Process + Community
City Art Collaboratory is a cross-disciplinary research and development fellowship for artists and STEM professionals who share a desire to collaborate on publicly oriented, environmentally focused projects that will enhance the way cities are built, experienced and sustained. Launched by Public Art Saint Paul in 2011, City Art Collaboratory is evolving as a nationally unique and vital space for individual and collective inquiry, direct experience of our urban environment, critical reflection on ecologies of place, and conceptualization of environmentally focused public art projects.
Our conversations and investigations in Collaboratory have ranged from tapping urban trees for syrup, to learning about carp and resource management in the Mississippi River ecosystem, to testing new ways of engaging policy-makers, scientists and the public in talking and thinking about the future of our urban environments.
These are the things I learned in Collaboratory: applied and aspirational concepts of nature, and limits of these concepts; nature is a super-paradigm woven across political and economic systems in many cultures; even when the stakes are high we have a responsibility to the future to hold open the rough space for contradiction and imagining the unthinkable as a way of seeing new possibilities in the ashes.
Art holds Science’s hands, and we walk together into the scary places of transformation.
In this time of climate uncertainty and shifting concepts of nature / resource / stewardship, our super power is empathy, deep and broken in ways we don’t yet imagine.