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Future Of Art Lies In Functionality

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Spiral WetlandsBy Terrah Baker

Artist Stacy Levy thinks the next wave in art is functionality; or in her case while in Fayetteville for Walton Arts Center’s Artosphere, working with nature and art to help the natural world.

To do this takes contemplation and creativity, which Levy has a lot of after a long career in the arts, including graduating from Yale University with a B.A. in sculpture. The Spiral Wetland installation at Lake Fayetteville was her chance to look more closely at the direct impact on nature, both good and bad, of the sculpture; remembering how art will play a role in our new, environmentally-conscious future.

Calculations show that the lake would need much more wetland coverage to keep up with the oil from boat ramps, parking lots and other human and animal waste, she said, so this is not a cure for the lake’s current pollution problems.

“It may not be an answer but we hope it at least points in a direction,” she said.

The installation is also for aesthetic beauty allowing people to visually connect with their environment. Levy showed this as she stood on the banks staring at her sculpture the day TFW interviewed her. She pointed out toward the lake and the horizon to bring attention to how the spiral changed the perspective and made the trees that surround the lake seem more real and in focus.

Spiral Wetland 6“It’s about having something to help focus your eyes on the larger picture,” she said.

Spiral Wetland is an outdoor eco-art project inspired by Robert Smithson’s famous outdoor sculpture Spiral Jetty. This early earthwork, created in 1970, is a spiral of black basalt rocks and earth trucked out into the shallow Great Salt Lake in Utah.

Fayetteville’s wetland will expand on the concept of the spiral in nature, creating an artwork with a specific ecological goal: to improve the water quality of Lake Fayetteville. Levy, whose artwork was a part of Artosphere’s inaugural visual arts exhibition, Beyond Sublime/Changing Nature, will create a 129-foot-long spiral floating wetland that will stretch from the shoreline into the lake.

Instead of rocks and earth, Spiral Wetland will have native plants growing in the floating wetlands. These plants help to take excess nutrients from the lake water and add shade for fish habitat.

At the end of the installation, the plants will be adopted and replanted in other wetlands. Find more of Artosphere visual arts exhibits and more at www.artospherefestival.org/category/visual-arts

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