Creates shoots and leaves

Photo by Katie Holten

How cool is Katie Holten?

First she’s Irish, like me (although the comparison pretty much stops there).

Second, she was the one who slapped this great video on youtube, which is sort of the definition of poetry in motion (and you gotta love the Danish exclamations you hear in the background)

Finally, and most important — because it’s closing on February 28, after two holdovers, and you have to go see it if you haven’t already– Holten conceived tree museum, a public art project celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. Instead of doing the usual photographic history retrospective in a museum, she took the whole thing outside and into the street.

Using chartreuse green sidewalk markers by 100 trees that flank the Concourse, the tree museum stretches from 138th St. to Yankee Stadium, to Joyce Kilmer Park to the bridge over the Cross Bronx Expressway, to the Botanical Gardens and Fordham, before ending at Mosholu Parkway. Holten has turned every stop into a story, using the voices of the community to celebrate the communities and ecosystems along the way.

London Plane tree

You stop by any tree marker, call the main number, punch in the tree code, and you’ll hear somebody telling you a Bronx tale – from professors to settlement workers, artists to Puerto Rican rappers, schoolkids to foresters. The stories don’t necessarily have anything to do with the trees, but as you’re standing there listening, you’ll find yourself staring up in to the branches, gazing at a cloud floating by, or looking down the long boulevard of dreams that is the Grand Concourse.

It’s a thrilling, different kind of museum experience, even in the dead of winter when it’s 20 degrees outside and your camera has a weird fuzzy frozen spot in the middle.

For making me get out there in January and look at the Concourse with new eyes (not to mention hugging a tree), $100 goes to Katie Holten for whatever she wants to do next.

4 thoughts on “Creates shoots and leaves

  1. What a brilliant idea for a blog and for a year. Keep up the good work and the digging. I’m sure you’ll get lots of nominations but you may want to look at my poetry in the waiting rooms blog We’re all out of funds.

  2. I absolutely love this blog and the idea behind it and the delicious discovery of something wonderful every day for a whole year. I would like to nominate Andrea Barnwell Brownlee and the Spelman Museum of Fine Art. Andrea and her staff (you can count ALL of them on one hand) work magic on a shoestring budget. This museum features works by and about women of the African disapora. Andrea has showcased emerging artists in original exhibitions as well as bringing in exhibitions from other museums. Importantly, Andrea brings the artists in for conversations with students and anyone who walks in the door. The current exhibit is another stellar gift to the Atlanta community. I want to thank Andrea for how she has enriched my life and my understanding of art.

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