Lake Worth, FL
Environmental Studies


making stuff exploring the James being messy stompin' to live music vegan food

About Me

Excavating Art

September 30, 2014

A little known fact about me? I love to dig.

Yes, with overalls and a spade for sure; but another one of my favorite activities is intellectual digging; discovering history, ecology, and culture underneath layers of conventional thought. I would argue that perhaps that is what art does.


What is occurring in Lot C, somewhat hidden, is groundbreaking. Literally. (Can you handle more parking lot puns?)

   On September 8th, roaring machines broke asphalt and exposed the bare soil underneath. It also revealed pure possibility of the aspirations of those participating in the Parking Lot Project, the capstone of this year’s Tucker Boatwright Festival of Literature and the Arts. This yearlong project being spearheaded by the Art and Art History department will engage the campus and the community in a discussion about landscape and land use, and to examine the social and ecological challenges we face as a result of our relationships with the land through art.  

   The Parking Lot Project Class led by professor Erling Sjovold is the driving force of transformation in the parking lot in its infancy. Every Monday and Wednesday afternoon in Lot C, you could encounter art students lugging chunks of asphalt or sifting through clay dug up from test pits in the parking spaces. These transformative processes are merely the beginning of an evolution that the parking lot will take on throughout the fall and spring, in which these barren parallelograms adjacent to parked cars will transform into green spaces.

   So my stake in this that I’m allowed to get dirty. As an intern for the PLP, I have the opportunity to be working on projects in the spaces while engaging with our campus community to get involved. Members of the Geology, Environmental Science, English, and Archeology and Anthropology departments have already added their unique handprints to the many exciting perspectives for which the lot will become a breeding ground.

cutting asphalt

   One of my upcoming projects with a special co-collaborator might be to set up a pop-up bicycle maintenance space in the middle of a lot to provoke ideas of transportation and social mobilization, especially since I just finished building my new wheels. Isn’t she lovely?

   Events that resonate with the PLP are also apart of the Tucker Boatwright Festival. So far, poet Susan Stewart came out to the worksite to offer her visions regarding the space. Contemporary Art diety Mark Dion, who currently has work in the Forecast show at VCU (an AMAZING show that I saw over the weekend), also gave a talk in Jepson regarding his work and its’ exploration of ecology, history, and society.

swinging pick

   Watching the Parking Lot Project materialize and evolve is going to be an important narrative in my life at Richmond. It’s my obligation as an intern that it becomes a story within the UR community and speaks to us all individually. This is a narrative in which everyone has a role; the artist, the scientist, the poet, the folks who work in facilities, the feral cats who live in the parking lot, and students and staff at UR who engage these spaces by leaving their ideas on the asphalt.

Keep up to date with the Parking Lot Project with thier photo blog: http://www.richmond.edu/tucker-boatwright/project.html


My name is Isabella, casually known as Izzy. I'm a kid from the swamp (South Florida) who came to Richmond to explore- my surroundings, my academic and artistic interests, and my personal self. When I stumbled upon UR, I was a high-school senior at Dreyfoos School of the Arts who was swimming (or perhaps drowning) in a sea of college applications and presentation, unaware of where I would be in less than a year. It's exciting to be a newly born spider, one who is released upon this beautiful campus, with no other goal than to get as much out of my educational experiences as possible. As a Spider diarest, I will try to recount my adventures in their fullness as I foray across The Commons, The James River, and the downtown art scene with only a bike and a backpack. Hold on to your handlebars folks, I'm intent on chasing the opportunities and the oddities just beyond the pointed arches....