Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Patience is a virtue (and a power)

Wow what a beautiful holiday gift to me! I decided to check the mail on Saturday at our apartment. (We don't get most of our mail here because of the well known Brooklyn mail problems). We got a request for year end donations from the American Museum of Natural History (which, by the way, is my idea one of the most magical places on earth), and a couple of mis-delivered items (see above), and a letter from Brooklyn Arts Council - I mostly thought it was either the newsletter or another appeal for money - in fact it was a promise of money! I got the DCA regrant! So now I am all excited and pumped and working forward on the project - it was a little hard to focus on the holiday celebrations - I was thinking about the Sea Change project and the logistics and calendaring of the project.

So congratulations to me and a huuuuge thanks to BAC for believing in me and the project. I am so excited to be able to say that someone is backing me, it really helps other granters feel like they are not alone in supporting the project (it is a real chicken and the egg scenario).
Today I did some research on the chalk I want to use for marking the line, I have found that the sports field marking chalk is white. I found some good blue chalk powder in the form of the powder used for construction marking (chalk lines - which I always thought was fun to do when I was little - hmm a little premonition?) I was also looking into gulal (the colored powder used for the Indian celebration of Holi) but I don't think it is permanent enough - I want something that will stay around for a couple weeks. Anyone have any ideas?
I also will be building the calendar around the work projects that I have and the travel coming up in the year. My friend over at Solar One just got back from the Al Gore Climate Project training (teaching people to give an effective presentation and giving them the tools). He is hoping to put me in touch with other New Yorkers who attended so that we can coordinate a whole workshop outreach portion of the project - the presentations will be done in partnership with community organizations in the communities through which I will be creating the project.

So now I wait to hear back from NYFA and Cabot, and still have to write letters to Puffin and Jerome...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

holiday giving

this year i tried to give mostly non-object things - memberships, food, experiences, and succeeded quite well.

i had wanted to get the solio solar charger as a gift for my family (hey if i am going to be out drawing a chalk line - it will be a good way to power the gadgets!) but decided instead to put the money towards bigger things.

i first read about kiva in good magazine, then I was reminded of it while visiting the red lipstick blog.
here's the deal, Kiva brings together small dollar lenders in the US (or other "developed" [i am not a fan of that term] countries) to lend money to individuals around the world - it gives the money through micro lenders around the world. Since American dollars go pretty far in other parts of the world, even a little bit can make a big difference. Once the load is fully funded, the money is distributed to the individual for their business. As they are succesful, they pay back the loan (100% of microloans are repaid) and the money gets put back into your kiva account. You can withdraw the funds, or you can use it to refund new projects. Pretty cool little money cycle there.
So go online at kiva.org, and pick out some loans that are of interest to you - maybe give someone the last $25 they need to complete the loan - or start someone off who doesn't have the money yet. Or give the entire amount of money to one person to fully fund their project. Think of it as a nice holiday gift to the world. (Does that sound sappy? - I don't care - just do it.)
I am helping to fund Kossi (making shoes), Cecilia (a pub - thats for g-pup!), Ana (food market), and Komi (decorations).

and happy holidays to all!

updated 12/26: I am so thrilled about this project - within 24 hours of making my donations, 3 of my funded projects were fully funded. As of now they are all fully funded, and two of them have received their funds. I can't wait to watch the blogs to hear how the business progresses.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

some art to see

Gothamist posted about the windows in Washington Square by Jae Hi Ahn. In looking up more about her work, I came across this post from Libby and Roberta on Artblog, about a show at Vox Populi in Philadelphia. The show was called "Parts to the Whole." The premise was that each of the works were made of many smaller pieces to create a whole - it looks like it was a stunning show, I wish I had seen it. I will have to watch for more of the shows by the curator, Elizabeth Grady and many of the artists in the show, Nami Yamamoto, Julie Hughes, Pete Goldlust, Charley Friedman, David Myers and Gelah Penn.

