ericamerylthomas [at] gmail [dot] com

For the series, I collaborated with several ecologists to develop an education program centered on urban ecosystems. The participants were mostly artists in Portland for the Open Engagement conference. I encouraged anyone who was interested to attend, including people who joined us as we walked. I also invited tourgoers to share their own knowledge, experiences, and stories related to the tour themes: birds, gardens, trees, invasive species. Using these starting points the project shed new light on the urban ecological landscape inviting participants to refine their sense of place. 

With this project I am blurring the lines between artist and curator through the form of the tour. A tour is pointing out what is already there but perhaps goes unnoticed because of a lack of knowledge, separation or disassociation from the place often because it is secret or hidden. By using the form of a tour, a form that everyone is familiar with, I can introduce places and information that are all around but that we can't notice because we don't know how.