Press Releases

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
No. 53


Three artists have been selected to participate in the second year of the Arts and Humanities Residency Program hosted at Fort Totten Park’s Urban Field Station, in Bayside, Queens. The goal of the residency is to bring perspectives from the arts and humanities to urban land management, social and ecological research, and community stewardship. This combination of skill sets and perspectives will increase the quality of engagement around the city’s incredible parkland.

The New York City-based artists were selected by staff from NYC Parks and the USDA Forest Service because of their work at the intersection of art, urban ecology, and community based design:

o Katie Holten is a visual artist based in New York. She has had solo museum exhibitions at the New Orleans Museum of Art (2012); Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, (2010); The Bronx Museum, New York (2009); Villa Merkel, Esslingen, Germany (2008); Nevada Museum of Art, Reno (2008) and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2007). Holten often works on site to explore the history, ecology, and other invisible aspects of an environment. She is the creator of the Tree Museum which featured the story of each tree on the Grand Concourse, the Bronx. Recognizing a crisis of representation as our species adapts to life in the current day, her book About Trees considers our relationship with language, landscape, and perception. She created a Tree Alphabet and used it to translate a compendium of well known, loved, lost and new writing. The result is an astonishing fusion of storytelling and art, which celebrates trees and our understanding of them, their past and their future, their potential and their ubiquity.

o Matthew Jensen combines photography with walking, collecting, and rigorous site-specific explorations of landscapes. His projects strive to connect people to places by expanding the traditions of landscape photography to include a range of mediums and actions. Each body of work develops from time spent in publicly accessible landscapes. In 2016 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in photography and a Peter S. Reed Foundation grant for photography. He has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts for his projects Park Wonder in 2016 and The Wilmington Center for the Study of Local Landscape in 2013. His photographs are in major public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art and the Brooklyn Museum. In 2015 his solo show, Feels Like Real, debuted at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York. His site-specific projects and walks have been supported and commissioned by the High Line, the Queens Museum, Kenpoku Art Festival, the Brandywine River Museum of Art, the Delaware Contemporary, Storm King Art Center, Wave Hill, and Brooklyn Bridge Park, among others. Jensen is part-time assistant professor of photography and studio art at Parsons School of Design at the New School.

o Heidi Neilson is an interdisciplinary artist interested in giving visual and sensible form to the connections between people on the ground and above-earth conditions and infrastructure. Her work includes: SP Weather Station, where weather data-gathering instruments serve as a hub for various activities addressing earth’s atmosphere; and Menu for Mars Supper Club, a series of events to envision and emulate cuisine on Mars. Her often collaborative and publishing-based work is included in over 60 museum and university collections, and her activities have received support from many organizations including: the Art Matters Foundation, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Center for Book Arts, the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Queens Council on the Arts, Wave Farm, and Women's Studio Workshop. Born in Oregon, Heidi lives and works in New York.

These artists are all interested in exploring ideas that can be incubated via relationships with public agencies working at the nexus of research and natural resource management. They work across different media and have current projects in various stages of conceptualization and implementation. Over the course of the year they will have opportunities to be embedded with NYC Urban Field Station staff, projects, and sites, and will share their own work via the Urban Field Station’s Science of the Living City public seminars.

The New York City Urban Field Station ( is a unique scientific collaboration between the NYC Parks, the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, and the non-profit the Natural Areas Conservancy. First launched in 2006, the Urban Field Station provides a location for this long-term research partnership promoting applied science on urban ecology, conservation, stewardship, and ecological literacy to support ecosystem management and human well-being. The facility is designed as a shared office and lab where city and federal scientists work hand-in-hand to address critical land management questions relevant to NYC and other cities across the country.

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