You know the aggregation of these pieces appeals to me. I am curious to the compulsion to create the repetitive form. I wonder if there is any generational thing to this and what shapes an artists desire to create this kind of work.

I have some time off over the next few weeks, and while I hope to get to Chelsea, I will also go see the window display of Jae's work, and will think on this for a bit. (Feeling under the weather right now, so not thinking much at all).
Photos from top to bottom: Jae Hi Anh, Charley Friedman, Julie Hughes, Pete Goldlust, Gelah Penn

Also of note, Wooster Collective opens 11 Spring Street tomorrow (12/15) - this from the Gothamist post. (Times for the exhibition. It will only be open for three days....Friday, December 15th: From 11am to 5pm, Saturday, December 16th: From 11am to 5pm, Sunday, December 17th: From 11am to 5pm, On Sunday, December 17th at 3pm there will be a panel discussion with many of the artists attending.)

In the years to come

There's a lot of buzz about mayor bloomie's 2030 speech, so much so that I will just reblog all that here (they've also got a flashy website):
Streetsblog (news roundup)
Gothamist (maps)

And in the realm of responding in a positive manner, here's my nyfa fiscal sponsorship proposal:

I am seeking fiscal sponsorship from the New York Foundation for the Arts to produce Sea Change, a public art installation on the New York City waterfront from June - October 2007. Sea Change will consist of a blue chalk line and light filled markers around Lower Manhattan and along the coastline of the borough of Brooklyn, designating 10-feet above sea level. This “critical line” is the level at which, by the year 2100, nearly annual flooding is predicted to occur as a direct result of climate change.

The blue chalk line of Sea Change will outline the areas at risk to increased cycles of flooding and storm surge resulting from global warming. Along this line, in parks and other high visibility settings, there will be a moveable set of illuminated, water-filled, clear acrylic markers. These markers will be etched with scientific data and easily adoptable tips for a more sustainable lifestyle. Beside the chalk line, information will be stenciled in chalk on the ground. Accompanied by a website, advertising campaign and community-based workshops, Sea Change will provide viewers – residents and tourists – with knowledge to shape the future of their physical environment.

Background. New York, a city of islands and a peninsula, has almost 600 miles of coastline susceptible to the effects of global warming. A large portion of its mass transit system (used by over 4.5 million people per day) and two major airports are at or below the “critical line.” Many of the city’s recreational and tourist destinations - Coney Island, Battery Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park and South Street Seaport - are on the coast. Renewed interest in the waterfront has spurred rapid and massive development in neighborhoods like Greenpoint, Red Hook, Lower Manhattan and Williamsburg. Important municipal services including wastewater treatment, power stations and garbage transfer stations are sited along major waterways. World financial and business centers, including most of Wall Street, are located below the “critical line.” All five of New York’s boroughs are at risk to drastic alteration from the affects of climate change. I have chosen to focus the 2007 project on Lower Manhattan because of its wealth of iconic sites and Brooklyn because of the diverse neighborhoods that will be affected.

Goals. 1) To create Sea Change, a public artwork that maps the “critical line” of projected flood zones along approximately 60 miles of New York City waterfront. The blue chalk line - as it passes through neighborhoods - and the water-filled, light-emitting markers will serve as a poignant reminder of how New York City will be radically affected by climate change. 2) To give viewers a point of entry into a global issue by visualizing its impact at the local level. 3) To use the language of art - e.g., the ephemeral quality of chalk - as a metaphor for vulnerability and change. 4) To conduct a public outreach campaign on the topic of climate change and how individuals can make a difference.

