Rock Star Meadow is a complex of improvisational structures embedded with all forms of creative work installed in a quiet clearing at the foot of a mountain near Woodstock, New York. Nick Della Penna established this site in the early 1980s and was soon joined by creative partner Estelle Ross who passed away in 2016. We spoke with Nick in May of 2022 to learn more about the site and his current work.
Ann Gappmayer has worked as archivist for the SPACES Archives since 2017, but has recently started a new adventure—retirement! She took a moment to reflect on her time and the projects she supported; the transfer to Kohler Foundation, the Howard Smith Collection, and the acquisition and digitization of hundreds of slides, images, ephemera, and resources from contributors like Gregg Blasdel, Willem Volkerz, Roger Manley, and many more.
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