Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Hi All.

I wanted to share with you an upcoming talk at Women Made Gallery in April.  Please consider coming by.  I will be talking of my work.  Things that are inspiring and we will be making seed bombs.  Would love to see your smile out there.

Invitation to upcoming talk at Women Made Gallery in conjunction with their 14th International Open

Please check out the following link for further information regarding Empty Bowls.

EMPTY BOWLS
Friday, March 25, 2011, 5-9pm

4401 N. RAvenswood

Chicago, IL  60640

Information on who has benefited from this amazing and mindful event:

First Slice is a not-for-profit, community-supported kitchen that provides wholesome food for those living in need in Chicago. It is our mission to foster programs that link those living in poverty with those who are more fortunate and to create strong relationships with other community-based organizations. By doing so, we strive to address the immediate needs of hungry Chicagoans, and to develop long-term solutions to solve the problems of poverty and homelessness.

First Slice is excited to have recently partnered with the Night Ministry to open a new winter youth shelter, the Crib, located @ 835 W. Addison. We provide hot breakfast, bagged lunch, and hot dinners Monday through Friday to over 800 youth per week. We will be collecting any donations to the food drive for the Crib throughout the winter. Anyone who donates is eligible to enter our raffle to win a giant lasagna! We are also looking for volunteers to help cook, prep, and serve at the Crib.

On Tuesdays & Thursdays we provide dinner to the Broadway Youth Center @

3179 N. Broadway St.

On Wednesdays, we provide the Welcome Meal at the soup kitchen in the

Epiphany Church @ 2008 W. Bradley.

We have also provide dinner to the Jane Addams Hull House, Thresholds,

Center on Halsted, and the American Indian Center. First Slice provides school lunches to local schools Pilgrim and North Park Elementary.

Our Subscriber Program sustains the majority of our community outreach

and job placement training. We currently have 2 staff members we gained

through the job training program- one in the back of the house and one

in the front of the house.

Subscribers pay to receive the same high-quality, chef-designed meals

that First Slice distributes to people living in need.

Profits made at our pie cafe are donated directly to not-for-profit

organization, making First Slice’s community outreach programs possible.”

Please note:  Pictured are Gary Jackson’s stack of lovely, soda fired works that have become the icon for this 4th, and nearly annual, event.


A detail of a mat

It has been quite a year for many engaged humans in the long term care communities of Chicago thanks to Ruth Wertler, Life Enrichment Coordinator, and her residents of Bethesda Home and Retirement and many others who have been inspired to make.  You can check out another article of many about this special community and others inspired to change the culture of elder communities.

One year ago was the launch of the Chicago area New Life for Old Bags (NLOB).  As of January 4th there were 137 mats completed (with approximately 95,900 grocery type bags rescued from going to landfills) and distributed through area soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

So many gatherings, counted hrs and uncounted hours of purposeful engagement of elders in a long term care community.  Purposeful.  Not a “sense of purpose” but purposeful as Ruth reminded many of us during a presentation of the NLOB project to those of us also working in long term care.

The project is wonderful and mindful on so many levels that it is difficult to share all of the human connections this project embraces.  Corporations, churches, schools, staff, families, restaurant of an art center, and neighbors all have been educated about the project and have assisted in some way and so many ways over the last year.

Some statistics were shared at each table (and during each presentation) that Ruth has conducted:

Statistics of Homelessness in Chicago in 2009/2010

Here is  a quick slide show of some of the images taken today (think this X many hands, many people many locations and you will have a small grasp of this herculean project):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The benefits to this project are truly endless but as an artist and a recreation therapist I can’t help but share a few:  social engagement, physical benefits, earth benefits, creation of a broad sense of community and our place in it, anticipation and cognitive stimulation, and just plain old FUN!!!  One cannot also help but mention what the excessive use of plastic does for our environment so the benefits for our environment are huge also.

A recent client of Cornerstone Community Outreach was observed with his mat under his arm while waiting in line for healthy food.  This is the quote from the email from the staff member at Cornerstone “Ruth, last Friday when I was serving lunch at Cornerstone, a guy came in line with one of the “bag mats” rolled up under his arm. I asked him about it and he smiled so wide as he said that it was fine and he was glad to have it. It is so humbling to think that this man who has to carry all his belongings with him considers that mat something of such value that he is willing to carry it everywhere he goes. Tell your NLFOB crew that what they do does make a difference. Thank you!”

Ruth honored many participants today at her community and I just had to share some images and videos of the event.  Several people in attendance couldn’t even take a break and kick back, they had to keep their hands busy making more plarn, mats, and friends.  Special thanks for First Slice Pie Cafe for the wonderful treats served for everyone.  A partner in caring for people less fortunate too.

Here are some of those in attendance working…

and

and here the crocheting…

It is an honor to know Ruth Werstler and I look forward to Ruth and many others leading the way to a purposeful life no matter one’s age.

