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Environmentalists, artists converge for ‘Rooted in Soil’ free events at the DePaul Art Museum

Artist Julia Goodman
Artist Julia Goodman prepares to hang her work from “The Root of Scarcity” series, featuring sliced and dried beets, as part of the “Rooted in Soil” exhibition at the DePaul Art Museum. The exhibition runs through April 26, 2015. (Photo by Jamie Moncrief)
CHICAGO — Farmers, musicians, ecologists, photographers and artists will gather at the DePaul Art Museum in coming months to discuss environmental issues during the “Rooted in Soil” exhibition, which examines the human connection to soil. Events are free and open to the public and will be held at the museum.


Good Soil and Rooting: A Conversation with Two Farmers and an Artist
Feb. 18, 6-8 p.m.
In 2014, artist Julia Goodman visited Angelic Organics, a 24-year-old community-supported agriculture farm in Caledonia, Illinois, to learn more about biodynamic farming and to dive deeper into her work with beet papyrus. Inspired by her time there with farmers John Peterson and Andrew Stewart, Goodman gleaned beets from their fields and created new work for “Rooted in Soil.” The three will discuss the principles of biodynamic farming, the phases of the moon, and the satisfaction of good dirt and rounded corners.

A Night of Chicago Wildsounds
March 5, 6-8 p.m.
An evening of poetry, discussions and music will be hosted by Chicago Wildsounds, a DePaul University student group working under the direction of ecologist and professor Liam Heneghan. The group focuses on conserving soundscapes heard throughout Chicago, with a mission to spread awareness about sound and how it functions in an urban setting, particularly its interaction with nature. Chicago Wildsounds’ installation “Rooted in Sound” will be on view in the adjoining gallery.

Fungi for Fungi
Artist and activist Jenny Kendler arranges “Fungi for Fungi” as part of the “Rooted in Soil” exhibition at the DePaul Art Museum. Kendler is artist-in-residence with the National Resource Defense Council and will bring her performance, “Milkweed Dispersal Balloons,” to the museum for its Chicago debut. (Photo by Jamie Moncrief)
Soil Matters: a Conversation on Art and Science
April 8, 6-8 p.m.
Claire Pentecost built an apothecary-like room for the “Rooted in Soil” exhibition at the DePaul Art Museum, complete with tinctures of soil to smell and explore. Pentecost is a Chicago-based artist, writer and professor of photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and will be joined by Liam Heneghan, professor of Environmental Science and Studies at DePaul University. Bringing their perspectives on art and science, Pentecost and Heneghan will discuss soil as the source of ecological diversity and its importance in maintaining an environment that sustains life.

Jenny Kendler Presents 'Milkweed Dispersal Balloons'
April 11; performance 1-3 p.m.; lecture 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Jenny Kendler, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) artist-in-residence, will present the Chicago debut of her performance, “Milkweed Dispersal Balloons.” About 970 million monarch butterflies have vanished since 1990, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, due in great part to the elimination of the species’ main food, milkweed. In an effort to support the growth of the plant, Kendler will bring a butterfly food cart to the museum, dispensing milkweed seeds that will grow into plants that feed monarch butterflies.

Our Bodies, Our Soils
Claire Pentecost's art installation at the DePaul Art Museum, “Our Bodies, Our Soils,” is designed like an old apothecary, allowing visitors to smell tinctures of soil from different places. The "Rooted in Soil" exhibition at the DePaul Art Museum runs through April 26, 2015. (Photo by Jamie Moncrief)
Kendler will distribute biodegradable balloons filled with the floating cloud-like seeds to individuals passing by. Participants in the project are asked to become the agents of seed dispersal by popping the balloons, thereby planting seeds in their neighborhoods.

Following the performance, join Kendler, NRDC senior attorney Rebecca Riley, and NRDC manager of art partnerships Elizabeth Corr for a discussion and Q&A examining the relationship between the decline of monarch butterflies and pesticide use, as well as the role that artists play in amplifying environmental messages and promoting biodiversity.

The “Rooted in Soil” exhibition closes April 26. The DePaul Art Museum at 935 W. Fullerton, just east of the CTA’s Fullerton ‘L’ stop, is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information, call 773-325-7506 or visit


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