Deep Roots: Prototype for Poetry vs Thetoric
Weber’s Prototype for poetry vs rhetoric (deep roots) (2021) was developed during his two-year artist residency at the Walker and created in collaboration with Twin Cities organization Youth Farm and Walker Art Center (curated by Nisa Mackie). The work addresses self-empowerment and determination; soil and air cleansing; spiritual reflection and meditation; and medicinal and food supply.
Designed for use by neighborhood residents, the farm will grow fresh produce and pollution-mitigating plants; vegetables, fruits, berries, and herbs will be available for free; and a community gathering table will create a space for reflection, meditation, and respite.
The new project features two rain gardens addressing the high pollution in North Minneapolis, and a public gathering space. The layout is based on the form of a basketball court to visually invite young people into the garden. Hoop-like sculptures and obsidian boulders are also included among plantings of fruiting shrubs, pollinators, and native grasses.
Youth Farm is a nonprofit organization that utilizes food and farming as a catalyst for social change, community engagement, and leadership development. During the growing season, the organization offers programs that help educate and train young people across Minneapolis in gardens and greenhouses. They also teach leadership skills year-round with programming focused on planting, cultivating, and distributing the food they grow. The artwork is realized in collaboration with Marcus Kar, Youth Farm’s director of North Minneapolis programs. Lease of the site is held by Youth Farm, and following the Opening-Day Celebration, the farm will be turned over to Kar and Youth Farm for incorporation into their community capacity building programs.
Despite being beset by many challenges during COVID-19 and following the murder of George Floyd, the artist and community persisted in realizing this vital public space for use by the community.