chief Roger William (Tsilhqot’in Nation) and Bob Watts (Executive Director, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission) discuss the significance of the recent Supreme Court ruling on Aboriginal land title within the context of international human rights law, legislation and treaty rights and responsibilities.

Participants are encouraged to bring a sample of their community water supply to guide and inspire the creation of a personal and collective framework for an equitable, just and sustainable water resources management plan and Consensus Statement during the Assembly.

8am - Water Ceremony
8:30am - Art Performance: Taste The $ource, Emily Rose Michaud
9:00 - 12:00pm - Water Assembly
12:00 - 12:30pm - Networking opportunity

Event is free (Donations welcome). Snacks, coffee and tea will be served so bring your own mug!

Ottawa University, Arts Hall, 70 Laurier Street East, Room 033.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Art as Resistance - Saturday, August 23, 2014.

Saturday August 23, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm | Free

I am looking forward to speaking at this panel discussion on socially engaged art, resistance, and revolution, alongside a stellar crew of engaged artists.

Save the date and join us! Art as Resistance

Beyond illustrating the issues at stake, can aesthetic forms themselves offer models for collaboration and movement building?

How do artists’ practices shift in response to revolution? Is a revolution a work of art?
What decolonizing strategies can we learn from artists performing and inserting their work in public space?

What role does spectacle play in creating an open space for dissent?

Scott Benesiinaabandan (Montreal)
Adam Brown (Ottawa)
Amira Hanafi (Cairo)
Emily Rose Michaud (Montréal/Outaouais)

Moderated by: Leah Snyder (Ottawa/Toronto)


This event is presented in collaboration with the Peoples' Social Forum


Friday, August 8, 2014

"Material Witness: Art, Activism, and Fibre", Gallery 101 - Friday, August 22, 2014.



Rivers and highways are on my mind tonight as I begin a massive creation. A living tapestry and projection screen (for super 8mm film on Gatineau River + Highway 5 North) is taking shape. For the next many days, my time will be spent sewing burlap, sealing my wood floor with plastic tarp, soaking, rinsing, sprouting and growing rye and wheat, writing, dreaming and planning. Thank you Gallery 101.

The piece will be a part of a group show at Gallery 101 next week, for the exhibit "Material Witness: Art, Activism, and Fibre", which opens on Friday, August 22, 2014 at 8pm.

It is shaping up to be quite a unique show and I am honoured to be exhibiting alongside such exceptional art makers and game changers. Two of my pieces will be exhibited that night, both paying tribute to our waters. Come on out and celebrate with us! g101.ca

Under Our Highways, Rivers Flow is a response to the intersecting and overlapping stories of people working to protect our waters across the globe. I am trying to uncover histories that I was never told: The Super 8mm film footage in this installation tells my story about the Gatineau River – Te-nagàdino-zìbi – I grew up on, and returned to in 2011. This project is a gesture of solidarity with other consciousness-raising movements, like Paddling for Our Waters*. It celebrates the interconnection of organic and social systems just as it honours forms of protest that are local, creative and tangible, in places that are dear to us. The living tapestry is made of grown and drying wheat and rye, and the film is projected onto their root system's surface.

Under Our Highways, Rivers Flow pays homage to the Gatineau River and our relationship to it. It is part of an unfolding body of work that looks at the pre-colonial history and bio-region of the Gatineaus – unceded Algonquin territory. The film sheds light on the River's ancestral and contemporary trade routes, while understanding the impact of highway construction, development and settler culture on the local waterways and the Ottawa River watershed. As a non-aboriginal woman from this place, I’ve grown attached to the Gatineau Hills. Over 25 years, I’ve seen the landscape change and the population grow. I've observed how attachment to and responsibility for the land often ceases to exist beyond one's property line. With the arrival of Highway Five North, our numbers will continue to grow - developments such as mining and forestry included – and likely faster than we think. The history and future of this body of water has inspired many local citizens to bridge the essential and on-growing ties between non-indigenous and indigenous communities, in an effort to recognize the importance of these waters and to protect against their ultimate exploitation and erasure.

The tapestry - before it was installed as a tent - progressed through germination, life, death over 10 days and is composed of over 50,000 seeds. The cedar structure recalls the tents used at the onset of the Occupy movement to shelter protesters, reclaim common space and take action towards a larger social movement. Idle No More's actions have continued in this vein. Like people gathering, the thousands upon thousands of seeds inhabit space with their physical presence and rely on one another for warmth, growth, momentum, in quiet homage to the power of collectivity.


