Friday, June 21, 2013

Transformational Value

MAP - Gallery of Myth, Stories and Living Traditions

Envisioned to evoke the transformative value of historic and contemporary cultural traditions, MAP's Gallery uses the power of myth, stories and imagination to give voice to the universality of cultural traditions.

The gallery is an outreach program of the Metropolitan Arts Partnership (“MAP“) and is designed to provide a greater presence in the region. The Gallery of Myth, Stories and Living Traditions will soon expand to include a companion lecture, workshop and conference series.

The primary programs of MAP are its work place giving Arts Fund; the management of the local federal workplace giving program, the Combined Federal Campaign; and the gallery outreach program which was at the Arts Building in downtown Auburn, from 2006 – 2013.

The mission of the Metropolitan Arts Partnership is to support arts education and outreach programs for children and youth in schools, performance venues and neighborhood centers, which are provided by our members’ agencies. Members of MAP are all certified non-profit arts organizations based in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo or Yuba Counties.

From 2006 until its closing in March of 2013 the MAP Gallery consisted of temporary installations which were curated by Founder and Executive Director Michelle Walker who was the Artistic Director of the Gallery, and Founder of the International Society of Altar Making. She facilitated Altar Making workshops since 1980.  Michelle drew from her New Orleans ancestry and her interests in Ndebele, Hopi, Bon Po, Tibetan Tantric and Kundalini philosophies and practices; she integrated those elements into her personal altars and Altar Making over the years.

Co- curator Andrea “YaYa” Porras, is an artist and assistant to the Map Gallery, where she was mentored and guided by master-artist/Altar Maker Michelle Walker.  YaYa in her own right has studied the traditions of her ancestry; she is an Aztecan dancer, African-modern dancer, actress, and a poet and altar artist from Sacramento California.

Gallery-Assistant Ondrea Walker- is an artist apprentice, and trained in concept development and installation by the International Society of Altar Making. She attended the San Francisco Art Academy where her concentration was in photography, photo documentary, and photo journalism.

Proposed Project-
Creation of Living Land Trust for Outdoor Altar Installations- a Continuum: MAP - Gallery of Myth, Stories and Living Traditions- Breathing Life into the Gallery 2013. "The Land" will serve as a living experiment for sustainable practices and an incubator for personal and collective transformation.

The initiative for community land trust was known as the Bhoodan or Land gift movement, in the 1950s and 1960s  gathering people together and asking those with more land than they needed to give a portion of it to their poorer sisters and brothers, many of India's leaders participated in these walks from village to village .[i]

Seeing this, Vinoba altered the Boodan system to a Gramdan or Village gift system. All donated land was subsequently held by the village itself. The village would then lease the land to those capable of working it. The lease expired if the land was unused. The Gramdan movement inspired a series of regional village land trusts that anticipated Community Land Trusts in the United States.

The first organization to be labeled with the term 'community land trust' in the U.S., called New Communities, Inc., was founded with the purpose of helping African-American farmers in the rural South to gain access to farmland and to work it with security.

 A precursor to this was the Celo Community in North Carolina, which was founded in 1937 by Arthur Ernest Morgan.

New communities: Robert Swann worked with Slater King, president of the Albany Movement and a cousin of Martin Luther King, Jr., Charles Sherrod, an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and individuals from other southern civil rights organizations in the South to develop New Communities, Inc., "a nonprofit organization to hold land in perpetual trust for the permanent use of rural communities".[ii]

There are currently over 250 community land trusts in the United States. Fledgling CLT movements are also underway in England, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Kenya and New Zealand. In 2006, a national association was established in the United States to provide assistance and support for CLTs: the National Community Land Trust Network.[iii]


I am interested in developing a “Community Land Trusts and Art Place Making, to expand the MAP Gallery of Myth, Stories and Living Traditions in the acquisition of land ownership, to capture the value of public investment for long-term community benefit.  Instead of leasing or renting gallery spaces for exhibition, the gallery would become land owners.

Conservation Land Trust: A land trust is a nonprofit organization that, as all or part of its mission, actively works to conserve land by undertaking or assisting in land or conservation easement acquisition, or by its stewardship of such land or easements.