I will draw the 4-inch wide blue chalk line in parks, plazas, and streets, using a device for drawing lines on sports fields. The markers will be 50-100 (3-feet high, 3-inches diameter) recycled plastic acrylic tubes lit with LEDs powered by solar panels and filled with water and will be installed in heavily trafficked areas along the “critical line.” They will be staked in the ground (a low impact installation) and will migrate over time along the blue line. I will move the markers to a new location every two weeks for the duration of the piece. There will be 8 (2-week) settings for the markers in Brooklyn, beginning and ending in Brooklyn Bridge Park. In Lower Manhattan, there will be 3 (4-week) settings. Sites include (in Manhattan) Chinatown, Battery Park and Tribeca; (in Brooklyn) Brooklyn Bridge Park, Red Hook Recreation Area, Shore Road Park, Manhattan Beach, Floyd Bennett Field, Canarsie Beach and Williamsburg.

Allowing time for trouble shooting and interacting with the public, I plan to “draw” an average of 4 miles a day, 1-3 days every two weeks, with the remaining time spent on installation of the markers, outreach and maintenance. As an example, for the first installation of the project (early June 2007) in Brooklyn, I will trace the “critical line” through the Brooklyn Bridge area and install the markers in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The chalk line will begin at Williamsburg Bridge; travel through Vinegar Hill, DUMBO, and on to South Brooklyn Heights. Over the summer and ending in September, the piece will traverse neighborhoods (e.g. Canarsie, Brighton Beach) that are typically underserved, with little access to the arts.

I have already completed extensive research and mapping of the line’s trajectory in relation to public space. In Brooklyn, I will use parks, streets and sidewalks, avoiding private property. In Sunset Park, for example, the line will end on the north side of the piers and begin again on the south side. I have begun the process of seeking permits from the Department of Transportation and the NYC Parks Department. In Lower Manhattan, I will also seek access from developers for the use of plazas or other privately owned public spaces.

Audience. The simplicity of the project, aesthetically and visually, will appeal to people of all ages, ethnicities and economic backgrounds. Sea Change seeks to engage people on the street, in the neighborhoods where they live, work and play. People will encounter the chalk line and the markers while going about their daily lives. The work is an intervention in routine. This aspect of the piece ensures catching people’s attention and providing easy and direct access. Sea Change is designed to engage the community, and promote thoughtful, informed dialogue and action.

Public outreach/dissemination. Scientific data and sustainable living tips will be disseminated to the public through the artwork itself and my presence (with an assistant) in coastal neighborhoods as we execute the piece. I am planning a website and a public outreach campaign consisting of posters on bus shelters, large ads on the sides of buses for routes along the coast and a “poster swipe” (wheat pasted posters) in surrounding neighborhoods. This campaign will attract an audience to the artwork and convey educational information. I have a background in marketing, web design and project management, which I will use to work effectively with designers. The campaign will provide vital information in a visually engaging manner and the website will present in-depth information in an easy to use and easily accessible format.

The website will contain information on the global warming scenarios the scientific community is projecting, as well as local conditions, energy saving tips, and links to numerous other resources. The information included in the various materials will address potential scenarios (for the years 2030, 2050 and 2100) during which significant and measurable change is expected to occur – e.g., by 2030, sea level will rise 6.9-inches to 23.7-inches above current heights; by 2100, annual flood heights could increase dramatically from 3.9-feet to 10.5-feet. The information will be drawn from sources like “Impacts of sea level rise in the New York City metropolitan area,” a frequently cited document produced by representatives of Center for Climate Systems Research, Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the US Army Corp of Engineers. We will also provide sustainable living tips that are location specific – e.g. for Red Hook, low-cost home energy saving tips and the benefits of buying produce in the local farmer's market and for Mill Basin the advantage of solar power and impact of consolidating car trips.

Portions of the ad campaign will target tourists directly, to indicate how actions, no matter where one lives, have an affect on the impact of global warming. Sea Change illustrates for all viewers the “butterfly effect,” the theory that a small change can cause a chain of events leading to larger phenomena. The presence of the chalk line and markers, in conjunction with the website and public outreach campaign, will give communities the knowledge to affect the future shape of New York City.

