Sunday, August 23, 2009

SCEE Philadelphia MORE PICKS


The interior of the Studio cum Shed at SCEE Philadelphia this past week , more pix to show of this project .

The window installed at the Old Main Circle on campus at SUNY New Paltz , last month .

The first install of the habitat studio at Solar 1 , the "Hidden Drive "sign was stolen 2 days later !


Changing the Habitat Booth at Solar 1 , to a working wall for Todd B to use this week , 8/17/09

An early stage in the Habitat studio/shed at Common Ground CSA at Stony Kill NY

Habitat Studios Update AUGUST 23rd 2009

I just wanted to get some of the latest pictures up on the blog as I have been promising for some time and have been unable to get time to sort and file. Well now I have and here they are . Just a brief re-cap . I was recently in the City (NYC) and the artist, Todd Betterly has started there at the Solar 1 Habitat studio at E 23rd St and East River. We , Todd S and I were in Philly at the studio at SCEE this past Wednesday and I was in New Paltz to meet with a new resident artist

Chris Brandon , a writer , who will be starting at HHS , August 30th , this past Tuesday . Ustya is going to be extending her time at the invitation of the folks at HHS (Huguenot Historical Street). I hear that Patti Nelson has found her "pipe" and has been reconstructing the habitat studio on campus. Ayesha is back on Main and painting up a storm , she also has HFA T-shirts !! (nudge !).

A MIX OF PIX .......... above is Molly Rausch at her Lost and Found Booth on Main St New Paltz

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I have to say , and Todd will attest to this , I was a little nervous about what to expect. When you go away for a week on vacation you 're a bit unsure as to how much or how little , rain has fallen or things have grown (especially weeds) . SO here we are gardening from afar with reports from the center as to watering and weeding , but I had no sense of how well the plants were doing . Especially with the recent blight in our region with Tomatoes devastated .... 

We had also alloted to grow in the fresh tilled soil and add some composted material , but hadn't established a feeding regime . The other gardens at the center had been built up or grown in raised beds . And used fresh organic soil from else where ,...  

So we arrived at The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education on a hot ,sunny day yesterday around 11 30 ish . On first glance there was this over riding sense of things gone hay wire . The growth in that area can be staggering and the heat sometimes has a tropical feel to it.
As we entered the compound , the deer fenced area of allotments the various lots started to show signs of doing well . The tomatoes were bearing fruit , the melon plants although small were in blossom and looking healthy , and we had a few cukes in one garden .The runner beans weren't as tall as wished for but there were flowers coming in . So all in all not an August garden, but has promise to bear fruit soon ....

After a hour of weeding each lot, things were looking a lot better and when each was watered they decidedly sparkled.    We then started to apply some of the new tiles to the habitat studio 
which had been done by a group of children from the center's summer camp and by an adult education program near the center. We also bought material from the Main Street Habitat in New Paltz which had been painted by Todds SUNY painting class , earlier his year .

We were fortunate in between all this activity to have a visit and interview from Philadelphia columnist , Bruce Schimmel . Bruce writes for the City Paper and covers many aspects of Phillys art and cultural events , especially of a "green" nature ! After a little bit of a rusty start we got the interview going in which Bruce recorded a varied sound interview with me describing the project with all its various connections and relationships . 

After getting a new reclaimed window in the one west side we cleaned up , having taken Tim and Devin's cue of painting your sheds brightly !! Tim and Devin are the Common Ground CSA farmers at Stonykill NY . A few more photos and back on the bus ,.... I mean pick up 
loaded and hope nothing spills (  I always have an assortment of paint cans and open boxes of screws after an install , you never know what you might use !!) 

Photos to follow.   I 'd like to thank all the staff at the center who have organized the various teen volunteers , especially Zoe Cohen and Mary Salvante . In fact we met Kim our next water volunteer before leaving who'll be watering Mondays ....   Many thanks .

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Huguenot Habitat Studio New Paltz NY

Here is the habitat studio at Huguenot Street , New Paltz , nestled in the cedar grove which has not only helped in the heat , but provided an extra layer of protection from the many summer rain storms . This has appealed to the artists who wanted a quieter residence for their 3 week working stint. There has been a great rapport with the artists who have been here this season and the various staff who run the HHS . Historical Huguenot Street not society ! Those directly involved PJ , Richard and Shari . Many Thanks !!

The Habitat Studio in Philadelphia

This is the Habitat Studio in Philadelphia at The Schuykill Center (for Environmental Education)or SCEE. This was earlier in the year before our summer of torrential rains and the North east
Potato / Tomato Blight.

