Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park

 

Above are four images of the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park (JPSP). The first two images include groups of UMBC students in the park during autumn. The third picture shows part of an art installation--a single tree with fallen branches placed up against the base of its trunk. The fourth image shows a JBSP summer yoga class in progress.
Above are four images of the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park (JBSP). The first two images include groups of UMBC students in the park during autumn. The third picture shows part of an art installation–a single tree with fallen branches placed up against the base of its trunk. The fourth image shows a JBSP summer yoga class in progress.

The Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership
20th Anniversary Oral History Collection

This collection of oral histories was created to preserve the experience and expertise of those involved in the creation and maintenance of the four parks that make up the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership. In the 20+ years since its inception, the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership (JBTP) has planted 350 trees and placed several stones, thanks to the work of over 500 people in Baltimore Parks and on the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus. The parks that make up the Tree Partnership also serve as the background and muse for countless public programs for school children and adults, and as a place of reflection and rest in the middle of bustling Baltimore City. The Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership was created in the year 2000, inspired by the 7,000 Oaks that artist Joseph Beuys started in Kassel, Germany in 1982. Renee Van der Stelt, then registrar at the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture, approached the organization then known as TKF (now Nature Sacred) for a grant to aid in this project which reflected Beuys’ ideas of urban environmentalism and art in public spaces. The city parks: Carroll Park, Patterson Park, and Wyman Dell, were picked specifically for their individual strong community organizations, and for their position as a green oasis in busy parts of the city.

The Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership was inspired by the German artist, Joseph Beuys’ (1921-1986) project, 7,000 Oaks: City Forestation Instead of City Administration, in which he planted 7,000 Oak trees in Kassel, Germany. Beuys was a prolific performance artist and very influential artist in the mid-twentieth century. He was born into a Germany falling into fascism, and thus, like many other German children of his generation, took part in the Hitler Youth and eventually served in the German Air Force during World War II. He was a sculpture professor at a college of art in Dusseldorf and had his art in galleries around the world. However, his most influential contribution might be his concept for social sculpture, which presents the idea that art and society are intrinsically linked. He believed that every human was an artist, and that with intention, every action can be art. These artists and their art combined make society. To Beuys, art had the power to change society, and this is exemplified in his work 7,000 Oaks. In 1982, Beuys was asked to create a piece for Documenta, a contemporary art exhibition in Kassel, Germany. Beuys presented a large pile of basalt stones and declared that not one stone would be moved until a tree was planted in its new location. It took years and lots of volunteers, but all the trees were planted by 1987. The idea is that the rock slowly deteriorates, allowing its minerals to be absorbed by the tree next to it. The trees were planted by local volunteers, exhibiting the participatory nature of social sculpture that Beuys thought was imperative to positively shaping society.

The Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership has created a life of its own in the Baltimore metropolitan area over the past 20 years. The parks, and the trees within them, give visitors a much-needed reprieve from city life and a space of reflection. This collection of oral histories serves as a reminder of the hard work, passion, and care that went into the planning, creation, and maintenance of all the moving parts that is the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership.

Renee van der Stelt [she/her] recorded on 6/17/2021

Renee van der Stelt was the spark that ignited the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park. Her previous knowledge and appreciation of Joseph Beuys began when working previously at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis with its large collection of Beuys multiples. Van der Stelt discussed Beuys as an artist, what attracted her to his work and philosophies about art, while also knowing others have been critical of as a person. Together, we discussed her time at UMBC and how this project went from an idea about how art often emerges from people’s creative actions in their lives to four parks across the Baltimore area that have thrived for the past twenty years. She shared the different steps, challenges, and triumphs that came with completing this project as well as some behind-the-scenes insights into how it felt to be part of a small team doing big work. Van der Stelt departed from her position at UMBC in 2008, but for over seven years served as Registrar while also curating an exhibition and running varied education and public programs, tree plantings, and more.

Listen to Renee van der Stelt’s oral history here. 

View the transcript of Renee van der Stelt’s oral history here.

More oral histories about the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership are coming soon!

