Director's Note 10/1/18

October 1, 2018

About a week ago, as yellow began to spread through the foliage, I began to wonder whether the yellow was ascending or descending. These thoughts filled many drives between Lynden and elsewhere. True, the yellow appeared most often in a tree’s highest reaches, which would seem to support the idea that the color—or the process of yellowing—was something that emanated from above and worked its way downward, through the trunk, and into the ground. But what I was feeling was an exuberant up-ness, the sense that the yellow was shooting up from deep within the roots of the trees, and that autumn was really about the gradual subsidence of that initial shot of yellow energy as gravity worked it gently downward through the canopy.

Here we are in October and the quandary no longer feels pressing. Some trees are entirely yellow, plenty of other colors are working their way into the canopy, and the gloomy weather has drained the yellow of its urgent sunniness. Perhaps I became obsessed with the vast numbers of leaves stirring overhead last month because September may well have been our highest-attendance month ever, with significant crowds for River Hills Bird, Tree & Monarch Day, Urban Forest Fest, and Doors Open.

But alongside these large events we continue to do the intimate work of building community. We have just spent another weekend with chef and food scholar Scott Alves Barton, who has become one of the many limbs of our Call and Response programming. Barton and artist-in-residence Portia Cobb shopped, chopped, filmed, talked, and tasted from Friday afternoon until yesterday evening, when we were joined by nearly 40 community members for a harvest meal. This was the culminating event of their collaborative project, Lizzie’s Garden: The Storied Land – The Storied Plate. We were delighted to have artist Folayemi Wilson with us, and she joined Jon Prown for a brief presentation on three significant objects from the Chipstone Foundation’s collection that illuminated—in the sensory spirit of the evening--the way the sensory clues (think tobacco, sugar, and snuff) embodied in everyday objects can complicate our understanding of the history of the slave trade.

Tyanna Buie’s exhibition, Im•Positioned, remains on view through late November, and she will be joined by Portia Cobb and Folayemi Wilson for an informal discussion on November 17. The Bonsai Exhibit winds down this month, so if you are planning a visit, you might want to call ahead to make sure it’s still open.

We have several Garden Series events this month, including a fall herb walk with Kyle Denton, a garden-inspired flower arrangement workshop with Courtney Joy Stevens, and a tree walk with forester Caitlin Reinartz. Naturalist Naomi Cobb leads a harvest moon walk, artist-in-residence Gary John Gresl presides over an artbook sale and swap, and Jenna Knapp steers the Self-Care Studio to Lynden for a session on meditative drawing. This month you can also try your hand at ceramics with Katheryn Corbin, enameling with Leslie Perrino, fabric marbling with Helen Poser, and paper marbling with Cary Suneja. Kate Moore visits the Women’s Speaker Series to talk about The Radium Girls—and these tickets are going fast. The UWM Writing Project touches down twice, once to work with young writers aged 10-15, and then again later in the month when they offer a mini writing retreat for teachers.

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