This particular habitat studio was sponsored by the center and curated by Amy Lipton of ecoartspace NY for the show "DOWN TO EARTH" , Artists Create Edible Landscapes. This was the precursor to our getting involved with Tim and Devin at Common Grounds CSA at Stonykill NY (near Beacon) .

Behind it it was what we referred to as the Cabana , which was a covered outdoor area which we could use for classes and prepping plants , seed trays or as a prep area for out door cooking .

One Pick up , One habitat Studio

The Basic elements fit on to the back of my Tacoma p/u Truck . I've made a couple of bed attachments to "float " larger sections on and can attach by screwing down with Stimson framing hard ware . This allows quite a bit of mobility and cuts down on hand hauling. The pick up truck is the ultimate wheel barrow . I am patiently waiting for the Tacoma to have a turbo diesel model so I can use bio diesel fuel. That or they go hybrid ??

The Basic Structure

Here you can see the floor attached to frame , with the 4 corner "columns " or posts with the 71 "
Rails attached horizontally ( 1 by 4 s) elements in photo above, running left to right at 32" on center. The ends are framed out to produce an opening 48 by 82 high ,with a header box frame.

Habitat Studios 2009

I thought it might be good to recap on how the habitat studios work this year.

In New Paltz we gained Village Board approval to put them at various sites in the village.There were limited zoning issues as they are classed as temporary structures. We recommended a 2 by 6 crib frame that was affixed to the ground with rebar or lag bolts , depending on field conditions.

Here Ryan Cronin and I attach the 2 by 4 floor frame to the 2by 6 crib frame which was partially dug in and levelled , then pinned to the ground with re-bar.


I was just visiting Tim and Devin , the farmers at the Common Ground CSA at Stonykill near Beacon yesterday to see how things were going. Many of you may have seen the NY Times article recently "You say Tomato , I say Agricultural Disaster ".

They with countless other organic farmers have seen the loss of their Tomato crop due to the blight helped along by the wet un typical Summer weather we've been having. It appears the fungus is also a threat to their potatoes , and is the same fungal disease that caused the Potato Famine in Ireland in the mid 19th Century.

Where a field of tomatoes or another crop has to be ripped out and destroyed as their is NO organic solution to the disease you suddenly see the reality of making a choice to grow or buy organic produce . It 's been a veritable topic of conversation as to the unseasonal amount of rain there has been and how for many they've had a great summer as they work outside and the temperatures and humidity have been lower. BUT if you were also wanting a good local organic salad with some fresh tomatoes ,.... you'll be having to pay more for them now . Or they are not available when you go to pick up your share at the local CSA .

On the other hand the Greens , the kales and similar plants have been loving the alternate weather this summer. So you adapt ,..... but these are the hard choices when you opt for a less toxic form of produce . And most organic farmers know this , and that's part of the realities of a principled decision to grow with out the array of pesticides, fungicides and petro fertilizers .

Unfortunately the blight wasn't helped by the effects of the large agro-business entities who compounded the situation by allowing thousands of tomato plants on to the market which were contaminated back in April. The usual box stores , that require excessive numbers to ensure low prices every day , had a part to play in this frustrating situation.

Despite this underminded blow to their efforts ,Tim and Devin have continued to work hard on ensuring that other crops made the farm stand. When I was there chatting in the field Tim , Kim and Devin were digging up some handsome carrots . And in a creative outburst this past weekend they've managed to bring some vibrant color to the various structures around the yard

There was the most brightly painted Hen house in the field I have ever seen . So despite the realities and consequences of a crop lost , the team at Common Ground found that something sunny can come in a different form. The reality of art and agri-Culture was met in this wonderful creative act. I shall be finding more time to continue working on the habitat studio there,inspired by this healing activity , this week.

I think there is a wonderful lesson here and also a strong argument of how different worlds can impact each other , the one detrimentally the other rejuvenative , healing some times in the face of adversity . These are the choices we make , and how we make sense and learn from them not always coming with a price tag ,.... these are invaluable .

I 'm off to Philadelphia tomorrow to see how the gardens grow there . We will be putting more material up on the habitat studio and accessing the conditions of the various lots planted .
Talk soon , SD

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Well I'm having one of those days where I really feel I ought to be outside enjoying a day of hot sun sans rain showers . On the other hand there's all this other stuff that needs to be dealt with inside. So I am going to recommend , as much to myself as to you all out there in blogos-sphere to go out and enjoy the day and the SUN !!

