Exhibition / Artist Talk / Workshop

Produced by Autumn Rozario Hall.
Completed Summer 2020.

Mother Oak by Autumn Rozario Hall

My grant project for Iowa BeWild Rewild focused on the idea of what rewilding looked like on a personal level.

I created a series of mixed media paintings for an art show inviting others into the rewilding conversation. The show was held at the Waukee Public Library during March 2020. I prepared for the show the previous fall and winter. Here is my artist statement about the series titled Of Roots and Wildness.

Of Roots and Wildness ~ Artist Statement

I’ve been collecting bark, and leaves, and bottles. Old pop cans, and crumbling paper bags. Did you know Pabst beer is a favorite of the woods? Cardboard coffee cozies a close second? And that the most trash can be found along deer trails that diverge off of those concrete paths that cities insist on putting into wooded parks and preserves? Our forests are full of trash. And a few hikes spent picking up with my family are not going to fix that.

In preparation for these paintings, I visited over five Des Moines area parks and forests. From the Bill Riley trail near Walnut creek to Yellow Banks River park.  The idea was to re-immerse in nature. The seeds, leaves, bark, and discarded trash I gathered, were then used to create the paintings, grounding the project in Iowa forest and prairie. A tangible connection to our local land. At its heart, this art is about connection.

My hope is for you to find a moment in one of these paintings that calls to you. Maybe it’s the ground squirrel nesting under the oak roots. Maybe it’s the hint of a bumblebee or a certain smudge of paint. I want to inspire you to trust nature. To reconnect with nature. And I want you to grow. 

Seed Starting and Planting Workshop

The second part of my grant project focused on a prairie seed starting workshop. I paired series of paintings with the seed starting workshop to introduce others to gardening for wildlife with native plants. The workshop was held at the Waukee public library alongside the artwork and was attended by 28 participants. I worked with Connie Johnson, of Nine Square Feet, a gardening non-profit, to put on the workshop. Attendees took home a trey of started seeds, seed packets, and resources to learn more.

A second art show and gardening workshop were scheduled for May 2020 at Reiman Garden’s, The in-person event was canceled due to COVID-19. I found myself with a bunch of native prairie plants, seeds, and gardening supplies, so I moved the event online. Participants picked up pre-planned gardening packs with what they needed to get started and I hosted an online workshop sharing the art and how –to’s of gardening for wildlife.

I hope to continue to share in the rewilding conversation and invite others into the conversation.

I am sincerely thankful for this opportunity and what I was able to do with the project.

~Autumn Rozario Hall