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Monday, July 23, 2007


Island Alliance, a non-profit in support of the Boston Harbor Islands; the Berwick Research Institute, a non-profit providing alternative programming and exhibition space for artists who work outside the commercial world; and Studio Soto, an artist performance/screening/exhibit space in Fort Point, invite you to participate in an Artist Encampment on Bumpkin Island in Boston Harbor. This Labor Day weekend, September 1-3, eight artists will have the opportunity to become temporary Homesteaders on the island, where we will be awarding eight plots of prime, arable
land. Additional artists will be selected to create installations throughout the island. This project is a try-out for an event of longer duration that we’d like to
plan for next year.

Projects will:

- Only include what you can carry, including everything you need to sleep, eat, drink, etc. Everything brought on the island must also leave with you on the last ferry at 3:45 pm on Monday.

- Utilize the resources/elements available on the island. For instance, you cannot cut down a tree, but you can collect and use fallen branches. Rocks on the shore, shells, seaweed, and washed up debris are all fair game. Everything you find and use on the island will stay on the island at the end of the project. Installations not in the tent sites that are made exclusively from found materials may remain intact on the island. Installations may not be created below the high tide line because they might present a hazard to boats coming close to shore at high tide.
- Be open to interacting with the public during the process of creating the work.

Background on Homesteaders:

In 1862, the United States recruited civilians to aid in its movement west. The Homestead Act offered any U.S. citizen or head of household, including people of color and women, free or low-cost 160-acre plots of land. In return, "homesteaders" promised to build a 12' x 14' house, cultivate and "improve" the land and live on the plot for five years. The project resulted in the creation of over 372,000 farms west of the Mississippi, continuing as late as 1976--when the Homestead Act was officially dissolved.

The Homesteaders on Bumpkin Island this Labor Day Weekend will:

* Build some kind of “home” on their plot of land.
* Live on the land for at least two days with his/her “family”
* Improve” the land in some way.

About Bumpkin Island:

Bumpkin was used by Native American Indians prior to European contact. During the colonial period, the island was leased to tenant farmers. The island hosted a fish-drying operation in the early nineteenth century and a fish smelting operation in the early twentieth century. In 1900, a Boston philanthropist named Clarence Burrage founded a hospital for children with physical disabilities. During World War I the island was taken over for use as a United States Naval training camp, which was dismantled after the war. The hospital reopened briefly in about 1940 for polio patients but closed during World War II and burned in 1945. Today, the physical landscape of the island has been reclaimed by plants - about half are non-native species, including various fruits and berries, shrubs, vines, field plants and trees. Wildflowers grow along the trails that lead visitors to the remains of the children's hospital and a stone farmhouse. The island is 35-acres with slate and shell beaches and open fields.

Deadline for proposals: August 7
You will be notified by August 17

If selected, artists will arrive to claim their free campsites on the island beginning at 12:00 PM on Saturday, September 1. Take a ferry from Long Wharf to Georges Island and then take the Southern Loop Inter-Island shuttle to Bumpkin. Fares is $12. See

for schedules.

To apply:

For those interested in homesteading, send a one-paragraph description of how you would "improve" your land, and why. For those interested in creating an installation elsewhere on the island, describe your idea and/or your interest in creating art on the island.

Send to:
Land Office
408 Atlantic Ave, Suite 228
Boston, MA 02110-3349

Be sure you include your name and contact information.

We encourage you to:

- Work with other artist sites, collaborate, pool resources, etc.
- Make your work interactive in some way
- Consider a broad audience; visitors will be a combination of artists, hikers and families just randomly visiting or camping on the island that day/weekend

Contact us with any questions:

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