Small School Workshop: Travis Neel

Small School Workshop: Travis Neel

Decentering the Human

How can we develop an arts practice that contributes to the mutual flourishing of both the human and more-than-human?

Using plant-based artistic practices as a point of departure, we will critically analyze the relationship of plants and people. In doing so, we will explore how art, scientific materialism and traditional ecological knowledge frame our understanding of nature. This workshop will help you understand the connections between the social, ecological and cultural issues in your creative practice.

4-530pm Friday, December 8 at Lump

Erin Charpentier and Travis Neel work at the intersection of socially engaged art and urban ecology. Collaboratively they utilize art as a framework to understand the keystone role that humans play in our landscapes.

Currently, their work centers the Honey Mesquite—the charismatic, thorny and creative protagonist of the Llano Estacado’s ecological theater. In an attempt to understand the Honey Mesquite, they have become enmeshed in a symbiotic association with other artists, landscape architects, neighbors, Chihuahuan desert and Short Grass prairie plant communities, ranchers, arborists, insects, bacteria, rainwater, mycorrhiza, the City of Lubbock, predictive climate mapping, and students at Texas Tech University. Together, this community of actors have manifested the Mesquite Mile, a project that works to demonstrate how human communities and culture can be good kin with nature in the urban core of Lubbock, TX.

The Mesquite Mile has been described as many things: an urban afforestation project, a prairie restoration project, and a study in child-friendly urban design. For Erin and Travis, the Mesquite Mile models how human culture can contribute to the mutual flourishing of both humans and the more-than-human.

Erin and Travis both hold a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and an MFA in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University. Their collaborative work has been supported and recognized by art museums and cultural organizations including the Mid-America Arts Alliance’s Interchange Artists Fellowship program, Headlands Center For The Arts, Southwest Contemporary, The British Cultural Council, Stoveworks Artist Residency, The Tallgrass Artist Residency, the Brooklyn Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Temple Contemporary, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, the RedLine Contemporary Art Center, and numerous DIY art spaces across the United States and Canada.

Small School and Lump are partners on this and many other events.