* On June 21, 2013, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg members and Youth took a canoe excursion using their traditional travel route along the Gatineau River as a demonstration and to place attention on the need to protect water and eco-systems along the Ottawa River watershed. The canoe trip began in Wakefield, Quebec and arrived to Victoria Island in Ottawa, Ontario for the summer Solstice.



 























Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Artist's Statement & Biography, August 2014.


Artist's Statement
My most recent definition of art: Medicine to counter despair. Producing works of beauty or emotional power which can move others into action. To uplift others towards a common good.

Land Art, in-situ installation, performance, drawing, painting: My art weaves into its' fabric something bigger than object: Experience. I invite the public to participate in something natural, impermanent, to re-invigorate our sense of belonging. I work to collaborate with forces greater than me, to eclipse cynicism, to take responsibility for the places we find ourselves in. As a practicing visual artist, I assemble into my projects social life (and energies) not yet recognized as art. I extend my creations beyond sole-authorship, into co-authorship.

Whether living tapestry, multi-year Land Art project or electronic book made to be re-mixed, my projects embody the living processes and traces of material as social practice. I experiment with ways of working that feed the commons, transform spectators into participants, and extend artistic production beyond rarefied spaces — into social, political and environmental action. I am concerned with the living systems of our world, both our cities and villages — natural, cultural, civic — especially as they relate to municipal power, politics, and decisions that impact urban/rural development, ecology, and land use.


Biography
Emily Rose Michaud is an interdisciplinary artist and educator working at the crossroads of community organization, ecology and civic participation. Her work highlights the social importance of marginal landscapes, engages with soil as a living entity, and maintains a practice in ephemeral media. Her body of work encompasses Land Art, installation, drawing, writing, performance, and intervention. In recent years, her environmentally and socially driven approach has resulted in a series of in-situ art projects, speaking engagements, community activist art projects, performances and publications. She has exhibited nationally, both in and out of the gallery and has attracted international media attention for her Roerich Garden Project in Montreal.

Based in Montreal since 2000, Michaud has collaborated with architects, gardeners, activists, politicians, and children. In 2009, she co-founded Les Amis du Champ des Possibles, a citizen-run non-profit that demonstrates and advocates for the cultural, ecological, and social importance of wild urban spaces. Her ongoing encounters in art and the natural world tie her to the bio-regions of Outaouais in Western Québec and Montréal.

Michaud's academic outreach can be found in her contributions as editor and writer: she is the creative director and co-editor of The Roerich Garden open book project, roerichproject.artefati.ca (2008-2011) and has contributed essays and content to anthologies including DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media, MIT Press (2014), and Thinking With Water, McGill-Queen's University Press (2013).

Emily Rose Michaud holds a BFA from Concordia University (Montreal) and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education in Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa. She lives in Gatineau.

August 5, 2014.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Making Space - July 23, 2014.

Tonight it was goodbye to over 20 years of art, letters, journals, ideas and correspondences: projects, possibilities, plans and prospects on paper. Letting go. Time for the next chapter. Presence. Hope I am alright tomorrow. I definitely didn't purge everything. I kept the essentials, but am feeling lighter already. Still got a few more piles in the studio to sort. There is a fine line to holding on and letting go. Feels weird though, to know they're all really gone and I can't just go back to them for reflection. It's in my bones now. Making space for more greatness, beauty and vibrancy.

August 2014. Big times.

Big times. Moving to town for the year to study. Camp season, full throttle. A show at Gallery 101 in the works (installation and film projection). Panel presentation, 'Art as Resistance', held at Ottawa Art Gallery discussing matters of relevance. Street performance series as freshwater mermaid for People's Social Forum. Artist residency at Star & Snake, NH. Almost all content will be about water, a subject near and dear. Working title for my G101 installation: "Over your highways, Rivers will flow."

Gallery 101 

People's Social Forum
Star & Snake


Programming for urban/rural folk

Thoughts and inspiration brewing for 100 Mile Farm, Summer 2015/2016? Programming for urban/rural traffic. Mini art residencies, installation arts fest, weed walks, activating the landscape with fort camps and building workshops for adults. I'm game. Ideas to be continued. Inspiration credit goes to Kestle Barton (Cornwall, UK).

 

Atelier de création de tapisseries vivantes - 19 juin, 2014.

19 juin, 2014. 

Presque terminée! Il y aura de 'zines disponibles lors de cet atelier. Last touches for the workshop tomorrow. See you bright and early, Montreal. A Maison du développement durable: http://www.lamdd.org/


Atelier de création de tapisseries vivantes
https://www.facebook.com/events/1498522650363662/?fref=ts



Magical skyscapes // Cieux magiques - 3, juin 2014.