Putting real estate assets into a land trust allows the owner to avoid probate, and save on estate taxes when the property passes to heirs.  It will also protect the property from liens and judgments that might otherwise be brought against an owner. For partners and tenants in common, each owner is insulated from judgments. With a land trust, an owner can privately transfer their beneficial interest in the trust (the actual ownership) without it being reported to any governmental agencies.  Lastly, with a land trust, a person’s ownership of a property remains confidential and does not appear in any county recorder's office or other publicly-accessible resource.

In particular, Community land trusts attempt to meet the needs of residents least served by the prevailing land market. Community land trusts help communities to: Gain control over local land use and reduce absentee ownership, provide affordable housing for lower income residents in the community, promote resident ownership and control of housing, keep housing affordable for future residents and builds a strong base for community action.

Collaborating Organization

Visual Arts Development Project- proposes “the Land” Rituals and traditions a two week artists in residency May 13 – May 25th, in Placer County.

The VADP will be the first collaborating organization to form a partnership with the International Society of Altar Making, that will establish the first of a series of land trust that serve as a network’s for Altar training and research. "The Land" will serve as a living experiment for sustainable practices and an incubator for personal and collective transformation.

Anita Posey- Lowe lives on three and a half archers in Placer County, where she has a potter’s studio, with several areas on her property for pit firing.  She has whole-heartedly loaned the use of her land to the Visual Arts Development Project to expand its outreach program, of workshops, outdoor altar installations, and to build a permanent structure that will be left on her land in the area we have proposed to erect the outdoor altar. The artist has proposed that the panels and other elements of the installation be a temporary installation that will be deconstructed by the resident artist at the end of exhibition. The residency will be a series of workshops, intensive structure construction, clearing of the land for ceremonies, and artist constructing individual elements of the sculpture, independent studio, time for creative conversation and libations.

Collaborating Artists Organization: Visual Arts Development Project

Anita Posey-Lowe
1855 Christian Valley Rd
Auburn, CA

The 73 year-old artist who currently lives in Auburn, is a member of the Sacramento Potters Group, Placer Arts League, Arts Council of Placer County, International Association of Workforce Personnel (IAWP) and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Her works have been seen at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center during the Northern California Art’s, Inc., “Bold Expressions” exhibition, the Placer Art League’s Gallery One in Auburn; the Beecher Room of the Auburn Library during the Auburn Association of University Women’s Art “35 show; the Auburn Arts Center Clay show; and the Lincoln Arts Center in Lincoln, CA.

Talver Germany-Miller
11035 Foxmouth Circle
Mather CA, 95655
Survey and Art History and Studio Classes Lecturer, at Los Rios Community College District- Folsom Lake College. A native of Sacramento, California, she was educated like many other artists from grammar to graduate school. Talver received a BA degree in Studio Art, BA in Social Science/ Anthropology and a MS. Degree in Counseling Education all from California State University of Sacramento. She is an Associate Professor of Art at Folsom Lake College, member of the Placerville Arts Association, San Francisco Fine Arts Museum, Sacramento African American Art Collection, Phantom Gallery Chicago Network on LinkedIn, a member of the California Arts Association, and co-founded the Visual Arts Development Project.

Alpha Bruton- Chief Curator/Art Consultant
PO Box 163151, Sacramento CA  95816-3151

Phantom Gallery Chicago Network and Co-Founder of the Visual Arts Development Project

Bruton is a mother of three, an artists, and lifelong learner. She is an alumnus of Fresno City College where she holds an Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in African American Studies (1979). BFA in Liberal Studies from California State University of Fresno with a minor in Dance (1983); BFA in Art Education with an emphasis in Studio Art from California State University of Sacramento (1987) and completed the Teachers Credential Program in 1990. Bruton completed her MA in Arts Administration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2001. She is the chief curator for the Phantom Gallery Chicago Network, where she coordinates exhibitions in alternative venues for installation, environmental, and conceptual artists to connect the arts with commerce. 

As an art consultant her primary focus for this project is:

1.     Land Trust for Small Museum and Artist in Residency Projects

2.     Research land acquisition, auctions, purchase land for permanent installations

3.     Creating markers, for temporary installation

PROPOSED INSTALLATION “the Land” Rituals and traditions Purification Ceremony

Rituals and traditions associated with sweating vary regionally and culturally. Ceremonies often include traditional prayers and songs. In some cultures drumming and offerings to the spirit world may be part of the ceremony, or a sweat lodge ceremony may be a part of another, longer ceremony.

