“Seed the Change” Installation by Jessica Witte

June 4, 2016 – June 6, 2016 all-day


Seed the Change is a weekend-long collaborative drawing event, scheduled for June 4 and 5 on the Riverfront at the Arch. Using black sunflower seeds, safflower and millet, an unforgettable “seed drawing” will be made on the sidewalk along Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard, centering on the Arch and extending hundreds of feet north and south.

The underlying design, based on Missouri native wildflowers, will be outlined by Witte and her assistants on Friday, June 3. Visitors on June 4 and 5 are invited to help build the drawing with seed throughout the weekend. The drawing will morph with the engagement of the audience, growing and changing. Time-lapse photography will record the changing form of the drawing over its lifespan. Cash prizes of $250 will be awarded to the best contribution to the drawing and the best photo of the drawing posted to Instagram at #seedthechangestl. Witte’s hope for Seed the Change is that it will “highlight the city’s human potential; creating a welcoming space shaped by its people that embodies the beauty of labors of love, conversation, and individual expression.”

The project is sponsored by Critical Mass for the Visual Arts, a local nonprofit organization, as part of a new temporary public art initiative called The Public Works Project.  It is supported by a grant from the William E. Weiss Foundation.

To emphasize the actual physical work of making our city a more inviting place, Witte and Critical Mass will feature organizations during the event who share the mission to improve the city. Activities at tables along the Riverfront will highlight these groups’ work, while creating a festival atmosphere and sparking discussion on how others can shape our city. Activity partners will include the CityArchRiver Foundation, the Center of Creative Arts (COCA), Earthdance Farms, Gateway Greening, Grow Native!, Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis Arc, and St. Louis Audubon Society. At the end of the event Sunday, the 4000 lbs. of seed will be swept up and removed. Visitors are invited to sweep up a bag for their backyard birdfeeders.

Critical Mass launched The Public Works Project to provide St. Louis area artists with an opportunity to develop a work of art for the public realm. Unlike other public art opportunities in the region, the artwork proposed had to be temporary and could be at a site of the artist’s choosing, allowing artists to match their artistic ideas with the siting of the work. “Witte’s work exemplifies what The Public Works Project was designed to do by providing an opportunity to an artist to think and dream big — working at a whole new scale — and by inviting people in St. Louis to engage and participate in an innovative work of art,” said Meridith McKinley, president of the board of Critical Mass.

Great Rivers Greenway, the organization that is overseeing the construction of improvements to the Central Riverfront, is pleased to be hosting Witte’s artwork as part of an opening weekend of activities celebrating the completion of the Central Riverfront project. “Seed the Change is a perfect metaphor for our vision for the new riverfront, as we reintroduce area residents and visitors to the new opportunities that the CityArchRiver project provides us,” said Matt Brinkmann, Special Events Manager for Great Rivers Greenway, who is working with Witte and Critical Mass to facilitate the siting of the artwork on the Riverfront.

Birdseed art - Jessica Witte

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