For over thirty years, internationally known environmental artist,
Cindy Snodgrass has attracted the attention of educational organizations
by weaving environmental activities into community artwork and educational
In 2002, Snodgrass participated in
over two hundred residency days in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Her philosophy
on the union of such work is explained in her own words from her artist-in-education
statement in the 2002 Ohio Arts Directory.
Snodgrass began “collaborating” with
nature in the 1970's working with family and friends to produce wind
sculptures of architectural scale. In 1981, she was awarded an Individual
Artists Crafts grant through the National Endowment for the Arts.
This NEA grant funded wind installations for the University of New
Mexico, Albuquerque; The Johnson Museum at Cornell University, NY;
and the Dayton Art Institute-Experience Center, Dayton, OH.
In 2000, she received $14,500 for “Turtle
Vision: A Closer Look at Water from an Aquatic Point of View,” from
the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation's "Artist-as-Catalyst"
grant. The International Children’s Festival (ICF), in collaboration
with the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, hosted her residency. Participants
created a large-scale, public artwork that focused the communities’
attention on issues regarding water. Other grants awarded to Snodgrass
include the Heinz Endowment, the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Grable
Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Snodgrass has worked in many different
media, inluding kinetic, large scale, and site-specific wind installations
which have flown between large building in New York City, Chicago,
Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Dayton, Knoxville, Ithaca, Duluth.
In 1981, a video of her work was presented at the Tenth Biennale Internationale
de la Tapisserie, Musee Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Tayamentasachta: never-ending waters
(work-in-progress) is an example of a three-story interior collage
at the Pumphouse of the old Carnegie Steel Mill in Homestead, PA.
This environmental water installation explains how the lack of clean
water creates a precarious ecological situation. It juxtaposes sounds
of birds and water, to contrasting sounds of military force. The site
sculpture includes over seventy colorful painted Dovetail birds with
the gifts of nature (rainbows, fruits, veggies, animals, trees, raindrops
and plants) painted on their wings and backs. They were created with
elementary students in an Ohio residency in 2002.
Another 2002 project incorporated and
transformed both personal images that were taken from nature and the
diverse international student population at McNichols Plaza Elementary
School in Scranton, PA, into an inspiring outdoor installation. At
the magnet school where over thirty-nine languages are spoken, the
diversity of perceptions, aesthetics and expression inspired the students,
the art teacher Beth Burkhauser (who collaborated), and Ms. Snodgrass.
Together, they created a huge exterior 3D painted mural, titled Nature’s
Quilt. The school documented this mural and then published a
calendar that is being sold to fundraise future art and garden projects.
These colorful environmental works are
created in a collaborative community process. She encourages participants
to communicate their skills and ideas to others, this not only increases
participation, but as Snodgrass states, “art making is an act of faith¸
full of surprises and endless opportunities.”
Her vast teaching experience has taken
her to numerous college and university campuses, including Syracuse,
Washington and Carnegie Mellon; has also delivered lectures at MIT,
Rhode Island School of Design, and Cranbrook Academy and the Cleveland
Institute of Art, where she was chair of the textile department.
Reproductions of her work have appeared
in: Whole Cloth, Monacelli Press, NY, 1997; and, Textile Art, Rizzoli,
NY, 1985. Other publications include: three articles in Fiberarts
magazine with a cover in 1979, Teaching Tolerance Magazine, Miami
Herald, Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Tribune, American Craft, Textile
Art and in over a hundred more publications. Snodgrass has insightful
comments about the media, because her works are fleeting celebrations,
they are more of a large-scale performance than anything else. “It’s
news, on the front page. It’s part of daily life, and it’s not closed
off in just the arts section.”
From 1983-1991, she participated through
the Digital Art Exchange (DAX) with artists from Austria, Brazil,
Senegal, and the UK. In the summer of 2002, she and her daughter Erin
Beasley worked with Lilly Yeh’s community arts projects for the Village
of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia and they plan to return
for a larger project in 2003.
In 2004, she will be developing international
partnerships to create collaborative wind installations that support
environmental and peace initiatives. Currently, she is building a
website that will show the potential for the blending of arts and
environmental awareness to change our urban spaces and human interactions.
of Julius Vitali