The Rapidian

ArtPrize artist feature from UICA: Seitu Jones

Working independently or with others, Seitu Jones has created over 30 large-scale public artworks. On September 23, Heartside residents are invited to take part in a community meal presented by Seitu Jones, UICA, and a number of community partners.
Artist, Seitu Jones

Artist, Seitu Jones /Courtesy of the UICA

Seitu Jones      
The Heartside Community Meal
Category: Time-based                                
Vote Code: 66414
Current City: St. Paul, MN, U

Artist Seitu Jones and his community

Artist Seitu Jones and his community

Heartside ArtPrize entry with Seitu Jones and the UICA

Heartside ArtPrize entry with Seitu Jones and the UICA /Courtesy of the UICA

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts invites you to learn more about West Michigan's creative workforce, neighboring cultural organizations, and about ways to engage with Grand Rapids' art-scene with interviews and guest features highlighting our local and regional community members. Visit uica.org/learn for monthly interviews.

Working independently or with others, Seitu Jones has created over 30 large-scale public artworks and was millennium artist-in-residence for 651 Arts in Brooklyn, NY and was the City of Minneapolis’ first Artist-in-Residence. Jones has been awarded a number of prestigious designations and currently teaches Urban Food Systems at the University of Minnesota and is on the faculty of Goddard College in Port Townsend, WA.

On September 23, 2017, Heartside residents are invited to take part in a community meal presented by Seitu Jones, UICA, and a number of community partners. Guests of the event will enjoy a meal prepared by Grand Rapids chefs with ingredients cultivated from local gardens and farms on a tablescape designed by Seitu Jones and created by students, collaborators, and volunteers. 

The 250-seat community meal will unite neighbors, illuminate similarities and connections, and encourage guests to share food stories and participate in over the table conversations about food traditions, attitudes, food justice, rituals, and access while celebrating our diverse neighborhood.

Have you participated in ArtPrize before? What drew you to participate this year?

This is the first time I’ve participated in ArtPrize and was drawn to create the Collard Green Shrine as a part of the Heartside meal commission.

ArtPrize is a popular, city-wide event. What are you most excited about during this unique art-viewing experience?

I’m excited to see and experience the work of artists from around the globe.

UICA’s exhibition is centered around food. Does your work use food as a theme or lens traditionally or is this new territory for you?

I’ve been working almost my entire career to blend art and nature and began to explore the food system. It is my goal as an artist to make the invisible, visible and I attempt to do that with the food system by making artistic interventions.

Who or what has been the biggest single influence on your way of thinking?

My family’s food traditions, George Washington Carver, and the Black Panther Party’s free breakfast program.

Where else have you exhibited your work? Is there a project or exhibition that stands out in your mind as your greatest accomplishment?

While I’ve exhibited across the country, I’ve created Collard Green Shrines at Project Rowhouse in Houston, TX; Bates College Museum in Lewsiston, ME and the University Research and Outreach Center. My most important work is always the piece I’m working on right now.

What new projects do you have on the horizon?

I’m completing the construction of a research vessel for the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities. The boat will be a floating sculpture designed to monitor and observe the health of the river.

Looking for more?

The Heartside Community Meal is an official ArtPrize Nine entry in the time-based category. Cultivate, UICA's ArtPrize Nine exhibition, is a curated group show that uses food as a lens to examine cultural history, social equity, and the effects of globalization on communities.

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