Calvin College

CALVIN - Minds in the Making

Strengthening Liberal Arts Education by Embracing Place and Particularity

Case Study



Plant! functions as a final, collaborative project for classes in the visual arts, particularly sculpture or advanced problem solving. The Plant! project is suitable for all levels of sculpture, and in the case of its implementation at Calvin College, a combination of levels (introduction, intermediate, and advanced) can all participate simultaneously. The project is only suitable for spring semester courses, as it requires outside activities and engagement. The PLANT! project develops a number of neighborhood-centric sites that become converted from unused space to urban gardens.  These sites act as vehicles for the participants to better understand "place" in terms of geography, topography, history, science, the environment, emotions, and situations. By maintaining this urban or suburban garden, whether the participants chose to grow flowers, herbs, vegetables or simply their ideas, the consistency of being located within particularity, allows the participants to engage this new place in some meaningful way. The specificity of being located in this way also emphasizes the liberal arts project, by integrating disciplines, by conflating theory and practice and lifestyle, and by arranging a very healthy dialogue between the academic and the civic.


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