I recently stopped by the Creative Alliance to check out Food Network, the latest project by Baltimore Development Cooperative, winners of last year's Sondheim Prize. More activist expo and installation than straight exhibition, Food Network explores issues relating to food production and consumption. With grassroots gusto and some good-natured humor, It raises questions and offers sensible, shovel ready solutions. There's an informative video on urban farming by MICA students (and instructor Hugh Pocock), a few irresistible cooking videos by BUGS (Baltimore Urban Gardening with Students), a slideshow of Dan Van Allen's Arabber photos, and a gallery floor crowded with a mobile lemonade stand, bars of homemade soap, a food cart, an odd water collection contraption, and a "Self Health Apothecary."
In a handout that accompanies the show, Creative Alliance Artistic Director Jed Dodds asks, "But is it art?"
His answer: "Who cares? What's the point of art if it's not trying to engage with the world, and change the way people see it? Does it matter if it's an artist or a gardener doing so? Part of the brilliance of Baltimore Development Cooperative's strategy here is that it renders such distinctions irrelevant."
All I know is that I walked out of the gallery buzzing with ideas and feeling excited about generating a few solutions of my own.
Food Network closes this Saturday.
[photos: John Lewis]