Windowfarms and Plant Parenthood

The artist works with kids to make plant art

Britta Riley (Windowfarms) works with children Windowfarms at the Whitney's tenth annual Family Day, October 3, 2009. Photograph by Sean Carroll

During our tenth Annual Family Day, families enjoyed two artist projects designed and installed especially for the event, and inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe's interest in the natural world around her. Britta Riley and her fantastic crew of fellow farmers created a huge indoor windowfarm installation for the Museum's front windows, demonstrating that it is indeed possible to grow your own vegetable garden in New York City, and even at the Whitney! The artists from Windowfarms also designed a single planting system for families to take home their own seedling and start their own windowfarm.

But first, families were encouraged to adopt their plant from artists with Plant ParenthoodArtist Steve Lambert and his collaborators designed a special project for the event to help kids and parents learn about plants and how to care for them. For "Uncommon Ground," families pressed stethoscopes against a large planter of different vegetables, shrubs, and trees to listen to the plants' commentary, discussions, and inner thoughts, voiced by comic actors and friends. Then kids were asked to take a "plant pledge," and promise to care for their newly adopted plant.

All in all, families were offered many ways to enjoy the museum, its exhibitions, and activities. Everyone left with a smile (and a seedling).

By Stina Puotinen