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Symposium Spotlights Midwest Environment, Sustainability

Michael Allen
Preservation Research Office

A five-day symposium with a funny name wants to promote environmental and sustainability awareness in the Midwest.

The Marfa Dialogues, which ends Sunday at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, includes several activities to highlight creative approaches to addressing environmental issues.

Architectural historian Michael Allen and installation artist Carlie Trosclair are creating an installation today that highlights urban demolition in St. Louis, “30 Days of Demolition.”

“Marfa Dialogues gave us a great opportunity to do something creative that we wouldn’t normally be able to do,” said Allen, director of Preservation Research Office. “Demolition isn’t the only answer or solution for right-sizing the city. Our project really confronts people with the data that they might not always think about.”

Trosclair and Allen will use bricks from a local brickyard to outline the floorplan of the house that stood at 3719 Washington Blvd., which is across the street from the Pulitzer, from 1879 to 1971. Trosclair said one of the house’s residents founded the Laclede Firebrick Co.

“I would hope this really enables different ways of seeing demolition,” Allen said. “Buildings are made of second nature — natural materials.” The outline of the house “really gives you a spatial experience,” he said.

Allen will moderate a discussion Saturday between Eddie Roth, Mayor Francis Slay’s deputy chief of staff, and Donna Lindsay, a Hyde Park resident, on Saturday at the “ghost house.”

”What looks like a single vacant house is actually a network of economic, social, environmental and political considerations that shape our futures,” Allen said.

Also Saturday, milkweed seeds will distributed inside balloons at the Tower Grove Farmers Market, and artists, scientists and policy makers will lead a series of walks from the former Pruitt-Igoe urban housing project to the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. Marfa Dialogues wraps up Sunday with a foraging expedition.   

Related Events

Pulitzer Arts Foundation presents "Marfa Dialogues"
July 30-Aug. 3, 2014
Various times
Various locations

Marfa Dialogues / St. Louis presents “30 Days of Demolition”
Aug. 2, 2014
The installation is open all day; 1 p.m. discussion
Across the street from the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, 3716 Washington Blvd.

Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.