Katherine Ball’s artistic practice is founded on a hands-on, solutions-oriented approach to ecological activism, social engagement, and pluriversal counter-hegemony. She makes things and makes things happen.
Katherine approaches art making as an experiment in generating new levels of understanding by bringing together multiple subject areas. By combining articulate visual aesthetics, ecological research/field work, and community engagement, new understanding can be generated about systemic causes and solutions to social and environmental issues. Guiding questions include: How can art be an agent of awareness and action? How can art amplify collective and diverse voices? How is art’s impact increased when it is informed by research and rooted in community?
Katherine was born in Detroit, Michigan and works in London, England. Venues for her public projects have included the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Smack Mellon (NYC), Portland Art Museum, Bétonsalon (Paris), Kampnagel (Hamburg), and Kunsthall Charlottenborg (Copenhagen). She has an MFA in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University.
Atlantic Center for the Arts’ second Community Artist-in-Residence, Katherine Ball, has completed her four month stay in New Smyrna Beach. During her residency, the impassioned environmental artist has completed three major projects and has touched the lives of many in the community.
Public Works by Katherine Ball
EDIBLE FLOATING WETLAND
NEW SMYRNA BEACH HIGH SCHOOL
1015 10th St., New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
THE EDIBLE FLOATING WETLAND IS DESIGNED TO TAKE EXCESS FERTILIZER OUT OF A STORMWATER RETENTION POND. THE REUSED FOAM MAT IS BUILT OUT OF KIDS PLAY MATS. IT IS PLANTED WITH AQUATIC VEGETABLES INCLUDING WATER LOTUS, TARO, WATERCRESS, CRANBERRY HIBISCUS, EARTH ALMOND AND WATER CELERY. THE PLANTS ARE ROLLED INTO COCONUT COIR PADS AND INSERTED INTO PLASTIC POTS THAT FIT IN THE HOLES IN THE MAT. THE COIR PADS ARE INOCULATED WITH MUSHROOM MYCELIUM THAT FILTERS THE WATER AND IMPROVES THE PLANT GROWTH. AS THE PLANTS GROW, THEY METABOLIZE THE EXCESS NITROGEN AND PHOSPHOROUS. AS THE ISLAND MATURES THEY WILL SHADE OUT THE PINK COLOR. TO COMPLETELY REMOVE THE FERTILIZERS, THE PLANTS WILL BE HARVESTED AND THEN THE ISLAND CAN BE REPLANTED. Visit New Smyrna Beach High School’s website www.nsbhigh.com.
MARY S. HARRELL BLACK HERITAGE MUSEUM
314 N. Duss Street, New Smyrna Beach, Florida 32168
THIS HISTORICAL GARDEN IS GROWING PLANTS SIGNIFICANT TO AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE. GUIDING QUESTIONS INCLUDED: WHAT FOODS WERE SLAVES EATING AS THEY WALKED ACROSS THE COUNTRY ON THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD? WHAT PLANTS AND PLANT KNOWLEDGE WERE BROUGHT OVER FROM AFRICA? WHAT HERBAL MEDICINES WERE USED TO HEAL VICTIMS OF POLICE BRUTALITY DURING THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA? THE HEIRLOOM PLANTS INCLUDE A VARIETY OF TOMATOES WHOSE SEED WAS CARRIED ON THE TRAIL TO FREEDOM, PLANTED IN THE NORTH AND STILL REMAINS IN CULTIVATION TO THIS DAY. A CONTINUATION OF THIS PRESERVATION EFFORT WILL INCLUDE CREATING A HEIRLOOM SEED LIBRARY INSIDE OF THE MUSEUM. Visit Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum’s website: www.blackheritagemuseum.org
NSB BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB
813 Mary Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
THIS GARDEN WAS BUILT WITH YOUTH AT THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB. IT IS DESIGNED TO EVOLVE INTO A MULTISTORIED FOREST GARDEN THAT INCLUDES FRUIT TREES (FIG, PERSIMMON, PINEAPPLE GUAVA, PAPAYA), BERRY SHRUBS (SOUTHERN HIGHBUSH BLUEBERRY, GRUMICHAMA) PERENNIAL VEGETABLES (CASSAVA, OKINAWA SPINACH, SALTBUSH, TREE COLLARDS, NOPALE CACTUS) AND PLANTS THAT IMPROVE SOIL FERTILITY (PEANUTS, GROUNDNUTS AND OTHER LEGUMES). IT INCORPORATES PLAY STRUCTURES, INCLUDING A SCARLET RUNNER BEAN DOME AND A WINGED BEAN TEEPEE WITH A SWEET POTATO MOAT. SINCE PERENNIAL PLANTS DO NOT HAVE TO BE REPLANTED EACH SEASON, THIS GARDEN IS INTENDED TO BE A LOW MAINTENANCE ADDITION TO THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB. Visit Boys & Girls Clubs Volusia/Flagler Counties’ website www.bgcvfc.org.
Learn more about Katherine Ball by visiting her Blog: http://acacommunityartist.tumblr.com/