This past Saturday independent curator Cynthia Mulcahy and artist Robert Hamilton had a public picnic and reception to celebrate the planting and subsequent bloom of seventeen hundred Aztec Gold sunflower seeds in a vacant, 1.6 acre lot in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, Texas.
Since last March Mulcahy, Hamilton, a hardworking crew of 8, and a curious community of onlookers have watched as the land was tilled, seeds were planted and watered, and sprouts emerged. Each one growing five to seven feet with plentiful eleven-inch flower heads facing the sun. By mid-May the result was a golden field filled with not only flowers but neighbors getting to know each other in a once empty urban lot. All of this was the intended and thankful result of a collaborative spring Mulcahy termed “farming as street theater”.
Just like her last project, Square Dance: A Community Project, which she worked on with fellow “art as social practice” organizer Leila Grothe at the Audubon Center in South Dallas last year, this project, Seventeen Hundred Seeds places emphasis on the social elements of a community coming together to notice the potential within. The gathering of people to not only connect with nature but each other is the “art” and I believe the ultimate successful of both of these projects.
Amazing indeed, yes. And an attempt at beauty. The intersection of a man with the city, the abruptly reformed, the newly appropriated public space, the city as art.
– Let The Great World Spin p.102
This is a small section lifted from Colum McCann’s wonderful novel Let The Great World Spin. I’ve started reading it as I made my way from Austin to Seattle yesterday. It’s the description of a woman trying to digest the events of a day in NYC, 1974 when Philippe Petit walked a tight rope between the Twin Towers. While this novel does not have an obvious connection to the public art project Seventeen Hundred Seeds, I believe and hope that everyone lucky enough to see the rows and rows of glorious Aztec Gold sunflowers temporarily residing at 715 W. Davis thought too, “Amazing indeed, yes!”.
Seventeen Hundred Seeds remains on view through June and is free and open to the public. More images and information can be found here.