We are also planning community workshops in partnership with Solar One, NYC’s foremost nonprofit green arts and education center. These workshops are not reflected in my budget, since they will be lead by Solar One. Solar One will create specific programming to teach community members (activists and high school students) to educate others about climate change and lifestyle choices. These trainees will then lead 3-7 workshops for adults at community centers such as Red Hook Recreation Area, Battery Park Conservancy and Salt Marsh Nature Center.

Partnerships. Solar One is the primary partner for outreach through community-based organizations. In addition, the National Press Secretary of the Sierra Club has offered promotional support through their international network.

Timeline. TO DATE: Completely mapped (on paper) the “critical line” – 10-feet above sea level - around Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. Researched neighborhoods, bus routes, locations, neighborhood landmarks, resources, and community-based organizations (ongoing). Established a partnership with Solar One, NYC’s leading nonprofit focusing on environmental awareness. Submitted proposals for funding from government and private foundations. Secured a pledge of in-kind promotional support from the Sierra Club. Made initial contact, re: permits from the DOE and NYC Parks Dept. and researched required liability insurance. Preliminary research for advertising costs and ad placement, including leads to secure in-kind donations along bus routes in underserved communities. Secured in-kind donation for web design services and domain registration and web hosting.

NOVEMBER 2006 - MAY 2007. Identify high visibility sites. Plan the design, fabrication, and placement of markers. Write text for markers and stencils. Have the markers and stencils fabricated. Hire an administrative assistant. Submit applications for all necessary permits. Continue networking and research to identify funding prospects; initiate contact with potential funders; submit corporate and foundation proposals. Work on website concept and content; hire a web designer. Begin work on ad campaign concept and content; hire outreach campaign designer. Continue work on ad placement, costs, and possible in-kind donations. Collaborate with Solar One to design and plan the community workshops. Develop detailed calendar of chalking and installation with input from community sources. Begin press campaign. Develop detailed plans and schedule for the public outreach campaign. Hire artist’s assistant and installation assistants. Walkthrough/rehearsal for drawing the “critical line.”

JUNE 2007 - SEPTEMBER 2007. Sea Change is enacted in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan (see details above.)

I have, of course, continued to refine and update the proposal. The recent letter of intent was even more clear and concise than this proposal. (And this one was better than the LMCC and BAC apps). I don't want to keep posting the proposals though, so I will maybe do every other one or something like that. If you have questions about the proposal, the budget, or how you can be involved let me know!

Friday, December 08, 2006

see the difference

I have been dancing around this thought with Sea Change, finally someone who is good at PR found a way to say what I have been thinking. In an interview with Amanda Griscom Little on Grist.com, Richard Branson has this to say:
" What sets climate change apart from these other crises is that most people can't see the problem -- CO2 gases are invisible. If you could see them and they were colored red, 50 years ago it would have looked like a small brush fire smoldering around the world, and today it would look like a wildfire raging across the globe. We desperately need leaders who can help bring visibility and forge solutions to this imperceptible menace before it's too late."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

notes on progress

You know how I mentioned how important it is to have someone objective looking at grant applications? It also pays to have someone incredibly smart, creative and passionate.

I was honestly feeling a bit burnt on the project, but this woman has the amazing power to re-invigorate me, put the passion back in the project, and here's the kicker, help of understand the project in new and different ways. Today we were working on a letter of intent for a fumeds that doesn't normally fund art projects. They will consider an art project that meets their criteria, which includes a transformative project for the person undertaking it and it should have an affect on people's lives.

We talked about what the physical act of drawing the line will be. I had certainly thought about this, but hadn't investigated in depth how transformative that act will be. I will be out on the street laying down this blue line on the street and through people's neighborhoods. I will get the full range of responses, from full support, to surprise, to passing interest, to annoyance and even anger.

The really beautiful thing, in my opinion, is the potential for these one on one reactions and that very range of emotions. How much more powerful is a message when it is part of a one on one conversation. A key word in that sentence is conversation. I don't expect to go out and deliver a message (that would be awfully conceited). I hope to be able to talk to people, to hear their stories and experiences and to find a common ground.

Undoubtedly this will be a transformative project for me.