About the Park

The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture produces diverse programming for the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park. Programs offered in the park include an ongoing series of workshops for metro area K-12 students, UMBC student activities and classes, UMBC Wellness initiatives, community restorative yoga, and site-specific visual art installations and live music and dance performances.

Through the generous support of NatureSacred.org, the initial funder of the park, and UMBC, CADVC has been able to present these programs free and open to the public for the last 20 years!

Visit cadvc.umbc.edu/nature to learn about our latest programs.

 

“The true capital of the world is the human ability for creativity, freedom and self-determination in all their
working places.”
  Joseph Beuys

Mission

Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park was built with the intention of creating a meaningful forever green space at UMBC for both the campus and the surrounding communities to strengthen our social bonds, to foster human and natural wellness, and to provide a safe and accessible green space. Through UMBC’s Wellness Initiatives, outreach throughout the metro area, and collaboration by diverse groups, as a community we activate this space, which inspires creativity, collaboration, and healing.

You can be a part of accomplishing this mission. There are a number of ways to help extend the reach to the surrounding community both within and beyond UMBC. Thank you for supporting us in our mission to reconnect our community with nature. To learn more about how to get involved, visit https://cadvc.umbc.edu/?p=3056

Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership Project

Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) was an influential German artist who came to prominence in the 1960s. He is known for his performances, sculptures, environments, vitrines, prints, posters, and thousands of drawings. He was a charismatic and controversial artist, a committed teacher, and a political activist.

Beuys highlighted the need for greater environmental awareness across the globe through his ongoing social sculpture project entitled, 7000 Oaks. With the help of NatureSacred.org and over 20 organizations in Baltimore, 7000 Oaks inspired the planting of hundreds of trees and several stones by over 500 people in Baltimore Parks and at the UMBC sculpture site in 2000-2001. More information and images are at this link.

 

Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership Journal
An image of an open journal from the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park with writing in it.
An image of an open journal from the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park with writing in it.
An image of a closed green Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park journal lies on a bench in the park.
An image of a closed green Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park journal lies on a bench in the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park at UMBC, there is a bench, which contains a blank journal. This journal provides visitors to the park with a forum in which to write or to sketch. Over the years these public journals were collected, scanned, and archived at CADVC. Some of those entries are here for viewing. Please be advised the journal has not been edited in any way and may contain content of a serious or adult nature. Parental guidance is advised.

UMBC 2001-2010 Journal Entries in Downloadable Spreadsheet

Scan of November 2001 Journal

Scan of March 2005 Journal

Scan of August 2008 Journal

Scan of October 2010 Journal

Scan of May 2013 Journal

Scan of June 2018 Journal

 

Land Acknowledgement

With social and environmental awareness at the core of our mission at the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park, we find it critical to acknowledge the ancestral lands of the Piscataway Conoy and Susquehannock peoples that lived and continue to reside on the land that is now UMBC. Over the past 500 years, violence, displacement, and settlement have sought to erase and oppress Indigenous Peoples, their cultures, and their histories. We offer our respect to all past, present, and future Indigenous people connected to this land and we strive to cultivate a space at the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park that prioritizes community, dignity, mindfulness, and personal wellness.   

RESCHEDULED! UMBC Livewire Event - now 10/24, 4 pm

"Rock Garden" Concert Rescheduled for Sunday due to Rain!

EVENT UPDATE
Due to weather the Livewire event at the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park was cut short on Saturday. It is now rescheduled for Sunday, 10/24 at 4 pm.


UMBC's Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership 20th Anniversary Celebration and
Arboretum, by Robert Morris, Performed by UMBC's RUCKUS & Music Department,

A UMBC Livewire Event

On Sunday, October 24th the campus will host UMBC's annual new music festival, Livewire. At 4 pm, RUCKUS, the new music ensemble-in-residence, will be joined by additional faculty and student performers to present a special performance of Robert Morris’s Arboretum

Arboretum is a concert-length work designed as an immersive experience. Performers move around the Sculpture Park as they play, and audience members are encouraged to move as well, changing their perspective on the work over its duration. The composer describes this work as “slowly unfolding... the experience of this music is like watching sunsets, clouds passing, or sea changes.”

The event also marks the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership at UMBC and in Baltimore.

