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bostontreeparty7pm, Tuesday, March 27
Rm 110 School of Hospitality Adminstation
928 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA

Urban agriculture has captured the imagination of artists, architects and designers all over the world in recent years. Please join us for a cross-disciplinary discussion on the intersection of art, urban agriculture, and civic engagement – fertile ground for sowing seeds that remind us of our interdependent relationship with nature and each other.

The conversation will follow a screening of the new Boston Tree Party short documentary film, and presentations by Rachel Black and Nicole Caruth. It will be followed by an apple cider reception in celebration of the launch of the second Boston Tree Party planting campaign.

Panel Discussion

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Panelists will include:

Rachel Black is an assistant professor and the academic coordinator of the Gastronomy Program at Boston University, which offers a Master in Liberal Arts and Certificate in Food Studies. Black has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology and her research focuses on urban agriculture and food distribution in cities. Her forthcoming book Porta Palazzo: The Anthropology of an Italian Market will be coming out next month with University of Pennsylvania Press.

Rachel's Presentation

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Nicole J. Caruth is an arts and culture writer and sometimes curator living in Brooklyn. She has written for, among others, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Phaidon Press, ARTnews, C Magazine, Gastronomica, Public Art Review, and She regularly contributes to the PBS affiliated blog Art21, which publishes her food and art column Gastro-Vision. Caruth’s past curatorial projects include Burning Down the House: Building a Feminist Art Collection, Brooklyn Museum; and With Food in Mind, Center for Book Arts, New York. Taking the title from her latter exhibition, Caruth recently founded the organization With Food in Mind, which develops and supports projects at the intersection of visual culture, food studies, and social change.

Lisa Gross is a Brooklyn/Boston based artist who works in the field of social practice. Her cross-disciplinary projects create opportunities for learning, connection, and multi-sensory engagement. Her practice deals with questions and issues of public space, urban ecology, civic engagement, social history, and cross-cultural relations. Her work has been featured in the Art21 blog, ArtNews (forthcoming), the Boston Globe, Grist, and Radio Boston, among others. She is a frequent speaker at universities and conferences, and she was a recent presenter at TEDx Boston. Lisa received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University and has a B.A. in English from Yale University. She is the founder and director of the Boston Tree Party and Hybrid Vigor Projects.

The discussion will be moderated by Judith Hoos Fox, independent curator, works with Ginger Gregg Duggan under the moniker c2 (curatorsquared), to develop exhibitions of international, cross-media contemporary art and design that explore current issues in culture. Recent exhibitions include Branded and On Display, FACADES, Blown Away, Under Control, Art on Speed, Mechanical Couture: Fashioning a New Order, Art on Speed, Connectivity Lost, Mildred’s Lane Renovating Walden/J. Morgan Puett and Mark Dion and Passing Time. Together Duggan and Fox have organized exhibitions for Krannert Art Museum - University of Illinois, Ulrich Art Museum-Wichita State University, Tufts University Art Gallery, the Holon Design Museum-Israel and the Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University. Their writing has been published internationally including most recently in ATOPAS Cultural Organization, Athens, Greece and the chapter Life
in Princeton Architectural Press’s LUCY+JORGE ORTA: FOOD WATER LIFE. This book reflects the exhibition they are organizing for Tufts University, to open in 2013 in which the Ortas’ work, exemplary of many of the issues we are looking at this evening, will be presented for the first time in the US.

About the project

Boston Tree Party Documentary

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The Boston Tree Party is a participatory public art project, a performative re-imagining of American political expression, and an urban agriculture project. At its core, the Party is a diverse coalition of communities from across the Greater Boston Area coming together in support of Civic Fruit. Communities ranging from elementary schools to assisted living centers, universities, churches, and more have each committed to planting and caring for their own pair of heirloom apple trees. Together, these trees form a decentralized public urban orchard that symbolizes a commitment to the environmental health of our city and the vitality and interconnectedness of our communities.

The structure and design of the Party is a playful re-imagining of patriotic and political language, imagery, and forms of association. Over forty communities from across Greater Boston are currently participating as “Tree Party Delegations.” Each pair of trees creates a new gathering place and opportunities for learning, exchange, and participation. The project seeks to catalyze a lasting engagement with the issues of food access, health, environmental stewardship, biodiversity, public space, and civic engagement.

The Party launched in April 2011 with the Boston Tree Party Inauguration on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. A new planting campaign will begin in April 2012.