Man , there are a ton of things going on today in the Valley . Garrison Art Center is having a craftcome tag sale 9 to 5 , Beacon is having a Foodie thing on behalf of BCC (Beacon Community Center ) called a Taste oF Beacon , hosted by the Piggy Bank. New Paltz is having its THIRD ART LOOP Saturday . Rosendale is have their continuing PUPPET SLAM at the Black bird Theater., this afternoon. And you need only drive around in your NEW high mpg vehicle you've just bought with the CLUNKER turn in programme , to see a dozen more events this weekend .

And for those bargain shoppers there are a number of TAG sales occurring withthe fine weather.

What is it now ? Two weeks before SCHOOL starts ? Labor Day is the weekend of the 6th .?

So before you all get semi-mental about the end of another summer , not that it really got started, get off the couch and go DO something . And why am I digressing on this tack of doing something ? Well , having these various projects around the place and having many a friend in another part of the valley or Hudson Valley Region , it amazes me how little folks know about what is going on , area to area . And , yes I am starting a sentence with this word , and how hard it is to find out about what is happening UNLESS you're in that small town or area .

And honestly I am not that interested in the local garage sales or fish bakes than the cultural events that occur with out due attention, most weekends up and down the Region , Lower Mid
or Central and in the nose bleed zone of Albany .PS Hudson turned around at just before what is the Albany area so officially I 'm stopping there too .Just FYI .

So over the next few weeks I 'm going to be chatting with alot of folks OUT THERE as to how to get to know what's going on and whose doing what , which art center is holding a this/that sale and what ( if any thing ) artists , poets , writers and other creative souls are thinking about .Even
discussing currently . Despite the economy folks up and down the valley almost beyond Albany are getting and doing creative things ! No matter if they can't sell those creations , they are still doing their thing !

Well I 've got to get going because one of my son's chickens has flown the coop and in case you're all wondering if my chickens have left their roosts , or words to that effect , NO ...just having some summer time fun . BUT I am serious as to improving the art dialog or encouraging it as I seem not always to be that serious in my method . So tune in or drop me a line or two at :

Love to hear about the proverbial chickens , but don't bother to tell me about the clambakes!
Thanks SD


This is how the habitat studio looked like earlier this year .

Fifteen students from SUNY Art Dept. with instructor Todd Sargood , installed 60 panels on the outside of the studio. Many of these are now at other habitat studio locations .

AYESHA IBRAHIM will be here from August 15 th onwards.

MOLLY RAUSCH ends Saturday 8/15 with her LOST & FOUND BOOTH

This is an early photograph of the habitat studio on campus .
Which has changed drastically since Ryan Cronin installed his
water collection system early this summer. Mercedes Cecilia
had some fun repainting some of the old habitat material during
her residency there .Now PATTI NELSON is about to effect some change. She will be there for 3 weeks from Friday August 14th.


This is an early photo of the studio at the Dorsky Museum .

Many people have been very bold in writing on it as to what

inspires them . Remember show ends SEPTEMBER 6TH .

Ustya Tarnawsky is currently in residence here , late into August
This is a wonderful spot on a sunny day ,very cool . Remember to bring a picnic as there are a number of wonderful tables close by .

Thursday, August 13, 2009


For those of you who missed that beacon on Main , just passed the other light on Main and 32 , Ayesha is back . So bring your best smile and choose a new work of hers. Those of you who might have lost more than a smile and would like a rendition of that missing item or even mood , Molly Rausch will be at Main St this Saturday to close her Lost and Found Booth . So final requests must be in by Saturday evening. 

For those of you who didn't get  a chance to SMILE and choose an artwork , Ayesha will be at the Main St Habitat Studio until the END of August. 

Patti Nelson is settling in at the Old Main Circle on the SUNY Campus. She will be there for a 3 week term. She is exploring aspects of Shelter . Found material that might be repurposed for a use that implies possible habitat. With in her exploration of taking the studio structure apart and reinventing it with other material she is examining our concepts about class , heirarchy
and  economics . An interesting project with regard to recent articles about Dharavi , Mumbai
slum , and their Gov't 's wish to go hi-rise and relocate as something "Modern and Progressive"

This also touched a chord with Mercedes Cecilia who was at the same studio . Growing up in Peru she commented that the habitat structures were similar to ones being lived in there. We 
forget that a vast amount of the earths population live in simple dwellings . For those interested in taking a side ways look at this topic I'd like to refer you to the Slumdwellers website. 

And not far removed from this topic is the site in NYC , which is wearing well but has definitely seen other uses . The lock had disappeared but there were no signs of other activity . There seems to be a tendency for the homeless in this area  to seek shelter with in the structures of the park near by. But issues of shelter are closer to home than we like to think about!

