The SS Palo Alto Art Park project is a collaborative project of Barbara Benish and ArtDialogue alongside the UN Safe Planet Campaign for Responsibility of Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes, with support from the Social Practice Arts Research Center at UCSC. The SS Palo Alto Art Park project is a place for environmental awareness and public outreach on issues of contemporary marine life and the impact of hazardous chemicals and wastes (particularly POPs) on the environment.
Working with Czech Republic based ArtDialogue alongside the the UN Safe Planet Campaign for Responsibility of Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes and the California States Parks, SPARC will support the development of the SS Palo Alto Art Park Project to create a satellite research space/art park for experimental arts and ecological research. This multi-year project is in the development stages but will be used by SPARC, artists, scientists, UCSC faculty and students.
On March 29th 2011, SPARC hosted the first annual symposium of the group, bringing together researchers, professionals and others to discuss art, science, education, and social change with a strong environmental focus.
In October 2012 SPARC hosted the second meeting of key researchers and participants for development of the project. Details here.In Spring 2013 Benish worked to create "Ship to Shore" -- a public art event to raise awareness on our ocean’s environment at the S.S. Palo Alto, Seacliff State Park, on May 22, 2013. The event kicked off with a beach clean up with Save Our Shores at 10 a.m. in Aptos, in front of the Snack Shack at Seacliff. The public, including over 80 school children, was introduced to basics about plastic pollution and helped clean the shore around the ship. Students from UCSC's Public Art Class with Professor Dee Hibbert-Jones created fun activities for the children to help them understand how our daily waste habits are hurting marine life, and ultimately, us. Viewers were able to see "belly sculptures" collecting trash on the beach, handmade kites flying in the sky, ride a fish bike, join a parade and help clean the beach. Information tables were on hand for the general public to learn more about marine sustainability. Prizes for kids and take-home gifts were available.
In 2013 Benish and ArtDialogue have presented on SPARC and the SSPA project in Macedonia, Prague, and Santa Cruz. Learn more here: http://www.art-dialogue.org/about/conferences-lectures