In This Issue



Boxer Bob finds a sign in mansion rubble. REFUSE REFUGE. Photo © Robin Lasser

ISSUE NO. 7 has the modest goal of spotlighting artists’ strategies in initiating activist community-based art.  It’s a step toward illuminating the larger field, while avoiding the hubris of claiming more than is possible in this space.   Community-based art has grown exponentially in the past two decades, but still it’s misunderstood, oversimplified, and/or co-opted. Issue No. 7 presents a small but substantial and meaningful set of artist-cultivated community projects.

The term “cultivating” yields images of gardening and farming: the hard labor of doing what it takes for something to grow.  Cultivating encompasses more than seeding for survival; it labors to find meaning in work and, here, in the art.

I thank ON MY MIND writer/theorist Linda Weintraub for the term “cultivating community.”   It is borrowed from her rigorous essay,  “The Fall and Rise of Community.” It’s an excellent place to start reading, and toward understanding the issues.  She includes artists and projects from Rwanda, Nigeria, and Finland.

WEAD itself is an artist-cultivated, artist-led community.  Always seeking broader international ties, we welcome essays in this issue on projects in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Great Britain, India, and Taiwan, as well as in multiple U.S. regions.


Larissa Marangoni from Ecuador is Issue No. 7’s Feature Artist.  A lauded solo sculptor with numerous public commissions, she grew dissatisfied and sought deeper community connections. Franja Arte Communidad is a rural community arts residency program she created and directs. We honor her creativity and tenacity, working under complex cultural, economic, and geographic conditions.


Guadalupe Urbina, a Costa Rican “cultural treasure,” is the subject of a biographical appreciation by Verona Fonte. Like Larissa, Guadalupe enjoys solo success—hers on the world music stage—but is compelled to bring art, music, and ecology to children in isolated farm villages, similar to the one she was raised in.

British artist Loraine Leeson, a true pioneer in the community-based art genre, traces her 30 years of cultural activism in the “intense community life” of the East London waterfront.  Her career follows the upheavals of inner urban life and the maturing dynamics of collaborative community strategies. We can all learn from her flexibility and pragmatism.

Artist Wu Mali and economist-organizer Margaret Shiu created the Plum Tree Creek Project—a cross-disciplinary, multi-year, multi-event ecofeminist cultural action in Taiwan.  Visiting artist Reiko Goto (Scotland) observes and critiques the project within its activist lineage.  Its subtitle—“Mending the Broken Land with Water”—refers to how water creates community.

Lalitha Shankar (Bangalore India) and Trena Noval (San Francisco Bay Area, CA) introduce 3rd Space Lab—a seven-member cross-cultural artist collective established in 2012.  Its mission to establish a global commons between India and California, forming a new landscape of merged thinking and identity, is based on Satang—the Sanskrit definition of community.

Activist ecoartist Aviva Rahmani has developed a unique “trigger point theory as aesthetic activism.”  An ecoart pioneer, Rahmani has spent years developing a scientific cross-disciplinary community researching methods of resistance to pending environmental disaster.  She shares her community’s hope of discovering processes for resilience for vanishing species and for cleaning polluted waters.

Photographer activist Robin Lasser laments the imminent passing of the self-created community of “homeless” people living on a San Francisco Bay landfill site in Refuse Refuge She and collaborators Barbara Boissevain, Judith Leinen and Danielle Siembieda document the endangered culture and give residents a platform to speak in their own voices, of their own concerns.


WEAD SEED Artist Lynne Hull presents a portfolio of images from her project in a remote village in Colombia—a true collaboration between community and artist, working with materials on hand, on projects trying to address pragmatic needs. 

Artist educator Michele Guieu recounts educational strategies in her sophisticated on-the-ground projects integrating environmental science-and-art lessons into the new demands of elementary school curriculum programs seeking to teach science through the arts in California.


The Portfolio is a mini snapshot-style on line exhibit curated to spotlight WEAD members’ work on the Issue theme. From the many submissions, the Exhibition Committee chose these particular projects for creative excellence, uniqueness and diversity of approach.

The Portfolio is an asset of WEAD membership that gives artists the opportunity to share their recent work. Join WEAD now! There’s an open call every issue to be considered, so send us a few images with brief descriptions.


Working title—Feminism Now. 

Where/what is activist feminism today?  How is it expressed in eco and social justice art?  Who/where are young feminists?  It’s time to evaluate what’s going on. All essay proposals welcome.  Send them to

NOTE:  we will publish only one issue in 2015.  We’re seeking funding and sponsorships to support publication! For more information on supporting this magazine and WEAD, please visit