photo by Sandra Mack-Valencia
A Lot got its start in 2009, when I turned my apartment into an artist space ("WinterSpace,") invited seven artists to make work about the view of a community garden, and organized a series of conversations. Since then, I've continued to orchestrate events with community gardeners and artists, place work by fellow artists in the gardens, and make my own work on this work.
For the 2010 exhibition at WinterSpace, Petra Valentova's Duck proposal hung on the walls but was too ambitious for A Lot's budget to realize. However, in 2012, she was able to use the proposal as a platform to get a grant from the Queens Council on the Arts and this, in combination with a successful Kickstarter campaign, enabled her to produce her duck for the LIC Community Garden.
Interview in La Perla Garden, with Laura Fayer, Sandra Mack Valencia, Bertha Rady and myself - as part on program on Sandra for Antioquenos de Mundo on the Teleantioquia channel. The section on A Lot starts at 18:17.
Salon Salon, a collaboration with Nicole Jones of Three Pennies and a Quarter salon: displaying images of garden art from the garden around the corner from the salon: W. 104th St. Community Garden.
My Wall Archive of images from A Lot projects and garden flowers, at the ART-ECO-BIO exhibition. The exhibition took place in a former fallout shelter that now is below hotel on avenue of the Velvet Revolution
Katerina Liskova and Lenka Klodova in Brno, Czech Republic, after installing Robert Salanda's Morse Garden sentence ("Green With Envy" in Czech) in the spot I found that best replicated a New York City community garden. The work is next to a cafe and community place called Zahrada ("garden" in Czech.)
At Zahrada, I spoke to FEMA, a feminist collective, about A Lot and tART Collective. I also presented on A Lot at Brno University of Technology, in a class collaboration between Katerina Liskova and Lenka Klodova: The Body in the Field of Art and Sociology.
For this exhibition, my archive was shown with work by some of the artists I'd placed in community gardens: Norbert Francis Attard, Suzanne Broughel, Alyssa Casey, Lisbeth Langkjaer, Laura Fayer, Sandra Mack-Valencia, Caroline Parks, John Tursi, Petra Valentova, Jonathan Velardi and Virginia Vergara.
Curator Valeria Federici initiated a collaboration with the local Houghton Community Garden and Maria Mazzocco as part of the exhibition. Mazzocco made planters of newspaper that were displayed as part of exhibition, sprouted during it, and seeds were replanted after closing.
curator Valeria Federici's essay
Wall Archive, right - my photographs of practically everything to do with A Lot, including flowers in the gardens and the invitations I make.
Jonathan Velardi's Flamingo Parade, left, along with artist proposals for the community gardens.
In 2010, my desire to turn the communal gardens into partial sculpture gardens was driven by aesthetic sensibility and municipal strategy: garden leases were up for re-negotiation with the city. Increasing the cultural value of the gardens (that already possess green and social capital,) decreases the chance of future demolition. I shared my MCAF grant with other artists, to realize art and events.
In addition to starting WinterSpace, I also formed a temporary Seasonal Coalition with Jo Q. Nelson and Nikki Schiro - as we all share an interest in mixing up private, public and functional aspects of exhibition spaces.
Jonathan Velardi's fuses his research of urban gardens and garden design with his interest in patterns and public art for a proposal of an obelisk kit - to be assembled by community gardeners themselves.
For her mixed media installation, Request a Street Tree, Sandra Eula Lee photographed trees and pavements of New York City, reflecting both on city-dwellers' innate need for nature, as well as their preconceived notions of 'nature' - and the occasionally tragicomic results.
Kenneth Rasmussen's large linoleum prints depict interactive diversity - actual species coexisting with those of his imagination and communication taking place via his native Danish language, an invented language and interspersions of English profanity. His irreverent utopia includes an enormous chrocheted bra and briefs connected via a long spine, made from recycled plastic bags, that he intends for a NYC garden.
From San Francisco, Mark Inglis Taylor mailed drawings he made (and culled from personal archive) in response to my description of the 104th St. Garden. The drawings are open to interpretation and served as props during my telling the story of the garden to the show's visitors.
2009 opening and Alumbrados #1
Laura Fayer and Sandra Mack-Valencia made 'Alumbrados,' a wall collaboration, in response to W. 104th St. community gardeners being reminded of where they grew up, when they are in the garden - however different these locales. Their collaboration has continued and is a celebration of Medellin, Colombia, where Sandra grew up surrounded by her father's murals.