Todd Betterly will be taking up residency in the studio at 23rd St at SOLAR 1 this Monday August 17th . He'll be thinking up a variety of ways to engage with both passers by and with the structure itself. This will be new territory for him as he has been engaged in the applied arts and has a wish to return to a less commercial orientated creative process, after a time away.

Stay posted for his accounts and experiences at this Studio Habitat.

I'm going to try and get to some of those images that have been gathering electronic dust in the camera , so I hope to return with some new images of studios past but not forgotten.

Take care , and stay dry ( you forget it's August )    SD 


I was up in New Paltz yesterday seeing how the project was going.  Brian Wallace,the museum curator , reminded me that the current show "Ecotones and Transition Zones" at the Dorsky Museum at SUNY NP will be closing SEPTEMBER 6th .

A provocative show when juxtaposed to the many Hudson River painting shows going on up and down the valley ,( Hudson) ,  now celebrating a 400th anniversary of said explorer bumping up the river in 1609 . 

It stands out as it reflects the diversity of work being produced , conceptualized , created in the region now in a variety of medium. What many forget is that many works of the original school were produced in traditional studio practices not outdoors and usually back in NYC. Many times actually from a photo format . Today NYC has become a safe haven to live in .Having been made habitable by artists converting work to studio/work spaces into living spaces many artists have been unable to continue living and working in the city. We'll see if this trend abates
in the current economic climate ?  

As city rents rose the valley and it's many rivertowns became the new destination  for artists to head for. Many major towns up and down the valley now have many  artists working in them. Beacon with the initial focus on it through the location of the Dia Museum attracted a larger proportion of artists to it. Larger towns such as Poughkeepsie attracted many artists who needed more industrial spaces and had it had a variety of empty commercial space available.

At this point in time there are a considerable number of artists who have made their residence and place of work , their studios , in the valley. A far greater  number of artists produce work in the Hudson Valley than a 100 years ago, yet this is not reflected in the number of  exhibitions celebrating the 400 year anniversary.  The valley for many reasons has attracted artists to it and especially now not only due to economic necessity . There has been a continued reevaluation of the natural splendour of this river region with the significant growth of the environmental movements , started over 40 years ago close to West Point .  Prevailed upon by pioneers such as Pete Seeger and the Clearwater crew. 

But artists though inspired by their surroundings  are not merely mirrors to that landscape to day . There is a cultural phenomena which is quietly occurring which is not about galleries and the relocation of exhibition space to the area but an influx of working artists into an area that for many years had lost its soul. And that loss was not solely a regional phenomena . 

Artists today are engaged in many forms of creative expression . And given the number or lack there of of exhibitions that are reflecting this shift it behooves you as an interested member in your community , having probably relocated here for similar reasons , to engage in seeing the diversity of work being made in the region . The current show up until SEPTMEBER 6TH  is 
more significant in this "QUAD" year.  There are 22 artists whose works were selected to be apart of this show this year . (out of a submission of over 100 artists) All applicants live in the Hudson Valley region.

And when you're there pick up the gallery guide.. its well written and informative . I'll also point you to some of the captions that were added by the curator in a wonderful twist of putting museum objects in this case art work into context. This is an opportunity to take in the work in a new way which is not always bothered with in most exhibition /gallery settings .

Remember todays events are tomorrow's history , were you apart of it ?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


For those in New Paltz this weekend . DO and it is the village's Art Loop 3rd Saturday this week, drop by the Habitat Studio on Main St (next to the Restaurant 36 Main, good stop for Brunch Lunch or Dinner plans !) .Molly Rausch will be there to take in your requests of objects you've lost, in return and by way of your description she mails you back a drawing of the lost object .She's had a great response from people and alot of anonymous requests so we are respecting peoples privacy in responding to those personal items which aren't for public consumption .

During the week Ayesha Ibrahim is continuing her Art for A Smile so be sure to wear your best face, unless you happen to have lost it in which we'll refer you to Molly's Lost and Found and she might be able to draw it for you , but be sure to desribe your BEST face !!

Up on campus check on the progress by Patti Nelson , at The Old Main Circle of Plattekill St ,....
Old SUNY entrance , follow the construction fencing . And whilst you are there take a path through the campus to visit the Ecotones Show at The Dorsky Museum and another Inspired habitat studio inside . Micahel Asbills piece is a must see along with Tom Sarratonios painter's paintings tucked away in a corner .

Finally to cap the day off end up at HHS ....Historical Huguenot Street and if you are riding the bike trail drop in and have a sandwich near the fourth habitat studio in the Cedar grove by the picnic tables. Ustya Tarnawsky has been working there having been on site about a week now .

