Role of the Artist: Connector
In celebration of Jackie Brookner’s (1947-2015) life and work, we share stories of her interactions, roles, influence and the legacy of her work as an artist in the construction and the ecological restoration of World Garden Commons at Rabanus Park.
A long-held artistic goal in Jackie Brookner’s body of work was to integrate the creative process of the people within their community. By reaching out to a wide range of people, she made new connections, identified shared interests and needs.
Growing Together, tended by Jack Wood and Nola Strom, provides a safe, welcoming place for New Americans to meet new friends, grow food and relationships. In 2012, they were seeking new garden space at locations accessible to New Americans.
Through conversations with Wood and connecting his need for open land and rich soil near a water source, Brookner and City Planner Nicole Crutchfield devised a strategy to connect Growing Together with Lutheran Social Services through a lease from the Fargo Park District (a separate taxing entity and owner of Rabanus Park).
The new relationship resulted in a change in Fargo Park District policy to break ground for the first garden site on public property at the Rabanus site.
Early in the process the Brookner recognized the need to be adaptive, focused on context-sensitive solutions appropriate and customized for the surroundings.