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Avery Point Exhibit Combines Nature and Art
By WNPR Staff | Published: Apr 26, 2013

Ana Flores: Nature Meets Art In Groton

Sculptor and Ecological designer Ana Flores has been incorporating nature and art for years. The Rhode Island-based artist has a big presence right now at UConn’s Avery Point. Besides an exhibit of her art at the Alexy von Schlippe Gallery, earlier this month, Flores installed her latest Poetry of the Wild Poetry Walk.

Flores talks to WNPR’s Ray Hardman about the new exhibit. The walk runs through August 30.

 


Poets+Writers

Discovering the Poetry of the Wild

by Melissa Faliveno | NEWS AND TRENDS | September/October 2013

For ten years, ecological artist and sculptor Ana Flores of Charlestown, Rhode Island, has been bringing “Poetry of the Wild”—a series that “connects people to landscape by combining poetry, visual art, and nature observation”—to communities across the country and abroad. The project showcases “poetry boxes,” small handmade vessels constructed of recycled materials and installed in locations both public and wild, such as parks, forests, waterfront trails, and libraries. Written, etched, or pasted inside each box is a poem—some original, some classic, from poets both established and emerging; the boxes themselves are designed to “reflect the chosen texts within them” and encourage people to engage with the land around them.

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Young poet Lucy Turner and her mother, Pam, study a poetry box at Avery Point. Photographer: Ana Flores

The project began in 2003 when Flores was an environmental artist-in-residence at the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed in Rhode Island. Walking along the trails and rivers, she noticed both an abundance of trash and a collection of small birdhouses, which the local government had erected. She decided to build similar structures with poems inside for people to discover along similar trails—and with a little luck, leave a part of themselves, rather than trash, along the way. The first box was installed in Mystic, Connecticut, through a collaboration with the Mystic Arts Center; Flores has since brought the project to communities throughout the United States and abroad, including New London, Connecticut; Colorado Springs; and Dartington, England, through partnerships with the Audubon Society, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, and other environmental and arts organizations. Each box also contains a small journal for passersby to write their own poems and record responses to the work.


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Communities and the Public Imaginary – Ten Years of the Poetry of the Wild Project

by Suzanne MacAulay, Ph.D., from a paper presented at the Folkarts Society Conference.

This discussion examines the many variations over the past ten years of the collaborative and public project of Poetry of the Wild (POW) comprised of poetry boxes (i.e., literary bird houses), installed on trails, in parks, along rivers as well as library stacks (Dewey Decimal address: English poetry, 811). In this context cultural sustainability and poetic sensibility deepen our understanding of sense of place, environmental aesthetics, shrine markers, and the breadth of individual and communal creative and performative action.

“…out for a walk…”

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Carol Watson explaining her poem and poetry box (collaboration with her husband) during Mystic, Connecticut, poetry walk, summer 2013.

Ana Flores conceived Poetry of the Wild (POW) in 2003 when she was an artist-in-residence at the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed in Rhode Island. Flores’ art making really defies conventional categorization but she is usually regarded as an environmental artist, activist, and masterful collaborator.
POW is an ongoing artistic and literary project that according to Ana’s conception invites the public ‘out for a walk’ to freshly experience their world through word, sound and image. Inspired by the architectural design of birdhouses, these unique configurations of ‘poetry boxes,’ combining art and poetry located in communal open spaces, solicit a public response and become catalysts for exploring our environs and questioning how a sense of place informs our consciousness. Akin to a treasure hunt, hikers and walkers encounter poetry boxes in unexpected places. The presence of poetry boxes in the landscape fosters a kind of intentionality – a purpose – to walking.


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Hartford Currant

Artists Create a Poetry Walk Along Seaside at UConn in Groton

June 20, 2013|By SUSAN DUNNE, sdunne@courant.com, The Hartford Courant

David Madacsi has an ambiguous relationship with the ocean. His home along the Mystic River flooded during Hurricane Sandy. A mooring buoy with a rusty chain was one of the pieces of detritus that washed onto his property. He intended to throw it away, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

“During the weeks of cleanup that followed, the word ‘tenuous’ frequently entered my mind as I imagined the state of the house and of moorings in the harbor during the storm and flooding,” he said.


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Some thoughts on Ana Flores’s Earth History, Selected Sculptures 1997-2013

July 3, 2013

By Patricia Rosoff, Art New England Online

Some thoughts on Ana Flores’s Earth History, Selected Sculptures 1997-2013
[Part of Poetry of the Wild recently installed on the Sculpture Walk at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art, UConn at Avery Point, Groton CT]

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Ana Flores, Enlightenment, 2010, wood, cement, metal. 8′ x 36″ x 16″

Two currents move through the work of Ana Flores as encountered, recently installed both at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery and along the windswept Sculpture Walk by the Sea. One is private and figurative, expressed in lyric attentiveness to details of relation, to color and to material. The other is public, site-specific and multi-disciplinary (literary and narrative), inviting viewer exploration and interaction. Both engage the viewer in three dimensions, in works that spring from forms “found” in nature that are then formally “staged” in architectural or natural contexts.


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Poetry takes a walk on the wild side

AMY J. BARRY, Special to the Day | 04/29/2012 12:00 AM

A newly installed poetry box created by Michael Peno, a Mitchell College junior from Providence with a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow inside, stands at the entrance of Mitchell Beach, while a group moves toward the beach to install another poetry box on April 18.

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Dana Jensen | The New London Day

Artist Ana Flores isn’t one to monopolize the spotlight.
“I come in and build a dance floor and everyone starts dancing-that’s when collaborative work is at its best,” says Flores.

And now the artist is sitting back and enjoying the show, as Poetry of the Wild (POW), a participatory environmental art project that Flores conceived, is taking off throughout New London. The project is built around poems that are printed inside handmade boxes, fabricated of recycled materials, and placed at sites throughout the city from the public library to public parks to school and community gardens to nature trails along the beach.


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POETRY OF THE WILD

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Poetry of the Wild (POW), which was  first organized in 2011 during Mystic Art Center’s Outdoor Sculpture exhibit,  is a collaboration of the Mystic Arts Center, The Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art at UConn Avery Point and Expressiones Cultural Center in New London. POW was designed by Ana Flores, an ecological designer and sculptor who has toured nationally with this unique project.

The project is funded in part by the CT Commission of Arts and Tourism in partnership with the Mystic Arts Center, Expressiones Cultural Center in New London, the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art at UConn Avery Point and the Public Library of New London.


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