A Ballast Flora Garden at High Line, Pioneer Works, and Weeksville Heritage Center

Thu 19 Apr 2018 - Fri 1 Mar 2019
High Line: April 19, 2018 – March 2019
Pioneer Works: May 12– October, 2018
Weeksville Heritage Center: May 12– October, 2018


At Weeksville Heritage Center on June 23, 2018
High Line, Pioneer Works, Vera List Center for Art and Politics and Weeksville Heritage Center with Maria Thereza Alves
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In a unique partnership and for the first time, High Line, Pioneer Works and Weeksville Heritage Center come together to show the intertwined histories and landscapes of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Each organization is launching one of Berlin-based, Brazilian artist Maria Thereza Alves's A Ballast Flora Garden, exploring the distinct and fraught histories of colonial trade and forced migration, their repercussions in today's flora and echoes in today's immigration policies. The presentations grow out of the exhibition Maria Thereza Alves, Seeds of Change: New York—A Botany of Colonization, developed by the Vera List for Art and Politics at The New School this past November in honor Alves as the recipient of the Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics 2016-2018.

The plants featured in A Ballast Flora Garden act as keys for tracing and unpacking the history of colonialism, migration, slavery and trade that New York City is built on. Each of the three partner sites provides a unique context for making that knowledge embedded in the land of New York City and its estuaries and port areas accessible. Historically, the elevated railway of the High Line received and became a catalog of numerous seeds arriving in New York from the West on the underside of freight trains that would connect the industrial 19th century metropolis with the rest of the rapidly expanding country. Pioneer Works is also an index of such botanical history: a site built entirely on ballast as dumped by ships travelling through the Erie Basin and which, in doing so, created the landfill that Red Hook, Brooklyn, now sits on. The gardens at Weeksville Heritage Center are also connected to maritime trade: as the second largest independent African-American community in pre-Civil War America, Weeksville was founded in 1838 by James Weeks, a stevedore who worked on the Brooklyn docks, along with a group of African American investors and landholders.

For details and up-to-date information, please refer to the calendar of events, openings and programs at each site, listed below.

Calendar of Events, Openings, and Programs

A Ballast Flora Garden: High Line Art
On the High Line at the Western Rail Yards, at 12th Avenue and 32nd Street
April 19, 2018 – March 2019
Part of Agora

Lunchtime Reading Sessions
On the High Line at the Tiffany Overlook at Gansevoort St
May 23, 2018, 12:30 – 2:00 pm
July 25 12:30 – 2:00 pm
September 19 12:30 – 2:00 pm
The High Line hosts a series of three brown-bag lunchtime reading sessions, the texts for which are each inspired by Maria Thereza Alves's project. The readings for each session are selected and presented by Friends of the High Line staff from different departments, including Horticulture, Education, and the High Line Network.

Ballast Flora Garden: Pioneer Works
159 Pioneer St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
May 12, 2018 – Fall 2018

Second Sundays Family Program
Drop-in family workshops engaging with the Ballast Flora Garden
May 13 4:00 – 7:00pm
June 10 4:00 – 7:00pm

Red Hook Ecology Walks
Summer - Fall 2018

Red Hook Ecology Roundtable
June, July and August 2018

A Ballast Flora Garden: Weeksville Heritage Center
158 Buffalo Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213
May 12, 2018 – October, 2018

Weeksville Heritage Center's 50th Anniversary and Exhibition Opening Event
May 12, 2018

Weeksville's Ballast Flora Student Workshop
April 3 – May 29, 2018 2:00-4:00pm on Tuesdays
Age group 8-12
Curriculum outline: Plant Science; Hands-on Art Making; Experiments; Weeksville's History and Ballast Flora; Ecology of Red Hook; and Gentrification, Race, Politics.

High Line, Pioneer Works, Vera List Center for Art and Politics and Weeksville Heritage Center with Maria Thereza Alves
June 23, 2018
Weeksville Heritage Center 158 Buffalo Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213

A Ballast Flora Garden at High Line, Pioneer Works and Weeksville Heritage Center are part of Maria Thereza Alves, Seeds of Change: New York--A Botany of Colonization. The Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics 2016-2018: Maria Thereza Alves, Seeds of Change: New York—A Botany of Colonization is organized by Carin Kuoni, director and chief curator of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics and Amanda Parmer, curator of the Vera List Center, with horticultural advisor Marisa Prefer and is made possible by Prize Founding Supporters: James Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach, Elizabeth R. Hilpman and Byron Tucker, Jane Lombard, Joshua Mack, and The New School, with additional support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and The Kettering Fund. The exhibition is made possible with the support of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at The New School.

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