Seed the Change When, Where, How, Who, Why?

WHEN: Sunday, June  5th, 2016 10 am – 7 pm  (modified due to rain)  WHERE:  Riverfront at the Arch.  Centered on the East sidewalk along Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd. opposite the stairs to the Arch.  Located between the new bike path and the levee. Located East of the Arch between the new bike path and the levee. HOW? Millet, safflower and black sunflower seeds will be poured, placed, and shifted on the sidewalk with hands, tools, brooms, and rakes.milletsunflowerseed WHY SEED?   The seed is a metaphor for potential and a low-impact environmentally-friendly material. WHO DRAWS?  YOU the audience!  There will be artist Jessica Witte, a crew of Public Art Ambassadors, Official Seed the Change Volunteers, to create a chalk drawing on Friday, June 3rd.  On the weekend, the public and the Seed the Change crew works together to fill in the outlines and to add original designs in designated spaces of the drawing.  The growing, changing, drawing process will be captured by time-lapse video. WHO IS BEHIND “SEED THE CHANGE”?  Jessica Witte utilized the award of the Public Works Project to expand on her “Birdseed Doilies Project” by scaling it to a monumental public artwork.  Jessica Witte is a nationally-exhibited, award-winning artist. Her multi-media work has been in over fifty exhibitions at venues such as the San Diego Art Institute, the Textile Center (Minneapolis, MN), Museum of Nebraska Art (Kearney, NE), Rockford Art Museum (Rockford, IL), Maas Gallery (Purchase, NY), Good Citizen Gallery (St. Louis, MO), Athens Institute of Contemporary Art (Athens, GA), WomanMade Gallery and Beverly Art Center (both Chicago, IL). Her Birdseed Doilies Project has spanned a decade and been featured in the online Chicago Art Magazine and Stylus, a London-based, international news service. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, she worked as a teacher, gallery director, and art museum staffer in northern Illinois before moving to St. Louis.   More of her artwork can be found at jessicawitte.com.      

WHAT IS “SEED THE CHANGE” ALL ABOUT? My “birdseed doilies” are large-scale drawings directly on the ground in seed.  This labor-intensive, fragile process celebrates labor and maintenance. The changes that occur as people walk through, add and shift the drawings are a visual metaphor for how others influence our output.  Selected by Critical Mass as its first Public Works project  “Seed the Change” is a collaborative effort with the public to create a beautiful threshold for the City of St. Louis.  Passersby and volunteers are invited to help fill in large shapes of native plants that can be seen from the Gateway Arch, and also to create their own seed drawings in the large spaces between my drawing.  In addition to contributing to the huge drawing, interactive activities will be hosted by the organizations that work to improve St. Louis.  These featured organizations will help further create a festival atmosphere on the new eastern sidewalk of Leonor K Sullivan Blvd.  These activity partners will share their missions, add variety to the event, and be a part of the beautiful visual metaphor for what amazing things can happen with collaboration.   The weekend long event will live on in the memories of those who participate and be captured with time-lapse video, like my August 2015 collaborative drawing “Letting go, to seed.” This website will share event details, the final time-lapse video, and photos from the event weekend.   Two images that are posted to this webpage will be selected for a $250 cash prize.    One for “Best Contribution to the Drawing” and one for “Best Spirit of the Event.” All ages and abilities are welcome. Apply to be a paid Public Art Ambassador , join the official Seed the Change Volunteer Team, or just come during the June weekend and join in the drawing.  Make your own mark in the drawing, engage with organizations working to make St. Louis a better place to live, and help create a beautiful threshold for the city. -Jess Witte, artist                        

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