Excellent article on Frances Whitehead’s work in Chicago renewing a landscape and using planting to engage people with the patterns of climate in the area. If you are patient or observant you’ll be able to watch the blooming of the apple serviceberry trees like a slow wave heading towards Lake Michigan. You’ll also be able to track the phenology, the shift in the timings of the seasons.
Sculptor Frances Whitehead calls herself a provocateur. She’s no Banksy. Instead, this professor of sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago pushes people to think differently about how art fits into, and shapes, our lives, from the mundane to the political — and how it might help us imagine a more sustainable future.
In 2006, Whitehead penned a creative manifesto called “What Do Artists Know?” The document is a point-by-point articulation of what a creative mind can bring to the broader cultural conversation. She later swayed city officials to place artists into government via her program, The Embedded Artist.
It was only a matter of time before Whitehead, a longtime gardener who frequently incorporated natural objects into her sculpture, began to focus on the combination of art and science. In 2004, Whitehead and her husband purchased a 3,000-square-foot warehouse and converted it into their
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