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Our 2024 Theme: 

Our words for ourselves and for the earth’s soil (“human” & “humus”) derive from the same root, indicating just how fundamental is our connection to the ground beneath our feet, the land we live on. We depend on the land, and we also change it as we live on it, farm it, use its resources, and dispute over it. 

The 2024 Westminster Art Festival will invite artists & poets to consider the nature of the relationship between human beings & land.

Diego_Rivera Landscape.jpg

Landscape by Diego Rivera, 1911

Consider how we view land:  Is it a resource? a possession? a gift? a trust? a commodity? a home?  What is our responsibility to the land?  Who speaks for the land?  How do we both care for the land and sustain human community? 


Consider issues of environmental justice:  Poorest communities and communities of color are often nearest to polluted land, landfills and toxic sites, negatively affected by infrastructure projects, and have limited access to green space – not to mention few choices and little influence.


Consider accelerating loss of forest, wetlands, and prairie habitat to large-scale agriculture; loss of farmland to subdivisions & industry; loss of open space to “development.” What ethic & whose interests should guide land use decisions?


Consider the ways human activity has had a destructive impact on land – depleting or contaminating soil, destroying habitat, despoiling natural beauty, driving climate change.  Can we have a positive, healing impact as well?


Consider what is lost when people are disconnected from the land - indigenous tribes forcibly relocated, political and corporate leaders making decisions about land they’ve never set foot on, the many without access to land, city children who’ve never seen how tomatoes grow.


Consider how particular landscapes shape us, as we live in or pass through them.  What makes one place more sacred or special than another?  Does “place” still have meaning in a society of mobile (some might say “rootless”) people?


         Would a deeper groundedness help us be better stewards of the land?


         We aim to share poetry and art which inspire that deeper groundedness.


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