Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mending the Earth in Milwaukee: A new book

A photographer friend of mine has a new book called Mending the Earth in Milwaukee. Her name is Ney Tait Fraser. 

The book contains sixteen stories of yards landscaped with native plants to create mini-Edens for wildlife. The yards sustain pollinators such as butterflies, indigenous species of bees, birds 
and critters that feed raptors.

The owners of the sixteen yards featured in the book were members of Wild Ones. They were profoundly influenced by one of its leaders, Lorrie Otto. Otto was a gifted teacher. The heroic saga of Lorrie Otto getting DDT banned in Wisconsin is also included. 

Otto with children at Indian Hill School where she helped to establish native plants.  

This book is crammed with useful information and is illustrated by photographs.

Mending the Earth in Milwaukee is currently available at:

Woodland Pattern Book Center 720 E. Locust Street Milwaukee.

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center on Brown Deer Road.

Wehr Nature Center, 9701 West College Ave., Franklin WI 53132.

Riveredge Nature Center, 4458 County Highway Y, Saukville WI 53080.

The book costs $30 plus tax at all four locations.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Red sky in morning, sailors take warning

For the past two days since the election I have not slept well. I wake up with headaches and a very real sense of disorientation. I look out the window expecting to see a red sky, as if the physical world must have changed along with my interior one.

There have been moments in the past like this one, when I have heard news that I knew at once--in my gut more than my intellect--that nothing would ever be the same again. Yes, the Kennedy assassination. The fall of the Berlin Wall. 9/11. The deaths of my parents.

My gut feeling may be wrong. Perception does alter reality, but that is an internal struggle. I know that approximately half the country may have reacted much as I am reacting now if my candidate, Hillary Clinton, had won. That contributes to my disorientation. I must hope that the fears generated by the campaign are not realized in coming months and years....

The fact that nothing has actually changed and that the sky remains blue this morning is almost as surreal as the image of the red sky my imagination has fabricated. But my mental and digitally altered images has put me in mind of that old sailor's proverb: "red sky in morning, sailors take warning."

Here's hoping that this morning's blue sky means clear sailing ahead.

ps. Hoping is not the same as being optimistic. For a less nuanced reponse to the election I recommend Aaron Sorkin's, written in the form of an open letter to his daughters. Click here.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Day of the Dead displays opening at Latino Arts Gallery

Dia de los Muertos Ofrendas

October 28 – November 18

Latino Arts Gallery

Opening Reception: Friday, November 4 at 5:00 p.m.

Celebrate life with Latino Arts’ annual Day of the Dead exhibition, featuring a dazzling array of ofrendas (altars) prepared by local, regional, and international artists.
Concrete River shrine
Environmental artist Melanie Ariens and I have reprised and reformatted our Concrete River shrine/reliquary and it is on display along with the many more traditional ofrendas at the United Community Center's Latino Arts Gallery
My photographs of the Kinnickinnic River are mounted on panels that represent the concrete channel. Melanie once again has created two assemblages. On one side is a shrine honoring the river, water in general, and the Great Lakes. On the other side is a reliquary composed of detritus removed from the river. In keeping with the spirit of Dia de los Muertos it is meant to symbolize the life, death and rebirth of the KK River.
Concrete River reliquary
I hope you can join us for the opening. If not the exhibit remains on view through Nov. 18. 

The Latino Arts Gallery is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
The United Community Center is located at 1028 South 9th Street in Milwaukee. For more information go to the Latino Arts website.