Summer Sessions: Natural Resources
The term “commonwealth” originated in 16th c. England to describe the natural resources that were shared by a community such as water, public lands, or air. Natural resources offer a starting point to think about what is shared by the commons and for the common good.
Who should own natural resources? Should nature be considered a resource to feed or fuel a public, or should it be honored on its own terms? What are responsible and just models to connect ecology with community? What could we learn by thinking about natural resources in relation to common wealth and common debts? How are these issues being explored by artists, designers, activists, and local organizations?
Facilitator: Duron Chavis (Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond)
Session partners include Heather Davis (New School, New York), Janine Bell (Elegba Folklore Society, Richmond), Bill Martin (The Valentine, Richmond), Daniel McGarvey (VCU Center for Environmental Studies), and Andrew Alli (Friends of the James River Park).
Wednesday, June 19 // Social Session, 6–8 pm
Open to the Public
Each Social Session is both a gathering and introduction to the week’s themes, bringing together Session partners, community members, and the public around music, wine, and common interests. Make connections and enjoy the Summer Sessions space. Live DJ, hands-on activities, and cash bar. Brief remarks at 6:30 pm.
Saturday, June 22 // Program Session
Open to the Public
Program Sessions invite us to go deeper into each week’s topic through a mix of discussion and experience, and to reflect together about what to carry forward.
1 | Welcome
Duron Chavis and Noah Simblist
1:15–2:15 | Talk
Heather Davis, Assistant Professor of Media and Culture at Eugene Lang College, The New School (New York) speaks on the intersection of art, politics, and ecology.
2:30–3:30 | Breakout Sessions
Rotating small group conversations with local experts including Janine Bell, Elegba Folklore Society; Bill Martin, The Valentine; Daniel McGarvey, VCU Center for Environmental Studies; and Andrew Alli (Friends of the James River Park).
3:45–4:15 | Reflection
What should we carry forward from this Session? We will reflect, discuss, and take notes on the gallery walls.
4:30–5:30 | WRIR “Local Voices Live”
Reflecting on “natural resources” with leaders of this week’s Session. Moderated by Whitney Whiting, host of WRIR’s “End of the Line.”
Ongoing video screening: Carolina Caycedo: A Gente Rio
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, RichmondDuron Chavis is an activist and urban gardener who currently serves as the Manager of Community Engagement at The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. While working at The Black History Museum, he founded Happily Natural Day, a festival focused on natural hair, holistic health, and black awareness, now in its 15th year. In 2009, he started the Richmond Noir Market, a farmer’s market targeting food deserts in low-income communities. His work currently focuses on addressing topics of urban agriculture and local food systems in an innovative and culturally relevant way. As part of “Summer Sessions” at the ICA, he will be hosting weekly activities around the themes of Natural Resources (June 18-June 23) and Built Environment (June 25-30).
duronchavis.com // duronchavis
New School, New YorkHeather Davis is an assistant professor of Culture and Media at Eugene Lang College, The New School, in New York. She completed her Ph.D. in Communication Studies at Concordia University in 2011 on the political potential of community-based art. She has written about the intersection of art, politics, and ecology for numerous art and academic publications and lectured internationally, including at MoMA (New York), HKW (Berlin), the National Gallery of Canada, Yinchuan Biennale, and the Sonic Acts Academy (Amsterdam). She is the co-editor of Art in the Anthropocene, a book published in 2015 that explores contemporary art in an era of ecological crisis. Her current book project examines our dependency on oil, and how plastic shapes our everyday lives. www.heathermdavis.com
Elegba Folklore SocietyThe founder and president of Elegba Folklore Society, Janine Bell is an artist, producer, arts administrator, and cultural historian. From its downtown Richmond, Virginia cultural center, the Society makes an educational, social, economic and spiritual impact. Bell produces the Society’s annual events including Juneteenth: A Freedom Celebration, The Down Home Family Reunion, and The Capital City Kwanzaa Festival. Elegba Folklore Society also offers performances of African dance, music and theatre, engagement in the visual arts, and a menu of cultural history tours including In the Beginning... Virginia, Along the Trail of Enslaved Africans for which Ms. Bell provides artistic direction, performance, and interpretation. Ms. Bell holds a degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a recipient of UNC’s Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumna Award, the Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts, the Belle Women in the Arts Award, and the 2019 Richmond History Maker Award. efsinc.org/
The Valentine, RichmondWilliam “Bill” Martin, director of the Valentine, leads over 50 museum staff members in telling the story of Richmond lifestyle and culture. For more than 20 years, Martin has diversified the Valentine’s programming, expanded Richmond walking tours and group tours, and worked collaboratively in the community to promote city tourism initiatives. Martin holds a B.A. in Urban Studies and an M.A. in Public Administration from Virginia Tech. Following years of experience directing museums in Georgia, Florida, and Virginia, he joined the then-Valentine Museum in 1993 as Director of Marketing and Public Relations. Under his leadership, the institution has expanded civic involvement, developed more than 300 themed tours and raised millions for capital improvements, renovated historic structures and expanded programming.
VCU Center for Envrionmental StudiesDaniel McGarvey is an associate professor and the graduate program director at the Center for Environmental Studies at VCU. He holds a BA in Biology and Geology from Wittenberg University, an MS in Fisheries Science from Pennsylvania State University, and a PhD in Biology from the University of Alabama. He joined the Center for Environmental Studies in 2011, after several years working as an environmental modeler at the US Environmental Protection Agency and a course instructor at the University of Georgia and Oregon State University. In the past, he also worked as a stream ecologist for the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement and as a fisheries consultant for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. His research focuses on a broad range of topics, including stream ecology, fisheries science, community and ecosystem ecology, biogeography, macroecology and ecological modelling. He is deeply concerned by the rise of anti-intellectual culture in America and hopes that by changing the way young scientists think about the presentation and communication of their work, public trust in science can be preserved.
Friends of the James River ParkAndrew Alli is a 31 year old Richmond native. After graduating from the Environmental Studies program at VCU, Andrew has been involved with the local outdoor community in many different forms. He spent time working as the Food Garden Coordinator for the Fulton Hill Community Center as well as with the local company, Backyard Farmer. Andrew began working for Public Parks 6 years ago at Powhatan State Park. He currently works as the Trails Technician for James River Park. Andrew is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys mountain biking, backpacking, and trails running. He has been a proponent for the preservation and sustainable development of Richmond's public trails. When he is not working, you can find him playing blues harmonica around town with his duo partner Josh Small. Andrew and Josh played as one of the acts for the grand opening of the ICA.
WRIRWhitney Whiting is a long time activist and the host and producer of WRIR’s “End of the Line”, a program that follows the developing story of two proposed pipelines in Virginia. Featuring the voices of those directly affected by the proposed infrastructure, this ongoing series touches on issues such as eminent domain, energy policy, industry influence on politics, and environmental impacts.
End of the Line: The Ongoing Saga of Pipelines in Virginia, 1st and 3rd Fridays at 11:00 AM on WRIR-LP 97.3 FM