|The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, in partnership with the African American Museum of Iowa and CSPS, will welcome a new piece of public art to Cedar Rapids next month. Jordan Weber, a Des Moines-based multidisciplinary artist and activist, will unveil “Regenerations” to the community on Thursday, November 5.
Weber works at the cross section of social justice and environmental justice. “Regenerations” combines his passion for both issues by focusing on breathing. This is in reference to the “I can’t breathe” rallying cry shared by Black Lives Matter protestors across the nation, as well as the practice of meditation to reclaim one’s connection to earth.
“The simple act to ‘breathe in and breathe out’ to maintain life is in constant threat in our communities from toxic eco-systems to violent interactions with police,” Weber says. “We, as a collective body of sentient beings, have to reclaim our connection to land and human stewardship completely separate from the pitfalls of political tribalism. I would like this installation to act as a point for individuals to just breathe. Disconnect with your ego, your sense of self, and your conditioned mind in order to reconnect with the totality of your existence on this planet with fellow human beings. We must unify in order to heal our lands and our communities – together.”
Weber gained prominence for a series of urban land remediation projects on vacant lots and deconstructed police vehicles turned community gardens. His work has been exhibited in galleries across the country, including White Box Gallery in New York; The Luminary in St. Louis; The Bemis Art Center in Omaha, Neb.; the Des Moines Art Center; Smack Mellon in New York; and Manifest Justice in Los Angeles. He was A Blade of Grass Fellow for Socially Engaged Art and a Tanne Award recipient. He has received the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation fellowship, as well as the African American Leadership Forum Award. He is currently the 2019-2020 artist in residence at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn., and Headlands Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif.
Weber will install his work at CSPS Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 4. A public panel with Weber will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5. The panel is hosted by NCSML with support from ACT, Inc. Up to 30 people maximum can attend the panel on site. Per CSPS COVID-19 policies, all attendees will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing. Masks are available to purchase for $1 at the box office. Attendees will have their temperature checked at the door. Anyone experiencing any symptoms, of who may have possibly been expose to anyone will be asked to stay home. It also will be streamed live on the Facebook pages for CSPS, the African American Museum of Iowa, and the NCSML.
The artwork’s unveiling will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, followed by First Thursday at CSPS at 6 p.m. The unveiling also will be streamed live on each organization’s Facebook page.