Projects, writing, and other work led by the CAIR Lab team.
Bee Real Bee Everywhere,
Bee Real Bee Everywhere is a pollinator skyrise for pollinators in our urban core. The sculpture is built as a research project to house pollinators who have been evicted as our natural world becomes more and more manicured. It stands as a reminder of how we need to think about all living creatures in urban design.
A New Tool to Advance Equity: Artists in Residence in Government
Mallory Rukhsana Nezam and Johanna K. Taylor, ICMA, Local Government Review, 2021
Future Forest, Amanda Lovelee
The Future Forest was the welcoming committee to the Regional Parks System out in the middle of a frozen lake as part of the Art Shanty Project. Participants wrote a love letter to their favorite regional park and every five love letters written; we planted a tree. The 4000 love letters were used as a data set to then change policy for regional parks.
AIRG in action: Pop Up Meeting
Pop Up Meeting seeks to increase diverse participation in Saint Paul’s civic process. From an artistically retrofitted city truck, Pop Up Meeting dynamically unfolds as St. Paul’s front porch to engage communities with popsicles in exchange for thoughts.
Mallory Rukhsana Nezam
The Mirror Casket project is a sculpture, performance, and visual call to action designed and orchestrated by a collaborative of St. Louis community artists in response to the shooting death of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, MO. It is currently in collections at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.
International Pillow Fight Day, Mallory Rukhsana Nezam
One of the 60+ public play interventions hosted by STL Improv Anywhere, founded by Mallory Rukhsana Nezam, that brought strangers together to create bonds by disarming social barricades using interactive play and absurdity.
Urban Flower Field, Amanda Lovelee
Urban Flower Field is a cross pollination between art, the civic process, a community, and science. Designed in reference to the Fibonacci sequence, there are 96 plots of bio diverse flowers performing soil remediation. In collaboration with the University of St Thomas science department I tested the soil and published a report along with hosting gatherings and conversations around the future of the space.
Mallory Rukhsana Nezam
#ChalkedUnarmed is a performance and guerrilla art project that raises awareness about the pattern of extra-judicial killings of unarmed citizens of color by the police in the United States. Following the shooting death of Michael Brown, a collective of St. Louis artists compiled a list of people of color who had been killed unarmed by police, chalking their bodies along sidewalks and streets. Alongside the chalked bodies, the name, date, and location of each murder is written with the hashtag #ChalkedUnarmed. The public placement of the chalkings serve to educate passerby, disrupt complacency and ignorance around this issue, and honor the lives lost. As the project received national attention for its ability to galvanize awareness and incite dialogue, it spread beyond St. Louis and exists as a viral social art project nationwide.
Friendship Forest, Amanda Lovelee
Friendship Forest is about caring for our city, caring for each other and breaking down barriers by uniting residents in the act of growing happiness through planting 180 trees in one day and tracking those trees for their lifetime.
Artist Residencies in Municipal Government, Johanna K. Taylor (Panelist), Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, 2020
How can artists help solve complex social and political problems? One model that’s growing in popularity is to place artists in residence in government agencies. This webinar brings together experts who have looked at this model from different perspectives—government, nonprofits, academics, and artists—to discuss the possibilities and challenges of artist residencies in local government.
Detours, Amanda Lovelee
Detours was a project that turned a highway reconstruction into a conversation. It began by interviewing village residents about detours in their lives and turned their stories into a playful scavenger hunt of signage that reframed the construction as an exploration of unexpected life shifts. Detour signs sharing personal life stories were installed throughout the Grand Marais. With artist collaboration, this infrastructure project became an opportunity to turn road detour signs into messages of community joy.