Finally, I get to share more about The Cornettes – Advocates for Urban Agriculture thanks to a Midwestern panic (and now a two foot reality!) about snow.  Here is our back yard and front yard this afternoon.  Bring it on!

WGN Around Town with Ana Belaval and The Cornettes - (L-R) Lin Shook Schalek (founder, choreographer, dancer of Perception Motion, Inc), me, and Stephanie Samuels (artist and proprietor of Angel Food Bakery). Those two dear friends met me at the studio at 6:00 am!

Firstly, I am going to finally give credit to Phyllis Gilmore for naming The Cornettes.  Phyllis is an Activity Director I have been working with for nearly a decade in the recreation therapy/consulting part of my life.  She is a creative at heart and when we were talking about naming “my girls” she exclaimed “How about The Cornettes?!?!?!”  … and so they were named.  Fast forward a few weeks later and there was Phyllis listening/watching Around Town with Ana Belaval of WGN and they announced “Up next, The Cornettes!”  She spun around in her chair to see none other than The Cornettes on am Chicago TV!  Thanks so much Phyllis!

The three Cornette costumes (following Summer Sweet-the first Cornette before The Cornettes were The Cornettes) were commissioned by the Chicago Office of Tourism City of Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs.  (The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs has been an amazing support to many local visual and performing artists.)  Check out their Chicago Artist Resource site.

Several events later including The Great Performers of Illinois at Millenium Park, Herb Nadelhoffer’s 80th birthday, The County Fair at Garfield Park Conservatory, Art meets Ag show at UW Platteville’s Nohr Gallery with this delightful blog post, The Corn Ball (part of the Legacy Project and The Fields Project, in Ogle County, IL, Slow Food Eat In for healthy school lunches in Daley Plaza (somehow Peemoeller must have missed us), Corn Celebrations at Lillstreet Art Center, Hand Harvested at Tojo Gallery, and many Cornette costume wearers that include but are not limited to the following women:

Annie Abdelnour, Jorkill Almanzar, Zoe Anderson, Sarah Aubry, Helene Alter Deich, Jennifer Dotson, Nicole Gotthelf, Vickie Hayes, Nancy Little, Colleen Lovinello, Amber Mathews, Susan Melcher and mother Sue Melcher, Donna Neuwirth, Lindsay Obermeyer, Corinne D. Peterson, Galadriel Rosen, Ariel Rubin, Stephanie Samuels, Lin Shook Schalek, Mary Lou Wehrli, Sojourner Wright, Jiyeon Yim, and Mary Zehnder.  Thanks everyone!  You have worn the costume well.

Commonly asked questions of The Cornettes – Advocates for Urban Agriculture

“Why do only women get to wear the costume?”

Some may know that the kernel is the female part of the plant.  Here is a clear explanation of the botany of the lovely an ancient Zea Mays.  That is why we introduced Paul E. Nator (worn by Bart Conklin, summer intern from UW Platteville in 2010) in 2010.  We will see how the tassel fits in while juggling wooden corn cobs in future appearances.

“What do they do?”

First, they look lovely don’t they?  In this world of “entertain me” though that clearly has not been enough!  They tell corny jokes, corn facts, talk about urban agriculture and growing their own food (especially keeping urban chickens – yes it is legal!), and plenty of photo opportunities.  In 2010 we debuted their song Let us Grow Some Sweetcorn, sung to the tune of Let me Call you Sweetheart along with Paul E. Nator the corn juggler.  The conversations with people from around the world and in Chicago high rises have been wonderful.  See one here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“How do you get to be a Cornette?”

Talk to me.  If you enjoy being with people, love to be a ham, and have a passion for growing your own food and educating others about food systems, you are most of the way there!  I am always looking for new talent!  Honestly, some of the events are paid and I share the income and some of the events are “guerilla” ie. unpaid but very necessary to call attention to our food and growing needs and issues thereof.

How could I book The Cornettes for my event?

Write to me via this blog by commenting.  Let’s talk about your needs, your event, and how The Cornettes – Advocates for Urban Agriculture can add some fun while learning about growing one’s own food.

I hope you have enjoyed some of the wonderful images over the last couple of years and look forward to Dakota Black Popcorn, the final Cornette addition in 2011!  She is going to be beautiful!!!

I wanted to quickly share a link to an article published over the weekend with Chicago Art Magazine.  A big thanks to Robin Dluzen for a great conversation that didn’t feel like an interview and her thoughtful perspective on my work.

Catherine Schwalbe-Bouzide’s Corn Party:  Intent and Reception of Social Art.

These are words from the Facebook post by Kathryn Born – Editor in Chief

“Bouzide will re-appear in the 40 over 40 series… but .. holy smokes, what a wonderful, unpretentious artist. She’s comfortable either being identified either as a relational aesthetic artist, or a nice lady who gave you a free bowl. And that’s a wonderful attitude – if you don’t “get it”, you never even knew it was art, just a posit…ive experience with another human.

