I am thrilled to be teaching Art and Urban Sustainability this coming spring semester. This past spring the course was taught by the artist Mary Mattingly and the class helped design her project Swale, a giant, floating, urban edible forrest. This semester the class will be working on PandoraBird, my computer vision system that tracks and plays the musical choices of wild song birds, and creating emergent ecosystems on the Camden waterfront. 

Art and Urban Sustainability is dynamic, hands-on. class covers public art, community art, environmental art and issues of sustainability as they relate to Camden, New Jersey. Students in this course will author proposals and collaborate on creating a civically engaged sculpture park on the Camden water front. This class fulfills the Gen ED Civic Engagement Learning requirement.

Students need no prior background in art to take this class! More info is below:

Art and Urban Sustainability 50:080:300 Art/Urban Studies: 975:387:01

Art and Urban Sustainability addresses public art, community art, environmental art and issues of sustainability as they relate to Camden, New Jersey. Students in this class will author proposals for projects that merge art and sustainable practices within the city of Camden. Students will also collaborate on one civically engaged and sustainable project in the city of Camden. Some areas of focus include: Earth Art, sustainable architecture, urban interventions, social ecologies, site-specificity, urban reforestation, remediation, and urban farming. Art and Urban Sustainability is both a theory and practice course.         


This class consists of lectures, assignments, exercises, projects, artist reports, and work on-site in Camden, NJ. The readings will expose you to works that relate to the assignment at hand, as well as to some of the historical influences that may have led to particular work or strategies.

In this class you will complete four critiqued class proposals, four in class artist report presentations, a word press blog on which to collect your work, one site based class project and one reflection paper. Each student authored proposal and each artist report will emphasize the different strategies of each subject area. Most of the assignments will be broad in scope, allowing maximum personal freedom in fulfilling them. At the completion of each proposal, a critique will be held. Each proposal will be presented with a subject versus content statement. Everyone is expected to have all work completed by the time of the critique, and to actively participate in the discussions. There will be a midterm and final. It is my intention that you will be able to direct and fully participate in critiques by the end of the course, and have some usage of a critical language.

All students are to keep a sketchbook for ideas, working drawings, in-class exercises, and project statements. Class exercises and project statements will be graded in class and will be turned in at midterm and end of the semester. Class project proposals will be graded during class critiques.

It is not possible to complete the assignments and to gain a good understanding of the concepts involved unless you also work outside of class time. I encourage you to go beyond the boundaries of the initial assignments and explore your own voice as an artist/maker/designer and your own interests as they relate to the problem at hand.

In this class you will learn to:

  • Analyze works of in the field of art and sustainability within a contemporary framework, using various critical or theoretical methodologies.
  • Understand how works of art and sustainability are created
  • Exercise your own creative expression in the practice of creating proposals for art and sustainability projects
  • Utilize what we have learned in this class to realize owetlandur onsite sustainability project.
  • Articulate the challenges and needs of the local community in regard to sustainability.
  • Work constructively within the community to address issues of sustainability.