This project will create Spark Farm Park (with sculpture), a joint sculpture park and urban farming experience. Utilizing a vacant, tree-canopied lot across from Firehouse Studios in Saint Joseph, Missouri, Json Myers and Megan Gallant are creating a community park that provides an opportunity to experience natural beauty, the richness of local organic food practices, and human creativity, incorporating sculpture, site-specific art, and innovative farming/gardening techniques.
Spark Farm Park (with sculpture) will celebrate the beauty of both natural form and function. Using permaculture principles, the artist team will create a sculpture park and garden that is edible and sustainable—a highly functioning park. Visitors to Spark will be able to harvest food and enjoy the artistic contributions from regional and local artists that Myers and Gallant will invite to contribute. In the spirit of creating a truly community-based collaboration, the artists will also encourage anyone who wishes to add a respectful artistic contribution to the garden to do so.
The lot that will become Spark Farm Park (with sculpture) is located in the historic Harris-Kemper neighborhood. Time and poverty have made a mark there, and the neighborhood is occupied largely by low-income families, and rundown homes. Despite this lack of resources, the neighborhood is rich with life, and an abundance of foot traffic. Many of the people of the neighborhood have never been to an art museum and have no relationship with where their food comes from. Spark will provide an oasis where all these things come together.
The artist team says: says: “Firehouse Studios believes in the profound relationship between humankind and nature. Two of the most compelling ways for people to experience this relationship is through nature’s beauty (flora/fauna) and nature’s bounty (food). By placing art, nature, and food in the same context their relationship becomes clearer. Firehouse Studios has stood as a beacon of creative living in our neighborhood for years. Spark is the natural next evolutionary step.”
About the artists:
A graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, with a B.F.A. in Sculpture, Json Myers has been a regular contributor to the local art community, and has work included in museum and private collections. Json has been an Avenue of the Arts Recipient, has exhibited with Art Detour, Lee’s Summit, MO, and is a regular contributor to Art Inside the Park, Jefferson City, MO. He has held a position installing art works at the Kemper Museum, KCMO, since its inception, including responsibility for everything from pad design, to engineering the installation.
In 2002 Myers purchased a neglected firehouse in St. Joseph, MO, and began rehabbing what was little more than a sturdy brick shell into art studios and workshop space. Two years later Megan Gallant joined him, and together they have created Firehouse Studios, a live/work space from which they operate.
A few years ago Myers began having health issues related to food, and this initiated a total shift in his perspective on his relationship to food and food production. He started re-evaluating everything from water quality and usage, to the building materials we are surrounded by day-to-day. He began to use his artistic platform and sensibilities to address these issues, creating grass plots in galleries and water purification sculptures.
In the fall of 2011 Myers was certified in Permaculture and Superadobe Building at CalEarth in Hesperia, CA. This experience allowed him to see all of his interests come together -from sustainable, creative living, to his passion for kinetics and systems. This education has set Myers on a path to achieve, and be an example of, creative, sustainable, local living, in tune with the natural world around him, while balancing the technologies of the 21st century.
Myers was a panelist at the Middle of the Map Forum on the topic of Urban Something, Agriculture, in KCMO in spring 2012. He will also attend the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Sheraton, WY, in October 2012.
Megan Gallant graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute with a B.F.A. in Sculpture. She is a believer in the power of art practices to transform individuals and community. She has been a volunteer teacher, and later Vice-President of the board, with Arts in Prison. On a trip to India in 2009, she orchestrated a drawing workshop and exchange between the Niles Home for Children in KCMO and boys and girls orphanages in Trivandrum, India. This experience inspired her to create similar connections in her home community of St Joseph, MO.
Gallant will attend the Jentel Artist Residency in WY, in August 2012.