Now We Plant: Planting Seeds for our American Dreams by Christina Bechstein

Community Potluck
First Friday Art Walk, July 7, 5-7pm
Boyd Street Urban Farm
(at Cumberland and Franklin Street arterial)

Please join us in the garden at on July 7th for the launch of this project.

There will be free seed packages and a garden potluck.
Bring a dish to share if you like.

All are invited!

Now We Plant is a collaborative art installation led by Christina Bechstein that brings together gardeners, neighbors, and friends with  the Boyd Street Urban Farm and Cultivating Community. Through yard signs, widely distributed seed packages, and community interactions, Bechstein creates a vibrant and diverse exchange of recipes as well as visions of the American dream. In a project rooted in partnership and interchange, the vegetables and herbs–grown here and from the seed packets–become the basic sustenance of community engagement, reminding us of the importance of tending to both our collective environment and dreams.

The Site
Boyd Street Urban Farm, corner of Cumberland and Franklin Street arterial, Portland Maine USA. The Boyd Street Urban Farm is a community garden in downtown Portland that serves nearby Kennedy Park neighbors. In the heart of Maine’s most diverse census tract, BSUF encapsulates the potential impact of agriculture in a culturally rich, economically challenged urban area. The idea of turning city spaces in very poor health into vibrant farms that support youth programs as well as individuals/families who want to work in the soil is essential to the vision of a local, sustainable food system. For more information about the garden, please contact Laura Mailander, Cultivating Community #207.761.4769 ext 855.

Now We Plant’ wishes to thank
The Boyd Street Urban Farm and the gardeners, Cultivating Community and it’s Youth Growers, Laura Mailander, Zainab Imran, Maher Al Asadi, Jennifer Muller, Sandrine Chabert, Dara Lestrade, Sarah Marshall, Sister Makings Group, Charles Schreiber, Papa Mendy, Tempo Art, Alice Spencer, Andrew Eschelbacher, Anne Marie Levine, Bonnie Norlander, Laci Hoskins, Skillins Greenhouse, Johnny’s Seeds, The City of Portland and The City of Portland Public Art Committee, friends and neighbors to the garden.

The Artist
Christina Bechstein is an artist and mother who has taught in art, design, and architecture programs across the United States. Bechstein’s record of international exhibitions and lectures include Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain; Bates Art Museum in Lewiston, ME; Harvard University in Cambridge MA and more. She has studied at Cranbrook Academy of Art and Skowhegan School of Painting and has been the recipient of fellowships and awards from places like the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the New England Foundation for the Arts, The Graham Foundation and Weimar Jena Akademie. Her creative practice is interdisciplinary and collaborative in nature, encompassing and overlapping such fields as public art, sculpture, textiles, community based art and activism. In her landscape based projects, she investigates the role of art in place-making and community-building. These projects, like ‘Now We Plant’,  convene diverse neighbors of all ages and backgrounds around a creative project, food, sharing and imagining to co-create the places we call home.

#NowWePlant #TEMPOartMaine


TEMPOart Portland is thrilled to announce the three artists who were selected for UNDER REVIEW: The American Dream. Artists were asked to respond to the relevance of the “American dream” in today’s socio-political climate, and to commemorate the one-year anniversary of TEMPOart’s inaugural project in Lincoln Park, Judith Hoffman’s The American Dream, which will remain on view through the summer.

Christina Bechstein, Christian Prasch, and John Sundling were selected based on their innovative project proposals by the TEMPOart board, and local arts professionals Stephen Benenson, Rachael Harkness, and Justin Levesque. The installations will launch at successive First Fridays in June, July and August (all projects are subject to approval by the City of Portland).

John Sundling will address the original boundary of Lincoln Park, as it was before the existing communities were razed to make way for Franklin Street. Sundling is interested in exploring these lost physical and social spaces via the visual language of temporary sculpture and ephemeral materials.

Sundling is an artist and designer, working in diverse disciplines including floristry, set design, sculpture, curation, and custom fabrication. His sculptural work has primarily been large-scale, often outdoors with an emphasis on the effects of time and nature on the pieces. Sundling is most interested in the blurry edges of his practices and how they inform each other.

Christina Bechstein will collaborate with gardeners, neighbors and friends from all over the world at the Boyd Street Community Garden and Cultivating Community. She will gather drawings, recipes, and growing patterns from diverse voices to create an aesthetic landscape to remind us of the importance of tending to our earth and our collective dreams.

Bechstein is an artist, mother and educator who has taught in art, design, and architecture programs across the United States. Her art practice is interdisciplinary and collaborative in nature, encompassing and overlapping such fields as social sculpture, large scale community-based public art, activism, sculpture, textiles, film and performance.

Christian Aaron Prasch will install an interactive sculpture in Post Office Park that occupies the space as either a wall or a community gathering space. The artist will create an arena that spurs us to consider together how we should utilize our resources.

Prasch is a design professional in the Engineering and Infrastructure Group at the Portland Amec Foster Wheeler office. He has worked in Los Angeles with Michael Maltzan Architects, ProtoHomes, Design Hunter LA, and Kim Lewis Designs, and earned his Master’s degree from Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Prasch strives to instigate constructive interaction and community relationships through his design, and he treats play and experimentation as his most important tools for developing and realizing his work.