So, it's dusk and I'm driving home. There are some storm clouds shape-shifting heavily above (off highway 5 north, from Gatineau towards Maniwaki, near a swamp of peepers and pines). Amorphous beauties moving fast. I had to stop, put my flashers on and gasp. Got to the laundromat...saw a double rainbow. Something big in the sky these days. Cieux magiques ces jours-ci....








           
 

Artists in the Schools Program, Qc // Le programme, la culture à l'école

I've been admitted to Ottawa U's Bachelor of Education program for September 2014, with a teaching subject of visual arts in the Primary/Junior division. The teacher education program is a one-year full-time program that prepares students to teach in elementary or secondary schools. Within days of receiving the news, I got a letter in the mail saying I was accepted into the Artists in the Schools Program in Quebec. Strategy is working for me this year. 

I am seeking primary/secondary teachers for whom I could offer workshops in the realm of visual arts with an accent on environmental art. It will be the Ministry of Culture who will cover the cost for each visit. I am grateful for this opportunity to be able to access the school system with my creative workshops.

 
=====================
Au printemps, j'étais admis au programme de Baccalauréat en éducation à l'université d'Ottawa pour septembre 2014. Mon sujet d'enseignement serait les arts visuels dans la division primaire/junior. La formation à l'enseignement est un baccalauréat en éducation (B.Éd.) d'un an offert à temps plein qui permet aux diplômés d'enseigner dans les écoles élémentaires et secondaires. 

Cette même semaine, j'étais aussi admis au Répertoire de ressources culture-éducation, donc je cherche des enseignants à l'école primaire-secondaire pour qui je donnerai des ateliers en art visuels avec un accent sur l'art environnementale. Donc c'est la Ministère de Culture que payerait la facture à chaque fois. J'ai bien hâte de pouvoir accèder le système scolaire avec mes ateliers artistiques. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Spring Sessions | Les lundis en ateliers du printemps


After 4 Mondays: Drawing & Colour 
with artist/educator Emily Rose Michaud

The upcoming art classes will be a series of Studio Mondays - focused on drawing and colour. We begin on Monday, May 6. Sessions will take place after school from 4:15-5:45pm and are offered to youth, ages 6-10. Classes take place in Emily’s home studio in the village of Wakefield.

Drawing & Colour, for youth
May 6 - June 24
Mondays 4:15-5:45pm
Ages 6-10

*No classes May 26 or June 9.

$70 | 6 sessions | 9 hrs
Minimum 5, Maximum 10
*Drop ins: $15/class (all paper/art materials included)

*Please let me know if you plan to drop in. 

This Spring course is a continuation of the basics covered in the Winter Drawing course, but with an emphasis on colour. We’ll have fun exploring oil pastel, conté and soft pastel. Emily will continue to work with the students and the skill level that comes in, feeding their interests and inspiring them to further that which they would like to explore more of. Each class, we open with a new technique, trick or tip. Then, we progress to work on our solo, self-led projects. Materials provided, including paper.

REGISTRATION: Contact Emily to register or to learn more: 613.795.3824 | emily@emilyrosemichaud.com 

Les lundis en atelier du printemps...
Dessin & couleur avec artiste/éducatrice Emily Rose Michaud 

Mes cours de dessin du printemps pour enfants débutent le 6 mai : une série de lundis en atelier, axés sur le dessin et la couleur. Les cours se donnent à mon atelier et domicile à Wakefield les lundis après-midis, 16h15-17h45.

Dessin & Couleur, pour jeunes
6 mai - 24 juin
lundis 16h15-17h45
6-10 ans

*Pas de session le 26 mai ou le 9 juin.

$70 | 6 sessions | 9 h
Minimum 5, maximum 10
*Drop ins: $15/cours (tous les matériaux d'art sont fournis, incluant le papier)

*Veuillez svp m'avertir si vous comptez venir.

Ce cours de printemps est la suite du cours de dessin d'hiver, mais avec plus de couleur! Dans ce cours, Emily va travailler avec les étudiants à leur niveau de compétence, tout en alimentant leurs intérêts dans une ambiance non-compétitive et encourageante. Chaque lundi, nous travaillerons sur une nouvelle technique, puis nous poursuivrons des projets auto-dirigés. Tout matériel est fourni, incluant le papier.

INSCRIPTION
Veuillez contacter Emily pour infos et inscription: 613.795.3824 | emily@emilyrosemichaud.com

Monday, March 31, 2014

SAVE THE DATE: 19 JUIN, 2014.

SAVE THE DATE: 19 JUIN, 2014.

