Trail Art exhibit encourages preservation
By Carolyn Peirce
Published June 3, 2006
Copyright © 2005 The Examiner
(Genevieve Cocco/Special to The Examiner)
Julia Smith and David Beaudin are two local
artists that collaborating on their installation
at Gwynns Falls Trail.
BALTIMORE - He heaved rocks across the stream and threw crawfish out of the way Friday morning while adjusting the long, green vinyl banner floating in shallow water.
“Art is heavy,” chuckled David Beaudouin, 55, of Baltimore.
Beaudouin and Julia Kim Smith, of Baltimore, are two artists participating in “Art on the Gwynns Falls Trail,” an exhibit beginning Saturday in recognition of National Trails Day. Contributing artists have been setting up their pieces all week and made final touches Friday.
According to the Gwynns Falls Trail Council vice president and chair of the exhibit, Heide Grundmann, 66, the event is a temporary display of environmental art from 24 volunteer artists. Each of the artists went through an application process to have their work approved by the Art Review Committee.
“We get artists from all categories of visual art who are inspired to use the environment,” Grundmann said.
The event has become an annual tradition since it began in 2001 when several professors at the Maryland Institute College of Art contacted the Trail Council to do an outdoor project for the community.
Beaudouin and Smith said they incorporated the “tamed-wild” theme into their piece, a long banner floating in the stream reading, “What you are looking for is lost” in bold letters.
Beaudouin and Smith have collaborated on several projects for the past five years. They heard about this exhibit last year and combined their backgrounds in creative writing and graphic design to create their piece.
“The whole idea of a park is a curious thing,” Beaudouin said, “It’s a safe place to view the wild, but parks are not wild, they’re gardens.”
Their idea of “lost wilderness” is even in the medium they have chosen. Beaudouin said they originally wanted to write the words on biodegradable materials, making the message more impacting when it disintegrated. They changed their mind and chose vinyl to preserve the cleanliness of the water and “leave it the way we found it,” Beaudouin said.
The exhibit stretches about a mile along the trail and viewers can walk themselves through the exhibit or participate in a guided tour. Interactive stations will be set up, including a stone game and a large loom that participants can weave with materials from nature. Weekend viewings will have refreshments and music.
Grundmann hopes the artwork will inspire people to appreciate nature and preserve wildlife.
As she pointed out, “What’s the point of a city park if you don’t use it for good?”