Contemporary Art

Off the Grid in Texas

'Off the Grid in West Texas'
‘Off the Grid in West Texas’

Janeil Engelstad at The Reading Room. For over a century the State Fair of Texas, the largest state fair in the country, has been a mainstream showcase for agriculture, crafts and livestock that is sponsored, in part, by big agri-business. On Saturday, September 22 from 7 to 9 pm—during the 2012 State Fair of Texas—Janeil Engelstad is producing an exhibition at The Reading Room, which is located across the street from the fairgrounds that will be a parallel universe to the official state fair.

Titled, Y’UTOPIAS: An Almanac (of sorts) of Sustainable and Off-the-Grid Living in Texas, the project investigates and documents sustainable and off-the-grid living, farming and ranching throughout the state. The installation includes photographs, video and text from her interviews with people who are, in many ways, contemporary Texan pioneers. Like any good state fair, Y’UTOPIAS includes demonstrations and other events. Engelstad has built a functioning worm farm that will demonstrate how worm castings can be used to make worm wine and naturally fertilize a garden.

Engelstad is director of two multi-disciplined and multi-faceted art projects, Voices from the Center and MAP (Make Art With Purpose). Her practice is advocacy oriented, addressing social, political, historical and environmental concerns, and is international in scope. Engelstad has lectured and taught at universities throughout North American and Europe and was a 2006 Fulbright Scholar at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia. She received an MFA in Photography from New York University/International Center for Photography.

The opening reception is Saturday, Sept 22 from 7 to 9 pm, and you can look forward to some Shiner Bock and Wanda Dye’s infamous BBQ! This exhibition will be open during the State Fair of Texas on Thursdays through Sundays 1:00 to 5:00 pm through October 21.

There will be special demonstrations in conjunction with the exhibition:
Sunday, September 23, 3:00 pm, Raw & Vegan Chef and Cook Book Author, Haylee Otto will demonstrate how to make milk from nuts and seeds.
Sunday, Oct. 7, 3:00 pm, Lisa Staffelbach, Chef and Owner of 24 Carrot Health, will teach fermenting. Come learn how to make sauerkraut and take your own jar home!
Sunday, Oct 14, 3:00 pm, Raw Food Chef Phebe Phiilips will demonstrate how to start a sprout farm and grow your vegetables indoors in your kitchen.

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