Atelier de création de tapisserie vivante | Living Tapestry workshop, Montréal @ La Maison du développement durable.

Le 19 juin à 12h15, la Maison du développement durable présente, en collaboration avec le Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal, un atelier de création de tapisseries vivantes en collaboration avec Emily Rose Michaud, artiste, enseignante et organisatrice communautaire spécialisée en programmation art et nature.

Cette activité unique en son genre permettra aux participants de survoler les principes de base de la germination, puis de fabriquer une tapisserie vivante composée de pousses avec des matériaux abordables. L’atelier mettra l'accent sur deux éléments : la broderie vivante des racines, un phénomène éphémère, puis l’ajout de fil coloré pour complémenter la beauté naturelle des plantes. Exprimez-vous grâce au pouvoir évocateur de la nature et rapportez votre création à la maison!

L'activité aura lieu dans le parc Hydro-Québec, situé à côté de la Maison. En cas de pluie, l'activité se déroulera dans l'Atrium de la Maison.

Durée : 1 h. Contributions volontaires. Pour réserver : www.lamdd.org/rsvp

Emily Rose Michaud est artiste, enseignante et organisatrice communautaire spécialisée en programmation art et nature. Au cours des dernières années, son approche environnementale et sociale a mené à la réalisation de projets d'art in situ, de projets d'art communautaire engagé, de performances et de publications. Emily compte parmi les membres fondateurs des Amis du Champ des Possibles, un groupe citoyen à but non lucratif qui lutte pour l'importance culturelle et sociale des espaces urbains sauvages. Elle partage son temps entre l'Outaouais et Montréal pour ses projets d'art.


Pour réaliser une tapisserie vivante, le participant se fera offrir un morceau de jute, une variété de semences (blé, sarrasin, teff, trèfle rouge, radis rose de chine, chou frisé, etc.), des suppléments minéraux, du compost, des fils colorés et une boîte à pizza pour rapporter son oeuvre à la maison.

Crédit photo : Daniel Séguin http://genestho.ca

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thinking with Water Book Launch | Water Walkshop: Friday March 21, 2014.


SAVE THE DATE // Thinking with Water book launch next Friday!

Come celebrate the launch of this wonderful book I'm a part of....mark World Water Day by warming up for the party with a water walkshop along Montreal's urban shores towards the downtown core...

Join us Friday, March 21 at Librairie Formats (7-9pm) to launch our book! Librairie Formats is located at the southeast corner of Sainte-Catherine and Saint-Laurent on the 3rd floor (2, rue Sainte-Catherine Est, espace 302).

The Water Walkshop will take place from 4:30-6:30pm. Engage your sense of water and walk with us on a semi-guided tour of river rapids, urban water infrastructures, and post-industrial transformation: departure at 4:30 pm from the most north-eastern point (furthest downstream) in the Parc des Rapides. Details here.

Thinking With Water is now available through McGill-Queen's University Press (October 2013). 





















« Penser avec l'eau » est publié comme le livre Thinking With Water par McGill-Queen's University Press (octobre 2013) en anglais. 

Nous sommes heureuses d'annoncer un double lancement du livre Thinking With Water à Montréal et à Vancouver ce printemps!

Pour marquer la journée mondiale de l'eau, nous vous invitons à vous joindre à nous vendredi le 21 mars 2014, à la Librairie Formats, entre 19h et 21h pour le lancement de notre livre! La Librairie Formats se trouve au coin sud-est de Sainte-Catherine et Saint-Laurent au 3e étage (2, rue Sainte-Catherine Est, espace 302).

Entre 16h30 et 18h30, vendredi, le 21 mars 2014, nous organiserons une randonnée urbaine pour l'eau. On visitera les rapides, les berges du fleuve, une usine d'eau potable, et un canal post-industriel. Voir les détails ici. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

NEW BOOK RELEASE: DIY CITIZENSHIP: Critical making and Social Media, MIT Press, 2014.

After many long years in the making, THE BOOK, is finally out! Published by MIT press no less. DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media includes an essay I co-wrote with architect Owen McSwiney, in which we discuss the work of the Montreal based non-profit group Les Amis du Champ des Possibles (Field of Possibilities) who managed to preserve an urban green space as a community park (an Urban Biodiversity Reserve is currently in the works). The humble beginnings go back to a Land Art project I initiated in 2007, entitled the Roerich Garden, made to draw attention to the need to protect the land from development. A passage of the essay can be found at the bottom of this post.

"How social media and DIY communities have enabled new forms of political participation that emphasize doing and making rather than passive consumption" From an excerpt by the editors Megan Boler and Matt Ratto.