Social artists – take note.”

A big thanks to Kathryn and Robin.  I have been reading their magazine on line since its inception and have been in awe of their comprehensive and mindful coverage of a variety of artists in the Chicago area.  And… “They pay their writers!” said good friend Jeff Huebner.

“Corn Girls” Bettmann Archive 1915, University of Illinois Mayfest courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives

I wanted to write about The Cornettes:  Advocates for Urban Agriculture in the middle of winter for many reasons.

They are a work in progress.

They have taken on a life of their own.

They couldn’t happen without an ongoing relationship with some amazing women.

I have some thoughts of where they need to go given the recent climate of Urban Agriculture but I thought I would write about where they have been.

The Cornettes started several years ago in my mind.  I appreciated a picture on the back book sleeve (above) of The Story of Corn by Betty Fussell.  A friend, Nancy Little, found the book for me on a sale table at Border’s.  She gave it to me in the midst of a dinner with friends.  I immediately was taken and mesmerized by the images and text throughout the book and of course, the back cover.  Since reading the book cover to cover, at the gentle urging of Bill Friedman – my corn husband, it has affirmed and fueled my work in many ways.

As Fussell writes, “Corn made the whole world kin.”

Fast forward to about four or five winters ago, I shared the image with my mother not knowing where it may lead.

I bought a fresh cob of corn for inspiration on the summer day we embarked on the project after fabric shopping and sewing some kernels together.

Here is mom studying the cob…

Mom studying the fresh sweet corn

We had Summer Sweet completed for our Corn Celebration at Lillstreet Art Center in 2006.  Many thanks to Jennifer Dotson and Mary Zehnder, the first women to don the husks of Summer Sweet to an adoring audience.

Well, I started off this blog entry to talk about and share images of The Cornettes.  But, back in 2006 “The Cornettes” didn’t even exist.  Just Summer Sweet materialized with dreams of more down the corn row.  How did they get their name?  What are their names?  What is next for The Cornettes?  Stay tuned and keep your ears to the tilth!

A follow up on Potable

Non Potable spigot Paulina Station CTA

I wanted to share some sentiments from an unprepared but inspired participant in the Potable gesture in September.  He captures much of what I was trying to communicate and so much more.

Michael Blahy writes:

“Hi Catherine,
You might not remember me from September 28th, but I was the person who came to the Pryor Avenue Iron Well with the big five gallon bottle (and was too camera shy to get photographed!). I am a graduate student at UW-Milwaukee and am currently working on my Master’s thesis. I have been mulling over my essay for some time now, when I realized last night that there’s something particularly significant happening at the well that your Potable Realized project helped me realize (I am so thankful that you extended your experience and thoughts from the well to your blog). The iron well is just as much of a neighborhood gathering place as any of the corner bars in Bayview. For people like me it has become a quotidian experience to fill up and quickly chat with anyone else visiting the watering hole. It is so casually nestled in our neighborhood that it is easy to forget its long history and, more importantly, the connection it provides city residents with local geography and natural resources.
My concerns about the iron well arise out of a narrative I constructed about another vernacular landscape in the area–that of Hubbard Park in Shorewood. I trace its history back to the 1800s when the land hosted a mineral spring resort. Over time the landscape morphed from a rustic park in the country to an amusement park, a train depot, and, finally, what it is now, a residential/park hybrid. However, with the site’s evolution, each layer of history has been slowly erased. The landscape’s rich history is only acknowledged by a few plaques–kind of a let down considering the significance of the geography of the site.
Anyway, it seems to me that the Bayview iron well, in general, and, your artistic project, specifically, have done a better job of inscribing a sense of place that is alive both in its present, day to day form and in its history and geography.
I apologize if I rambled on for too long here, but, if you’re at all interested in discussing your experiences further, I would love to talk more.
And thank you for the wonderful drinking cup! We are enjoying it very much here at home!
Michael”

Michael and I spent some time on the phone with his prepared questions relating to my project and his thesis “In Small Urban Places.”  From his viewpoint I learned and I will be forever grateful.  An artist and one who responds is a true gift.  There are so many of us that make work day after day, year after year and wonder about making an impact.  I am honored by Michael’s thoughtful sentiments and how they might relate to his own discoveries about community.

From Michael’s thesis draft:

“It is so casually nestled in our neighborhood that it is easy to forget its long history and, more importantly, the connection it provides city residents with local geography and natural resources.  Artistic endeavors such as “Potable” literally help one to realize the significance of the place.  It seems to me that the Bayview Iron well, in general and, Schwalbe-Bouzide’s project, specifically, have dona a better job of inscribing a sense of past that is alive both in its present, day to day form and in its history and geography.”

I have been researching other possible site for Potable events in the future.  You might enjoy following this blog:

Find a Spring.  Michael and I both have!