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$2,481
pledged of $6,000pledged of $6,000 goal
31
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jun 17 2019
Last updated June 17, 2019

Transforming a ruin into a garden for a plant concert (Canceled)

Martin Roth will create an installation in homage to Andrew Jackson Downing, the influential landscape designer, in Newburgh NY.

Transforming a ruin into a garden for a plant concert (Canceled)

Martin Roth will create an installation in homage to Andrew Jackson Downing, the influential landscape designer, in Newburgh NY.

$2,481
pledged of $6,000pledged of $6,000 goal
31
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jun 17 2019
Last updated June 17, 2019

About

 Martin Roth: In June 2019 I created a home with a garden 

Current interior of the installation site
Current interior of the installation site

MINIMUM GOAL of $6,000 will allow us to complete the project and open it to the public in early July. 

STRECH GOAL of $10,000 will allow us to open the front Grand Street entrance (rather than using only the back entrance), AND add lots of public programming. 

About the project

The Newburgh "City Club" building is an important historic site originally built as a home in 1852 - now a ruin overtaken by nature. Inside is a jungle of plants and mature trees growing out the top of the roofless structure. It would already be amazing to open the doors of an abandoned building to find a secret garden... but this isn't any abandoned building! It happens to be designed by Andrew Jackson Downing and Calvert Vaux, and one of the last standing buildings by Downing - America's most influential landscape designer. 

Downing was from Newburgh and lived just blocks from this site - and became one of the most prominent writers and tastemakers of his time. In 1850 he invited Calvert Vaux from England, and they began their collaborations on the White House and Smithsonian grounds. Unfortunately Downing died at a young age, but Vaux went on to famously design many major American parks with Frederick Law Olmsted, including Central Park, Prospect Park, and their final collaboration, Downing Park, named of course for their mentor and collaborator AJ Downing, also located in Newburgh. 

Martin Roth is an installation artist whose work manifests in poetic interpretations of the sites he uses, creating a set of parameters in which the environment itself can become an actor or collaborator in the piece. Strongroom invited Martin Roth to come Newburgh and he was especially inspired by this site, not only for its incredible history, but also the immediate beauty of the structure being overtaken by nature. A year and a half later, we are ready to complete the work. 

Martin will turn the interior of the structure into a "plant concert" and public garden, ironically referencing Downing’s philosophy that homes should exist harmoniously with nature, and exploring the idea of parks as domesticated nature. The project will pay homage to this important American history, and provide an immersive experience for the community. Visitors will be allowed to enter an abandoned building-turned-garden, which for decades has been a symbol of urban blight in Newburgh. The artist notes, “While citizens of Newburgh are very aware of nature overtaking buildings and mainly see this as an eyesore, I want to alter and shape the environment inside the building to emphasize the beauty in nature reclaiming a site in an urban setting.” In addition to creating a conceptual installation and community space, this project will celebrate Newburgh’s architectural history and relationship to landscape design, as championed by our native Downing.

The "natural concert hall" will be created with devices that amplify the internal sounds of the plants, creating an immersive experience and place to contemplate our connection to nature. Each sensor creates different notes, together forming a magical "plant concert" throughout the garden.

Martin says, "For the duration of the exhibition the building will exist in two parallel realities: as the site of the former City Club, but also as the home of this new illusionary public garden. I will work closely with the natural environment of trees and bushes that already exist inside the site, but alter it, and in a sense cultivate it, with more colorful plants and flowers, and a winding path.  I believe that if you change reality just a little bit, everything changes.” 

Referencing A.J. Downing’s ideas for this building when it was first built as the home of William Culbert, it will be as Downing stated, "a home with a garden." While the building was used as the Newburgh City Club, it was a club for the city’s leading businessmen and politicians in the past. In today’s political climate it will be especially exciting to make a statement that makes this space for everyone in Newburgh. 

Artist rendering of proposed garden
Artist rendering of proposed garden

How you can help

This is Strongroom's most ambitious project to date - meaning it is also the most expensive! 

We need to raise $6,000 just to open the doors of the installation to the public - which includes debris removal, landscaping, engineering costs, insurance costs, and sound equipment. We are operating with entirely volunteer help and have a very short timeline to achieve this to open by early July.

