Artists // Bob Andersen / Lisa Bigalke / Kollis Branch / Ron Dunnett / Maureen Fritchen/ Elmer Golon / Maia Hausler / Leah Schreiber Johnson / Kathleen Laybourn/ Francisco Loyola / Janet Mrazek / Dan Nielsen / Margot Nielsen / Stacey Piper Milkie / Kate Remington / Jessica Z Schafer/ Kelly Shannon / Suellyn Scoon / Mary Spence / Mike Spence / Alex Tompsett / Maggie Venn / Rebecca Venn / Gary Wolfe
UW-Parkside Galleries and Black-Eyed Press invited there local artists to participate in Quick Response: Artists on the Root River, an art-canoe outing on the Root River and an informal exhibition at Black-Eyed Press September 7 – September 25, 2012. We ask artist-participants to work quickly in response to the river. To see it through direct experience (walking on the banks of the river, canoeing on it, etc.,) and to consider thinking about the role the river plays in Racine’s past, present and future.
The city of Racine grew up along the Root River; yet today this waterway is largely hidden from view. Many people live within walking distance of the river but don’t realize it’s there. In fact, it is difficult to catch a glimpse of the river or find an access point to it when driving through Racine. It’s exciting to report that in July the Racine city council adopted the “RootWorks” plan to develop the riverfront to make it more visible and accessible with with bike paths, public art, and commercial venues.
What happens when artists come to the river and respond to it? Black-Eyed Press and UW-Parkside Galleries invite a diverse group of artist to meet at the Root River, paddle around on it, look closely, reflect on its history, and respond aesthetically. Spend a few hours drawing, photographing, or watercolor painting en plein air. Draw in the mud and document it. Collect specimens and make a book out of them. Develop abstract responses to the river. Make botanical studies or a comic strip. Work with historical maps. Work with narratives, newspaper articles, or your own historical insights about the river into collage or sketch.
Instructions to the artists: Meet at the Root River Environmental Education Community Center (REC) on August 18th from 9:00 am – noon. UW-Parkside has arranged for free access to canoes for artist and there will be a UW-Parkside naturalist (a geography student involved in riverbank restoration project) to help artists see the plant life on the river more clearly. Artists should bring the materials they need to the REC on the 18th. Artists are not required to attend this canoe outing. Artist should work from the river in any way that they would like on their own. The REC is located at 1301 West 6th Street, Racine, WI.
Artists have been asked to respond to the Root River by making studies, sketches, photos, rubbing, etc. Then, to work for about a week to develop their ideas. Finally, artists deliver their product(s) to Black-Eyed Press by August 31st. There is no need to frame works as these sketches and studies and photographs and paintings will be tacked to the gallery walls informally.
Black-Eyed Press is located at 312 Sixth Street, Racine, WI 53403.
Resources for audiences and artists from the UW-Parkside Library Archive collection
Historic Maps of Racine: Historic maps of Racine document the changing concept of city from river-oriented town to road and highway-oriented city. See historic maps of Racine from the UW-Parkside Library Archive collection below. All of these maps can be downloaded in a variety of sizes.
Director, UW-Parkside Gallery
Director, Black-Eyed Press LLC
We thanks all the participating institutions:
Organizations: Black-Eyed Press LLP / Root River Council / UW-Parkside Galleries / UW-Parkside Library Archives / UW-Parkside Geography Department Root River Restoration Project / Root River Environmental Education Community Center
PS: See land art and landscape projects that inspire the organizers of this project can be seen at the following links. There are not models to follow, but project meant to inspire.
- McCaw/Budsberg Collaborations (Milwaukee-based) Sketches for on-site land drawings
- Meg Ojala’s photographs of native plants near her home (Minneapolis)
- Mark Dion Thames Dig (1999) images, Thames Dig description. (International)
- Faith Purvey, Passages 3: Ophelia or Passages 2: Chiricahua. Purvey’s paintings are interesting as well—they appear to be abstract responses to environments