For Immediate Release: October 27, 2016
Carolyn Reilly, Project Coordinator| CarolynReilly3@gmail.com | (540) 488-4358
Kelly Love, Design Consultant | KellyLove@susten8.space | (434) 473-0023
Anne Bernard, Landowner & Artist | email@example.com | (540) 334-2960
“Woven Gaze: Eyes of the Earth” Project Unveiled
Franklin County, Virginia— Today, artists, landowners, and eco-activists celebrated the launch of Woven Gaze: Eyes of the Earth. Conceived by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), the unveiling of the project involved many coordinated efforts of people throughout the region; leadership for this launch included Steve and Anne Bernard, Kelly Love and Carolyn Reilly.
The Bernard’s are both artists and landowners who have lived on their land for over 30 years and call Boones Mill, VA home. The proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is routed through their land, within 170 feet of their home. Anne shared: “As a landscape artist, I’ve always felt a connection to the land. Now we have taken a wonderfully creative step to protect our home and the land we love.” The Bernard’s Woven Gaze installation includes two eyes of the earth, talisman shaped like eyes with the symbol for the four directions (representing the earth) in the center. They gaze at the natural beauty, historical significance of the Bernard’s land. A unique cross-like sculpture, designed and built by Steve Bernard, is in view of the Woven Gaze and is also in the direct path of the proposed MVP.
Kelly Love, founder of Susten8, Master Naturalist and an eco-activist from Lynchburg, VA, assisted in the project design, preparation and launch. Love’s passion for land, community well-being and art were a natural fit for her strategic involvement in Woven Gaze. Love stated, “Woven Gaze pays homage to the land and the vision of life given to those who are blessed to call the land they walk their own. It unleashes the regenerative life-bringing energy which springs forth from this vibrant connectivity to the earth; celebrating the unique landscapes, igniting the creative spark of the human spirit and honoring the sacred “studio” spaces of nature in which beauty emerges with such wonder by both chance and design.” Love also shared that Woven Gaze seeks to unite indigenous kindred near and far who strive to preserve and protect this shared sanctity of an earth, still fertile yet so fragile.
BREDL Community Organizer and Woven Gaze Project Coordinator, Carolyn Reilly, shared about the project’s positive placement for landowners. Reilly’s land is also directly in the path of the proposed MVP and she knows the range of emotions and the deep frustrations that landowners experience. “Woven Gaze is a masterful marriage of art and land, uniting people and communities, empowering landowners who choose to get involved. This project is an organic expression that is being planted today. I look forward to watching it grow.” Reilly added that because of the various reasons for landowners to participate, Woven Gaze has an expansive quality without any borders. She concluded, “Whether for property and land rights or environmental concerns, the point is to think out of the box; this project is beyond the box, it’s deep and it’s wide.”
Lou Zeller, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League’s executive director, said that much preparation went into the Woven Gaze project to make it successful. According to Zeller, “Our purpose is to unify people, confound bureaucrats, increase visibility, inspire hope and compel action.” He added that the art will be protected under the Visual Artists Rights Act, preventing destruction, distortion, or mutilation of the work.
The Woven Gaze initiative has been designed to harness the power of co-creative energy through interwoven actions, as symbolized in the launch by iconic images of the “Eyes of the Earth”.
Woven Gaze is an artistic intervention initiative uniting landowners, artists and eco-activists in their efforts to stop pipelines from harming our shared ecology and indigenous culture. The overarching purpose is to strengthen collaborative efforts to protect the sacred earth as well as promote individual well-being and resilience of communities through the creative process.