Some common practices and key elements associated with purification ceremonies include:

Training - Most cultures that hold ceremonial sweats require that someone go through intensive training for many years to be allowed to lead a purification ceremony. One of the requirements is that the leader be able to pray and communicate fluently in the indigenous language of that culture, and that they understand how to conduct the ceremony safely. This leadership role is granted by the Elders of the community, not self-designated.

Orientation – The door may face a sacred fire. The cardinal directions may have symbolism in the culture that is holding the purification ceremonies. The structure may be oriented within its environment for a specific purpose. Placement and orientation of the structure within its environment are often considered to facilitate the ceremony's connection with the spirit world, as well as practical considerations of usage.

Construction – The purification ceremonies is generally built with great care, and with respect for the environment and for the materials being used. Many traditions construct the purification ceremonies in complete silence, some have a drum playing while they build, and other traditions have the builders fast during construction.

Support – In many traditions, one or more persons will remain outside the structure to protect the ceremony, assist the participants, and aid purification ceremonies etiquette. Sometimes they will tend the fire and place the hot stones, if it is a structure that uses stones, though usually this is done by a designated fire keeper.


March 23 – 25:           Weekend Retreat Visual Arts Development Project,
March 30:                   De-installation Gallery of Myth, Stories and Living Traditions- and the.
April 1 – 30:                Approval of design proposal, gathering of supplies, invitation to guest artists and proposals, facilitators, registration, fundraising.
May 11-12:                  North Auburn Studio’s Tour Mother’s Day Weekend
May 13 – 25:               Building Living Sculpture Installation- Guest Artist and Preparatory
May 17 – 19:               Weekend Retreat Workshop and Studio Intensive
May 18:                       Ceremony Begins
May 20 – 24:               Installations, murals, layering of the Shell
May 25th                      Community Celebration

RESOURCES: (Please add cost share resources here and other partnering artist, sponsors)
International Society of Altar Making  is committed to offering high quality trainings, programs, consultations, and celebratory -based events led by credentialed trainers who are skilled in the art of facilitation, Altar Making, and Art Place making. To that end all gallery directors seeks support and expert advice from leading land trust organizations,  purification ceremonies authorized elders, traditional spiritual leaders, regionally, statewide, nationally, and internationally.
PROPOSED INSTALLATION “the Land” Rituals and traditions Purification Ceremony


The most important part of purification ceremonies etiquette is respecting the traditions of the culture in question. It is important to know what is allowed and expected before entering a structure. Traditional Peoples usually place a high value on modesty.

 Perhaps the most important piece of etiquette is gratitude. It is important to be thankful to the purpose of the sweat, the people joining you in the lodge, and those helping to support the purification ceremonies.

 Physical effects

Even people, who are experienced with sweats, and attending a ceremony led by a properly trained and authorized ceremonial leader, could suddenly experience problems due to underlying health issues. It is recommended by Lakota spiritual leaders that people only attend lodges with authorized, traditional spiritual leaders.
There have been reports of purification ceremonies -related deaths resulting from overexposure to heat, dehydration, smoke inhalation, or improper lodge construction leading to suffocation.

 f rocks are used, it is important not to use river rocks, or other kinds of rocks with air pockets inside them. Rocks must be completely dry before heating. Rocks with air pockets or excessive moisture could crack and possibly explode in the fire or when hit by water. Previously used rocks may absorb humidity or moisture leading to cracks or shattering

 A traditional Sweat Lodge is made up of slender withes of aspen or willow, or other supple saplings, lashed together with raw hide, or grass or root cordage. Traditionally, a sweat lodge was covered with the hides of buffalo, bear or moose. Now, the animal skins have been replaced with blankets, plastic sheeting, old carpet, heavy gauge canvas sheets and tarps to retain the heat and the steam. The entrance to the sweat lodge usually faces to the East and the sacred fire pit.

The ceremony starts with the loading and offering of the "peace pipe" in prayer. A sweat is typically four rounds or endurances, each lasting about 30 to 45 minutes. The round ends when the leader announces the opening of the door.

The first round is for recognition of the spirit world which resides in the black west where the sun goes down, and the Creator may be asked for a "spirit guide" by some of the participants.

The second round is for recognition of courage, endurance, strength, cleanliness, and honesty, calling upon the power of the white North.
The third round is the recognition of knowledge and individual prayer, praying to the direction of the daybreak star and the rising sun that we may gain wisdom, that we may follow the Red Road of the East in all our endeavors.

