After the passing of Prophet Isaiah Robertson in 2020, the future of his stunning home and art environment in Niagara Falls, New York was uncertain. Fortunately, the Kohler Foundation has been able to step in to secure the future of the Prophet's work through supporting site conservation and facilitating a robust community partnership.
Now that the dust has settled, we’re happy to share more about the exhibition of Seymour Rosen’s work that was presented at the 2022 Outsider Art Fair in New York in March – “Here We Are Now: The Ecology of Seymour Rosen and SPACES.”
Fred Scruton travels across the United States from his home base in Pennsylvania to meet with artists and visit their sites. He takes time to get to know them, create a plan, and set up his equipment to photograph and film their art, waiting for ideal lighting conditions. His patience and skill has resulted in some of the most striking photos of art environments the genre has seen. Through multiple visits over years, he has built priceless evolutionary visual timelines of creators and their art—as well as lifelong friendships. Scruton's photographs have been widely exhibited and published, and can be found in the SPACES Archive on various environment pages. He took some time to answer questions about his career in photography and his interest in art environments.
Beth Wiza is the preservation coordinator for Kohler Foundation, a Wisconsin-based non-profit with the mission to increase accessibility to art. She is the resident expert in historic preservation and focuses on the cultural impact of art environments in their local communities. She is an aluma of Savannah College of Art and Design and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and lives in a charming 1892 farmhouse with her partner, two dogs, and two cats. When she is not elbows deep in plaster restoration, Beth’s new hobby is beekeeping.Beth at the School Bus Graveyard
While many of us dream of traveling the world, it’s not always within reach. Thanks to technology, there are many places you can see from the comfort of your own home or classroom—this collection of virtual tours in the United States will take you from Michigan to Georgia, Philly to the Salton Sea…and maybe a couple places in between!
In May of 2021, I had the opportunity to visit my good friend Jenny in New Mexico. While I do get the chance to travel from time to time, I haven’t spent much time in the desert, and when my host offered to take the scenic route from the airport in Albuquerque to Santa Fe, I was ready to absorb some sun-soaked, non-Wisconsin landscape.
Kelly Ludwig is a designer, photographer, and advocate for art environments and folk artists based in Kansas City, Missouri.When we wanted to know a little bit more about what inspires her to drive cross-country, pull over when she sees something interesting and knock on strangers' doors to learn more—she generously took time to answer our questions and share her experience. Kelly has gifted more than 58,000 images taken on her many road trips across the country as well as 3,636 artist files with research she conducted to the SPACES Archives—thank you, Kelly!
SPACES recently had the pleasure of speaking with Martin Wallace, a member of a team of people working to preserve Ron's Place, an art environment by Ron Gittins in Liverpool. Wallace is a filmmaker, an International Emmy and Royal Television Society award winner, and BAFTA nominee. He directed the late 1990s series about art environments, “Journeys Into The Outside with Jarvis Cocker," and he is in the process of making a feature-length documentary about Ron Gittins and incredible work.Photo: Martin Wallace
We’re thrilled to share selections from a recent donation of images from photographer Jim Legault. Jim says of his long career behind the lens and on the water, “Two threads have woven my life together–photography and the sea.” He has worked on boats from the Great Lakes to the Caribbean and captained a charter in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, for many years. He’s photographed an impressive array of subjects, including the Mexican Sheertailed Hummingbird (in partnership with the National Geographic Society), the ecological impact of commercial fisheries, and discrete shrines and grottos installed in yards around Wisconsin. To learn more about Jim’s work, please visit his website www.jimlegaultphotography.com. Jim’s donation to SPACES includes images from the early 1970s of Fred Smith’s Wisconsin Concrete Park in Phillips, Wisconsin; Albert Zahn’s Birds Park in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin; and Sabato Rodia’s Watts Towers in Los Angeles.
It has been several years since Pearl Fryar has been able to complete the demanding physical labor required to maintain his sprawling topiary garden, and now a group of organizations have come together to support Fryar and the future of his life’s work. After a community member called the Executive Director of the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina Jane Przybysz to report the garden’s decline and ask how her institution was planning to help, she immediately got to work. She began by seeking grant funding to support bringing the living sculptures back to their former beauty and creating a consortium of organizations to get involved in this ongoing effort, including the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the WeGOJA Foundation (formerly the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission), and the Garden Conservancy. After some funding was secured earlier this year, a team was hired to begin work on the garden.