I am off to visit the studio on the East River,tomorrow . Meeting up with an artist who wants to use the studio at SOLAR1 . Other artists do stop by the SOLAR1 office if you want a riverside studio for a short time residency. STRICTLY no living WORK in only ! ENQUIRE within ,.......

Next week I have to see how the gardens grow in Philadelphia at the Habitat studio/potting shed at SCEE. Off Hagys Mill Rd . Part of Amy Liptons curated show "Down to Earth " with several other environmental , greenfingered artists. Check out Amy's blog at ecoartspace (see link). AND save the date SEPTEMBER 12TH for the Reception for this show , if you survive the opening festivities down the road at Abington Art Center in Jenkintown the previous evening.

Planning ahead do SAVE the date SEPTEMBER 24TH there is a panel discussion at the museum , The Dorsky at SUNY New Paltz is host to several artists from the habitat project and myself , with ecoartspace curator Amy Lipton . Details still to be announced .We hope to have a very special moderator for the panel discussion so more to follow . Thursday evening at 7pm .

Please tune back soon I am anticipating some cool stuff in New Paltz , including

*..a possible Solar component to the campus studio by Michael Otis's Engineering class

*... how green can we make the habitat studios by leeds in training architect Joe Thompson

*... Michael Asbill is concocting a creative term at one of the Habitat studios in September

*.... Mercedes Cecilia hopes to be in residence in the Museum habitat in September

*.... A recent SUNY alumni , artist Chris Manning is going to stage an install at a studio habitat.

*... There might be a short residency by Marnie Hillsley , originator of the Poets Walk Habitat !

*.... A final got to go tag sale most likely at Main St of collected items which were found and now
we want to part with , for a small donation to the project . This item still has to be talked over with the other members and a date fixed.....

Meanwhile enjoy the cooler weather today and bask in the August heat til the thunder showers come. I am now up and off to New Paltz to meet with Patti Nelson . Later SD

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


At this point I am assuming that any one and I might mean one as in a person is reading this currently SORRY to say there have been some schedule changes .


Solar 1 we have decided due to a variety of reasons to postpone events there BUT we are interested in getting Artists to work there at the habitat studio so do contact us !!

We will be posting the NEW events and NEW dates asap at this location !!


Patti Nelson begins working at the Old Main Circle Campus habitat studio tomorrow ,Wednesday AUGUST 12th ....further details to follow Her residency to go through to August 21st .

Molly Rausch continues her Lost and Found Booth through this weekend . Ayesha Ibrhim will be joining her this week at some point at the Main St studio ... I'll have more news SOON.

Huguenot Street Studio continues with Ustya Tarnawsky (pix to follow !)


I am going there next week to see how the Gardens Grow or Not ! And to add new material to the studio potting shed . This location for those joining us now is at SCEE 8040 Hagys Mill RD
PLEASE note Reception for Project Saturday September 12th Hope to see you there !!

POET'S Walk Rhinehook NY

Weather permitting I am hoping to move this studio off the "siteline " very soon .I'll be making a few changes to the structure and we're looking to get some Writers in there soon doing their thing !!


This is our errant studio ,.... we are not on the map and I am unsure as to what the future holds for this quiet participant . I am anticipating we will see this studio being relocated before the year ends . Our team is ready to pick up and go when we have the word !? Bill please call us !!


The original habitat site is slowly being cleaned up . We still have ONE studio there which will be moved by the month end . Materials gathered will be repurposed or disposed off as weather and other natural effects have taken their toll .


As part of the Collaborative Concepts Exhibit Michael Natilello will be building a habitat studio at Saunders Farm off OAP RD very soon . This promises to be an interesting hybrid in the studio/shed concept ! Those of you who missed Michaels Fish Shanty at Annsville may like to google that from the Peekskill Project 2008.


We're NOT there yet . BUT there is a festival in Dharavi , aka the slum city as in Millionaire Dog Movie ... which is planned to celebrate what may soon be changing if Real Esate Speculators and the Indian Gov't get their way . This could be a rich exchange if we can propose a relevant studio habitat as part of these celebrations. I'll be posting links to this new material soon .

HOCH TAUNUS ,Bad Homburg , Germany

There are plans to have a habitat studio in the Hoch Taunus Park near Bad Homburg which is a short distance from Frankfurt a.m. . Currently looking at Spring Early Summer funds permitting
Again more news to come on this from OUR Messenger !

Please as a reminder do look at HOW you might support this project , go to the side bar and see donations. YOU can make a difference . AND you might just be that ONE reader who gets it ?

THANKS talk soon Best SD

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s.c. draper & k.k. conner, all rights reserved.