What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?
Exit Art’s desire to share our love of the rainforest in a singular experience with the international and local community that surrounds the area is paramount to this program. The center will be launched in the summer of 2011, bringing ten participants two at a time over the course of the first year.
The project has two components, an artist residency and a conservation education program.
For each two-week retreat we will bring two individuals to our 4-acre property in El Yunque where we will cover all travel and living expenses. The retreat will provide participants, who often come from urban areas, with both a respite from the caustic nature of city life, as well as a place to reflect on the fragile beauty of these disappearing rainforests. For many of the artists this will be a first significant exposure to the natural environment of the rainforest.
We are designing and building two autonomous “habitat sculptures” for artists, designed structures that function as living sculptures. Habitat sculptures exist between art, architecture and design, and elevate the dynamic between an inhabitant and the built environment. We have completed the Project Manager’s residence, the office, a fully furnished kitchen and bathroom, the walkway to the river and the base for the first Artist’s compound. In building these structures we utilize regional building materials, certified wood construction, post consumer building products, low emission paints, composite woods, and sealants.
Over time we will be able to establish a residency that will attract an international community to Puerto Rico, specifically the El Yunque Rainforest.
Exit Art has partnered with the Centro para la Conservacion del Pasajage, Inc to participate in the Rio Espíritu Santo Watershed Improvement-Reforestation Program. Through CCP’s Epsìritù Santo Watershed Reforestation Project, the vegetation and lands adjacent to the river and its tributaries will be reforested and improved, while a new breeding habitat for the highly endangered Puerto Rican parrot will be developed. The reforestation will be accomplished by planting indigenous trees and shrubs that will, in turn, improve soil quality and prevent erosion and sedimentation. CCP will integrate community groups to expand reforestation management initiatives and to educate tourists and locals on the importance of the river. The next step is to bring schoolchildren on site to plant trees and shrubs and to educate them on the importance of conservation.
Through our joint conservation efforts with CCP's Espirtu Snato Watershed Reforestation project we intend to create an ecological experience in the rainforest that will promote international tourism and local arts and culture. We have already planted on hundred trees on our site and we are currently exploring the use of renewable energy sources and the collection of rainwater for potable drinking water.
What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.
For our project to be successful we will finish construction on all of the facilities and launch our residency program this coming summer. Construction began in September 2009 and we have already completed the following structures:
1. The Temple of the Collective Ego: This 18 foot high, 18 foot wide and 42 foot long building is the meeting point of the project. The temple is a living environmental sculpture, a meditative place of meeting. The building will have 26 circular windows of different sizes, representing the Roman alphabet that will each be numbered.
2. The project office: this will house the on-sight computer and be the first room the artists enter for orientation.
3. Project Manager’s residence: a second story residence above the office, which includes a bathroom and shower.
4. Fully furnished kitchen that includes a stove, oven, refrigerator/freeze, a washer/dryer and a bathroom and includes a large common area for communal eating
5. Walkway to the river and
6. Base for the first artist residence.
Other Sustainable Design Measures:
• Utilizing regional building materials, certified wood construction, post consumer building products, low emission paints, composite woods, and sealants
• Use of renewable energy sources (solar, wind power, etc.)
• Construction of a platform walkway to reduce visitor impact upon the ecology
• Collection of rainwater for bathrooms, laundry and potable drinking water
• Reforestation of property by an accredited arborist
What would prevent your project from being a success?
Without major investments in the next year we will not be able to initiate our programming in Puerto Rico in the summer of 2011. Our future with this project rests heavily on funding and support from foundations, individuals and our board.