I’d like to share the following principles that were posed by Frances Whitehead, one of the most progressive artist-designer-thinker-do-ers I have had the opportunity to work with:
- Artists must bring their creativity, knowledge and innovation skills to the collective table, creating tangible benefits and demonstrating alternatives.
- The vision and cultural literacy of artists can contribute to cultural changes necessary to build a sustainable future, adding value through innovation to enliven, enrich, and enhance the quality and sustainability of the built world and the public realm.
- Demonstrate and explore the increasingly social role of art, strengthen ties to audiences, communities and constituencies new and old. Build geo-cultural place-based identity.
- The traditional role of artist, to make the invisible visible, takes on new meaning given the importance of understanding the inter-connectivity of ecologies, economies and relationships that make up the geo-cultural landscape.
With this as a frequent touchstone, and looking forward, backward and side-to-side as I take my next steps, I have come to value farming as the future of my past. As an Olympic athlete I engaged the world with my body and strength while learning efficiency, self-discipline, commitment and good community practice. As a student of earthen architecture, I have gained an intense appreciation for soil and place-based design. As a builder I have acquired skills and confidence to imagine, plan, make, repair and/or source what I need to fulfill a vision. As an artist I have developed a keener sense of my role in relationship to stewarding environments for deeper connection and awareness of ourselves, our greater communities, and the places we inhabit.
I look forward to participating with the students in this class, in partnership with connected communities, to design a greenhouse structure that meets the needs of the users, the plants and the environment – present and future. Thank you for the opportunity.