Indigo Arts Alliance, Botanical Gardens partner on summer symposium

Sun, 06/04/2023 - 10:15am

    On Saturday, July 22, Indigo Arts Alliance (IAA) and Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (CMBG) will present “Deconstructing the Boundaries: A Future of Land and Food Resilience,” the first symposium in a multi-year collaboration between the two organizations. Indigo Arts Alliance assembled a curated panel of thought leaders and workshop presenters to discuss how Black and Brown communities have always held spiritual, traditional, and cultural relationships to the land. Conversations, demonstrations, and interactive workshops will present experiences from multidisciplinary artists, cultural workers, and members of the local, national, and global community.

    In its second year, the collaboration will include a public art installation that will serve as the focal point for workshops and talks on core program themes: Planting Seeds - Black and Brown Communities in the Garden; Taking Action - Environmental Justice in Black and Brown Communities; and Remaining Rooted - Centering Black and Brown Relationships with the Land. Through this symposium we hope to explore and address these three key questions:

    1. How do we evolve our personal, communal, and institutional relationships with land ownership and stewardship?

    2. How do we address and heal the deep distrust that has taken root in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities?

    3. How do we acknowledge and appreciate the ways in which African, Brown, and Indigenous cultural and social systems, as well as spirituality exist outside of settler colonial paradigms?

    CMBG will serve as the host, venue, and recipient of the public art installation created as a component of this collaboration. IAA will serve as the program producers of the symposium, which will engage issues of food, environmental, and climate justice.

    “We feel honored to be hosting and co-creating such meaningful work,” says Gretchen Ostherr, Gardens president and CEO. “This collaboration has arisen out of two years of dialogue together, which grew from our expanding commitment to foster racial equity within our organization and create belonging for Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.”

    “IAA’s approach deeply embodies inclusion by challenging dominant narratives in a range of cultural spaces,” Ostherr continues. “We hope that this journey will support the Gardens in becoming a more inclusive and equitable organization that better reflects and serves our whole community, part of a network of organizations creating spaces, pathways, and opportunities for structural change.”

    “At Indigo Arts Alliance we pride ourselves on being an organization that is based in Maine and centers the brilliance of Black and Brown artists across the global diaspora. We only affiliate our mission with organizations and businesses that share our values in empowering artists of color and thus transforming a community. The team at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are making a true effort to use their resources and networks to better our communities. Working side by side with an eager team who carefully considers and allows our insight to inform the direction of social justice work through the arts on the grounds of the Gardens. We are honored to conceive this project with a partner like CMBG as we center black and brown histories and relations to the land; it is transformative work. We eagerly await the public to participate in the symposium; a project created out of the love our communities,” Jordia Benjamin, Indigo Arts Alliance Deputy Director.

    This summer’s free symposium will take place at the Gardens on Saturday, July 22, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Those interested in attending should register in advance with Indigo Arts Alliance at