NEW BOOK RELEASE: DIY CITIZENSHIP: Critical making and Social Media, MIT
Press, 2014, eds Matt Ratto and Megan Boler (University of Toronto).

Today, DIY ‹do-it-yourself‹ describes more than self-taught carpentry. Social media enables DIY citizens to organize and protest in new ways (as in Egypt¹s ³Twitter revolution² of 2011) and to repurpose corporate content (or create new user-generated content) in order to offer political counternarratives. This book examines the usefulness and limits of DIY citizenship, exploring the diverse forms of political participation and ³critical making² that have emerged in recent years. The authors and artists in this collection describe DIY citizens whose activities range from activist fan blogging and video production to knitting and the creation of community gardens.

Contributors examine DIY activism, describing new modes of civic engagement that include Harry Potter fan activism and the activities of the Yes Men. They consider DIY making in learning, culture, hacking, and the arts, including do-it-yourself media production and collaborative documentary making. They discuss DIY and design and how citizens can unlock the black box of technological infrastructures to engage and innovate open and participatory critical making. And they explore DIY and media, describing activists¹ efforts to remake and reimagine media and the public sphere. As these chapters make clear, DIY is characterized by its emphasis on ³doing² and making rather than passive consumption. DIY citizens assume active roles as interventionists, makers, hackers, modders, and tinkerers, in pursuit of new forms of engaged and participatory democracy.

MATT RATTO is Assistant Professor and Director of the Semaphore Research Cluster and the Critical Making Lab in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. MEGAN BOLER is Professor in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and editor of Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics in Hard Times (MIT Press).

CONTRIBUTORS
Mike Ananny, Chris Atton, Alexandra Bal, Megan Boler, Catherine Burwell, Red Chidgey, Andrew Clement, Negin Dahya, Suzanne de Castell, Carl DiSalvo, Kevin Driscoll, Christina Dunbar-Hester, Joseph Ferenbok, Stephanie Fisher, Miki Foster, Stephen Gilbert, Henry Jenkins, Jennifer Jenson, Yasmin B. Kafai, Ann Light, Steve Mann, Joel McKim, Brenda McPhail, Owen McSwiney, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Graham Meikle, Emily Rose Michaud, Kate Milberry, Michael Murphy, Jason Nolan, Kate Orton-Johnson, Kylie A. Peppler, David J. Phillips, Karen Pollock, Matt Ratto, Ian Reilly, Rosa Reitsamer, Mandy Rose, Daniela K. Rosner, Yukari Seko, Karen Louise Smith, Lana Swartz, Alex Tichine, Jennette Weber, Elke Zobl

For more information about this title visit: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/diy-citizenship
























* A passage from the essay, by Emily Rose Michaud and Owen McSwiney, December 2012.

 " Several artists have intervened to create integrated site-specific works in the open-air studio and informal exhibition space that is the field. Some of the first documented actions which engaged with the field creatively and documented the reclamation of a public space in the face of looming development included the Roerich Garden Project and the Sprout Out Loud Guerilla Gardener's Ensemble. 

The Roerich Garden was created in 2007 as a living landmark to pay homage to the threatened green space. It drew attention to the city’s plans and provoked dialogue about the many ways the community used and interacted with the space. It provided a forum to gather and to valorize the space before it was forgotten in silence. The Roerich Symbol is the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross. Its’ three circles are said to represent art, science and religion. Russian artist and cultural activist Nicholas Roerich developed it as an internationally recognized symbol to protect historical, cultural, and scientifically valuable monuments. Intended to prevent aerial bombing in WWII Europe, it was installed on rooftops of museums, churches and universities. 

The gardeners’ ensemble Sprout Out Loud occupied the southern section of the field from 2008 until 2010. Through their collaborative seed exchanges, planting sessions, and maintenance of the Roerich Garden, they explored concepts of public space and sought to encourage the relationship between urban dwellers and the land around them. Their goals included: i-stimulating citizen engagement and provoking dialogue regarding the importance of the commons through workshops and community events; ii- engaging with the field to document how people used and cared for the space; iii- empowering people and inviting them to plant similar ideas in their own environments where needed. 

In 2008, an initiative to document the Roerich Garden Project was launched in collaboration with Artefatica1, a local open publishing project. Over the span of three years, members of Les Amis and Artefatica collected stories from more than 40 contributors about the space’s history, uses and potential. The result — an online book at roerichproject.artefati.ca — brings together texts, photos, news clippings, and archival materials, as well as examples of similar international precedents."


1 See book with Artefatica at: roerichproject.artefati.ca