The last round centers on spiritual growth and healing. From our spirit guides from the west, from the courage, honesty and endurance of the north, from the knowledge and wisdom obtained from the east, we continue the circle to the south from which comes growth. It is from growth and maturing that healing comes.

At any time during the sweat you must leave, say "Mitakuye Oyasin" (All my relatives). The other participants will move away from the wall so that you may pass behind them as you leave in a clockwise direction.

The first stone is placed in the west part of a small hole in the center of the lodge, then north, east, south, and in the center to Grandfather. Additional stones are then placed to Grandmother and The People.

Some protocol for a sweat is; during a woman’s “moon time” they refrain from participating in the ceremony, instead they go to a different lodge called the “moon lodge”. Men and Woman usually don’t sweat together.

Stay alcohol and drug free for 4 days before the ceremony. Women cover their bodies with a modest cotton dress, men wear shorts. Each participant makes an offering for the lodge (tobacco, sage or sweet grass and/or items such as herbs, tea, cotton cloth) when you come to ceremonies.

Anishinabe. The only difference I have noticed is that in our area the Anishinabe have the door facing east, while the other two groups have it facing south.

The sweat lodge or sweat house (also called purification ceremony, ceremonial sauna, or simply sweat) is a ceremonial or ritual event in some cultures, particularly among some North American First Nations, Native American, Scandinavian, and Baltic and Eastern European cultures.

There are several styles of structures used in different cultures; these include a domed or oblong hut similar to a wickiup, a permanent structure made of wood or stone, or even a simple hole dug into the ground and covered with planks or tree trunks.

Stones are typically heated and then water poured over them to create steam. In ceremonial usage, these ritual actions are accompanied by traditional prayers and songs.

El Altar is an extinct volcano on the western side of Sangay National Park in Ecuador, 170 km south of Quito. Bishop around a church altar. Altar (O'odham: Wawuk) is small city in Altar Municipality in the Mexican state of Sonora. It is located in the northwest region of the state at 30°42′49″N 111°50′07″W. The town of Altar is situated on the important Mexicali to Hermosillo Highway (Federal Highway 2). Most of the roads leading into the desert are not paved.


[i] Some of the new landowners, however, became discouraged. Without tools to work the land and seeds to plant it, without an affordable credit system available to purchase these necessary things, the land was useless to them. They soon sold their deeds back to the large landowners and left for the cities.
[ii] Their vision for New Communities Inc. drew heavily on the example and experience of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in making land available through 99-year ground leases for the development of planned communities and agricultural cooperatives. The JNF was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in Ottoman Palestine (later Israel) for Jewish settlement. By 2007, the JNF owned 13% of all the land in Israel. It has a long and established legal history of leasing land to individuals, to cooperatives, and to intentional communities such as kibbutzim and moshavim. Swann, Slater King, Charles Sherrod, Faye Bennett, director of the National Sharecroppers Fund, and our other Southerners traveled to Israel in the 1968 to learn more about ground leasing. They decided on a model that included individual leaseholds for homesteads and cooperative leases for farmland. New Communities Inc. purchased a 5,000-acre (20 km2) farm near Albany, Georgia in 1970, developed a plan for the land, and farmed it for twenty years. The land was eventually lost, but the example of New Communities inspired the formation of a dozen other rural community land trusts in the 1970s. It also inspired and informed the first book about community land trusts, produced by the International Independence Institute in 1972.
Ralph Borsodi, Robert Swann, and Erick Hansch founded the International Independence Institute in 1967 to provide training and technical assistance for rural development in the United States and other countries, drawing on the model of the Gramdan villages being developed in India. In 1972, Swann, Hansch, Shimon Gottschalk, and Ted Webster proposed a "new model for land tenure in America" in The Community Land Trust, the first book to name and describe this new approach to the ownership of land, housing, and other buildings. One year later, they changed the name of the International Independence Institute to the Institute for Community Economics (ICE).
[iii] Community Land Trusts
A community land trust is a private, non-profit corporation, created to acquire and hold land for the benefit of a community, and provide secure affordable access to land and housing for community residents.
CLTs offer a balanced approach to ownership: the nonprofit trust owns the land and leases it for a nominal fee to individuals who own the buildings on the land. As the home is truly their own, it provides the homeowners with the same permanence and security as a conventional buyer, and they can use the land in the same way as any other homeowner.
[iv] Your Step-by-Step Guide to Land Trusts © 2000 Bronchick, William, J.D., published by Legalwiz Publications

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