Municipal Experiments

2415 My American Dream (Every house with my address Douglas and Pottawattamie County) 34 x 16 inches, Archival Digital Print. 2010.

Between 2006 and 2009 I worked in philanthropy as a grant maker. My title was Fellow and my work was varied and diverse. My tasks ranged from providing behind the scenes support for a multi-million dollar public art program to trying to identify and guide resources to the root of poverty within the community. Grant making is a very strange profession. The work juxtaposes the worlds of extreme wealth and extreme need in some of the most beautiful and most disturbing ways. This three years of my life was a very enriching and life changing experience for me.

Municipal Experiments developed during this period of time. The crash, the housing crisis and my work in philanthropy led my studio practice to become obsessed with the notion of ownership and the realities and illusions around those who are “landed” and those who are not.

This led to my personal contemplation of my own ownership of “land” throughout my lifetime.

Municipal Experiments is a comparative analysis of “My American Dream”.  Each piece is a collective reflection of the numeric locale of my first “owned” home and its street number 2415,  in communities across the state of Iowa.

How do we understand a sense of place? What defines home, locale, community? Growing up I attended more than a half dozen elementary schools before fourth grade.  I literally have no solid memory of a specific “home” before the age of 9.  Home ownership had always been reserved for a certain class of individuals that I had grown up thinking I was not a part of.  As an adult when my husband and I were able to contemplate buying a home, it was a pivotal shift in my reality.

This body of work is my way of contemplating the visual identity of home in relation to my own experience of home ownership in the late twentieth and early twenty first century in the context of Iowa.  Each piece has an abstract and yet intimately personal relationship to my own experience of home ownership. Creating these pieces, though they are clean and unemotional in their construction, was a deeply personal journey.

A Solo Exhibition of this body of work exhibited at Farnham Galleries, Simpson College, 2011.