DENVER – FEMA and the RedLine Contemporary Art Center have selected a proposal from artist Matt Barton as part of a project to raise risk awareness and promote disaster risk reduction activities through art. This will be the first work created under the innovative public-private partnership.
“Natural disasters take a toll across the country every day,” said FEMA Region 8 Mitigation Director Jeanine Petterson. “Using the power of art, we can bridge barriers and connect with communities in new ways to create a shared experience and inspire actions that make our communities safer.”
FEMA Region 8, based in Denver, contributed $34,000 for the initial Arts in Mitigation Fund. In collaboration with RedLine, artists were invited to submit proposals that communicated our relationships with natural hazards, along with potential impacts across all segments of the community. The intended outcome was to inspire thought on how individuals can mitigate risk. The selected project will be led by Black Cube Nomadic Museum in partnership with artist Matt Barton in collaboration with The Birdseed Collective.
“Through this unique partnership, RedLine is thrilled to support our local Denver communities in understanding how preparedness to a natural disaster is essential,” said Robin Gallite, Redline Deputy Director. “We believe that social change (big and small) is possible when artists engage in and with local communities around a social issue.”
Barton, Black Cube’s 2021 Artist Fellow, proposed an outdoor sculptural installation titled Community Forms. This concrete earthwork is designed for flood areas located within the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods north of Denver. This sculptural art intervention functions as both a visually compelling community space and an infrastructural support system that helps model stormwater mitigation. Barton’s sculpture will produce an inviting gathering place for recreation and creative play, while serving a utilitarian purpose.
Inspired by creative problem solving, urban landscape, architecture, and the movement water, "Community Forms" seeks to inspire and fortify the city by acting as a model for future integration between infrastructure and community engagement. The Birdseed Collective is an integral part in the connectivity of the project to the surrounding community and will participate as community liaison for the project through its completion.