Art Extension Service of the Urban Soils Institute
Toxic Tour Beer Coasters + Soil Lab
Margaret Boozer/ Raina Martens + UnInc., with Glenn Ross
As part of the Land/Trust exhibition Maryland Institute College of Art Jan 19-Feb 22, 2018
Trained as a sculptor and ceramist, Margaret Boozer developed an interest in digging native clays that has led to collaborations with soil scientists and work that explores intersections of art and science. Raina Martens combines ceramic work and installation with her research into waste and toxic byproducts. She grants afterlives to materials like sludge and coal ash, melding them into work that dramatizes the entanglement of social and material worlds. Boozer and Martens have teamed up to support the work of environmental activist, Glenn Ross and his Toxic Tours of East Baltimore. With the help of UnInc., (a subsidiary of Red Dirt Studio, comprising a variable collective of creative professionals developing strategies for cooperative futures through reuse and recycling), Boozer and Martens produce sets of Toxic Tour Beer Coasters composed of materials collected at each of Ross’ Toxic Tour sites. Soil Lab sets up a workstation in the gallery, inviting and training volunteers in collecting site samples, creating beer coasters, and soliciting community engagement. The coasters are tangible objects, connecting purchasers and participants to Ross’ work at the most basic level, the ground. Funds from sales of the coasters go to Ross’ education and outreach efforts.