STRETCH GOAL: With $4,000 more we will be able to continue to improve the garden by creating a viewing platform off the main door to the building on Grand Street. We will also be able to plan a full schedule of incredible public programs throughout the season, affording materials for children and youth workshops, and inviting professionals and historians to speak on the history of landscape architecture, as well as urban planning and adaptive reuse in our community. If we reach our stretch goal of $10,000 we will be able to not only complete the project, but see it through to its fullest potential, creating a full summer of programs for the local community in this magical space! 

Postcard of the City Club site in 1910, the inspiration for our postcard rewards
Postcard of the City Club site in 1910, the inspiration for our postcard rewards

About the artist, Martin Roth

Martin Roth was born in Austria and lives and works in New York City. He has exhibited internationally, including group exhibitions at The Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Künstlerhaus and mumok, Vienna, Austria; Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Berlin, Germany; The Artist's Institute and Kunstraum, New York, NY; and solo shows at Capitol Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Biquini Wax, Mexico City, Mexico; and Louis B. James, New York, NY. Most recently he had solo exhibitions at the Austrian Cultural Foundation, and yours mine and ours gallery in New York City. He also currently has an installation at the Riverside Art Museum in Beijing. 

In his installations, Roth often plays with the clash of natural and artificial. His practice has consistently pushed at the various interdependencies that make up one’s habitat, calling into question the idea of a “natural environment” through a mutual contamination of organic and artificial elements. Often circling around the nurture of living organisms, his works are strangely intimate and invite the viewer if not to engage directly, at least to consider their relationship to the work on a human scale.

To see examples of Martin’s previous works, please visit: http://martinroth.at/en/

About Strongroom 

Strongroom is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2016 and based exclusively in Newburgh. We do not have a permanent space. Instead, our mission is to bring high-quality contemporary art installations and related public programs to various neighborhoods in Newburgh, utilizing empty, underused, and public spaces through temporary site-specific installations by professional artists. Strongroom was founded by Newburgh resident Kelly Schroer. 

To see examples of past Strongroom projects, please visit: www.strongroom.us

Contact

info@strongroom.us

Risks and challenges

Working in an abandoned building comes with challenges! We've already overcome the necessary approvals from the City of Newburgh, secured ample insurance, and found a wonderful engineering partner who has given us the green light for public safety. The next step is to build the garden, for which we need support from donors and volunteers. The interior is full of poison ivy to remove first and foremost, followed by debris removal and of course the planting. Whether you can or cannot give towards the campaign, please get in touch if you would like to volunteer!

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    Donor recognition on our materials

    Public shout out on Strongroom's social media and your name listed among our donors on public signage.The full amount of your donation is tax deductible.

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    Strongroom tote

    Public shout out on Strongroom's Instagram and your name listed among our donors on public signage PLUS a Strongroom tote bag.The estimated value of the goods and services offered at this level is $10; the remainder of your contribution is tax-deductible.

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    Limited edition postcards

    Public shout out on Strongroom's instagram and your name listed among our donors on public signage, PLUS a Strongroom tote bag, AND a limited edition postcard inspired by turn of the century postcards of Newburgh and the City Club. The estimated value of the goods and services offered at this level is $20; the remainder of your contribution is tax-deductible.

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    1 Ticket to Strongroom fundraiser

    Public shout out on Strongroom's instagram and your name listed among our donors on public signage, PLUS a Strongroom tote bag, AND a limited edition postcard inspired by turn of the century postcards of Newburgh and the City Club. During the summer we will host a special fundraiser event in the garden and one ticket comes with your donation at this level.
    The estimated value of the goods and services offered at this level is $95; the remainder of your contribution is tax-deductible.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    2 Tickets to Strongroom fundraiser

    Public shout out on Strongroom's instagram and your name listed among our donors on public signage, PLUS a Strongroom tote bag, AND a limited edition postcard inspired by turn of the century postcards of Newburgh and the City Club. During the summer we will host a special fundraiser event in the garden and two tickets come with your donation at this level.
    The estimated value of the goods and services offered at this level is $170; the remainder of your contribution is tax-deductible.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    2 Tickets and Artwork by Martin Roth

    For donations $1,000 and up: Public shout out on Strongroom's instagram and your name listed among our donors on public signage, PLUS a Strongroom tote bag, AND a limited edition postcard of the installation, inspired by turn of the century postcards of Newburgh and the City Club. During the summer we will host a special fundraiser event in the garden and two tickets come with your donation at this level. For this level only, Martin Roth will be creating an artwork in an edition of 5 (unframed). The estimated value of the goods and services offered at this level is $670; the remainder of your contribution is tax-deductible.

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Funding period

- (20 days)