A limited number of grass mats will be provided. Feel free to bring your own blanket, lawn chairs, and picnic to enjoy among the crunch of the fall leaves. This event is free and open to the public.

Find maps, directions, and learn more at cadvc.umbc.edu/beuys.

This event is curated by Sandra Abbott and Daniel Pesca and presented through a partnership between UMBC’s Music Department, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, and the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership. The Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park is supported in part through the generosity of Nature Sacred (naturesacred.org). CADVC’s programs are supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council and Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences.

__________________________________

UMBC is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and is dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of the university community. For complete information, visit our COVID-19 website. Please note:

  • We encourage you and/or your social pod to maintain at least three feet distance from others. 
  • Help us all stay healthy and don’t visit campus if you aren’t feeling well.
  • Masks are not required outdoors unless you are participating in an event that requires them or you are part of a group with children under 12 who cannot physically distance or receive the vaccine.
  • Students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus must wear a mask in indoor public spaces.  Masks must cover your nose and mouth.

For free parking during the event, park immediately adjacent to the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park. Find  links to campus maps and directions to campus when you click on the link below.

https://about.umbc.edu/visitors-guide/directions/


Photos: Marlayna Demond

Posted: October 23, 2021, 9:19 PM

UMBC Livewire Event- October 23, 2021

Beuys 20th Anniversary Celebration & Arboretum

UMBC's Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership 20th Anniversary Celebration and
Arboretum, by Robert Morris, Performed by UMBC's RUCKUS & Music Department,

A UMBC Livewire Event

On Saturday, October 23rd the campus will host UMBC's annual new music festival, Livewire. At 3:30 pm, RUCKUS, the new music ensemble-in-residence, will be joined by additional faculty and student performers to present a special performance of Robert Morris’s Arboretum

Arboretum is a concert-length work designed as an immersive experience. Performers move around the Sculpture Park as they play, and audience members are encouraged to move as well, changing their perspective on the work over its duration. The composer describes this work as “slowly unfolding... the experience of this music is like watching sunsets, clouds passing, or sea changes.”

The event also marks the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership and will include remarks on the Partnership's history and presence at UMBC and in Baltimore.

 Hot cider and a limited number of grass mats will be provided. Feel free to bring your own blanket, lawn chairs, and picnic to enjoy among the crunch of the fall leaves. This event is free and open to the public. 

Find maps, directions, and learn more at cadvc.umbc.edu/beuys.

This event is curated by Sandra Abbott and Daniel Pesca and presented through a partnership between UMBC’s Music Department, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, and the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership. The Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park is supported in part through the generosity of Nature Sacred (naturesacred.org). CADVC’s programs are supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council and Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences.

__________________________________

UMBC is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and is dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of the university community. For complete information, please visit our COVID-19 website. Please note:

  • We encourage you and/or your social pod to maintain at least three feet distance from others. 
  • Help us all stay healthy and don’t visit campus if you aren’t feeling well.
  • Masks are not required outdoors unless you are participating in an event that requires them or you are part of a group with children under 12 who cannot physically distance or receive the vaccine.
  • Students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus must wear a mask in indoor public spaces.  Masks must cover your nose and mouth.

For free parking during the event, park immediately adjacent to the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park. Find  links to campus maps and directions to campus when you click on the link below.

https://about.umbc.edu/visitors-guide/directions/

Posted: September 28, 2021, 4:21 PM

Nature as Teacher Video Meditations released on our YouTube!

As we enter the last few weeks of summer break and excitement builds for the fall, we encourage you to take some time to recenter and recharge. 

That’s why we’re revisiting our Nature as Teacher meditation series— featuring the captivating nature footage of Research Associate Professor, Director of UMBC’s Imaging Research Center and award-winning filmmaker, Lee Boot. 

All three Nature as Teacher video meditations have officially been released on our Youtube channel. Learn more about Lee Boot and watch the video meditations here!

Boot’s video meditations were recently featured as “Curated Picks” in Nature Sacred’s monthly newsletters! Previously released as audio meditations, this series is kindly narrated by UMBC’s HR’s Director of Workplace Learning, Organizational Development, and Wellness, Jill Wardell. 

Posted: August 2, 2021, 12:07 PM