Inside the Art for the Living Landscapes Conference

…And how to get a postcard with the artwork!

Meet the artist behind our stunning conference art, Kimberly Barzola.

Born and raised on the North Shore of Massachusetts, Kimberly is a first-generation Quechua artist and librarian/archivist in training. Her primary mediums include muralism, relief printmaking, and acrylic painting; some of her vibrant murals can be found in nearby towns of Chelsea and Salem, Mass. Through her work, she responds to the social movements here in the US and across Latin America.

In describing her inspiration for the piece, Kimberly writes, “For this piece I was inspired by my photographs of the New England coastline and in particular, my hometown Salem’s rocky beaches. Cranberries, stinging nettle, barnacles, mussels, acorns, and clams are featured because they are just some of the coast’s wild foods that can be foraged! The earth is so abundant and claims that say otherwise speak to the incredibly wasteful system of production and distribution that prioritize profit and exploitation over ecological alignment and native stewardship of the land. We owe it to the stewards of this land before us and those who will live many generations after us to do everything we can to forcefully and radically take the action needed to align society with earth’s resilient systems.”

Kimberly’s piece was made through a process called printmaking, in which the artist transfers the sketch onto a piece of linoleum, carves out the negative space by hand, inks the block, and prints the final design onto paper. See Kimberly’s initial sketch for the print below, where she labeled some of the landscapes’ components, including: leaves, acorns, barnacles, mussels, clams, waves, and the rocky shoreline.

In the image below, check out the different local wild and foraged foods in the final image.

Since we started planning this conference last fall, we knew this conference would be more than a gathering of traditional ‘academic’ speakers. In addition to the uncertainties of COVID, the conference’s focus on the intersections of environmental stewardship and social justice required us to reflect on how to actively center people, voices, ideas, and practices that have traditionally been excluded from ‘the Academy.’

Art is a powerful way to make provoking, transformative ideas tangible, present alternative ways of seeing, and engage a broader audience. We are grateful for Brain Arts Org/Dorchester Art Project—a multi-pronged nonprofit with the mission to realize creative independence in systematically undervalued communities—for connecting us with Kimberly. We are also super grateful for Kimberly’s willingness to not only turn the conference’s broad ideas into a visual reality, but to share her own relationship to the local landscape(s) with all of us.

In thinking about other ways in which we could expand the impact of the conference, we asking folks to make a donation to a community organization upon registering for the Living Landscapes conference. If you can, make a donation and send us your receipt to receive a (snail-mail!) postcard with Kimberly’s awesome artwork on it.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Register for Living Landscapes.
  2. Donate any amount to one of the following orgs, many of which were recommended by our speakers:
  1. Send your receipt and full address to
  2. We’ll mail you a postcard!

Register today!

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