Imagining Art

Last year, Berkeley Public Library joined Link+, a union catalog of several California and Nevada libraries. Items may be borrowed from the participating libraries at no cost (as compared to most interlibrary loan systems, which charge a fee). I have been checking out all sorts of books that I have been wanting to look at but that are not available at the Berkeley library (most often books from academic presses or more suitable for college libraries). Recently, I checked out and read the double book Belltown Paradise/Making Their Own Plans. Both books look at community activism efforts, the first in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle and the other in various communities around the world. Lots of interesting ideas in both books, but some of the most intriguing to me came from artist Buster Simpson. The projects section of Simpson’s website includes photos of many of the projects, including one of my favorites: tree guards fashioned from crutches and from bedframes. This book reminded me to keep looking, to look just a little harder at what is around me when I am out there walking. A few months ago I was drawn to this crutch leaning up against a tree by the curb. I liked the lines of the crutch next to the tree trunk, and I liked the idea that the crutch was there for someone else to use (being the kind of thing that many people only need for a couple of months while healing from an injury), but I did think of the possibilities of the crutch being used for the trees themselves. In any case, I definitely recommend the book to walkers, artists, and anyone interested in community garden and art projects.

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