Rowan gallery exhibit explores issues surrounding food distribution in our society

Rowan gallery exhibit explores issues surrounding food distribution in our society

Stephanie Rothenberg’s "Reversal of Fortune: The Garden of Virtual Kinship "

Artists explore the U.S. food supply chain and its complex patterns of distribution between the point of origin (“the farm”) and its point of consumption (“the plate”) in How Food Moves: Edible Logistics from March 27 – May 27, 2017 at Rowan University Art Gallery, 301 High Street in Glassboro.

An opening reception and public program takes place on Thursday, March 30 from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. The public program, led by guest curator Daniel Tucker, Graduate Program Director in Social and Studio Practices at Moore College of Art and Design, includes Professor Megan Bucknum Ferrigno from Rowan’s School of Geography and Environment and exhibiting artists engaging in a dialogue on art, geography, and agricultural planning. This discussion precedes the reception beginning at 6:00 p.m.

A booklet produced in collaboration with faculty from the School of Geography and Environment combines the artists’ project narratives with research and texts on the U.S. food supply chain. Ferrigno has served as the lead researcher in this effort, with contributions from professors Jennifer Kitson and Charles McGlynn.

The artists include Amber Art and Design Collective (Philadelphia), Ryan Griffis and Sarah Ross (Chicago), Brian Holmes (Chicago), Cynthia Main (Missouri), Otabenga Jones & Associates (Houston), Claire Pentecost (Chicago), Philly Stake (Philadelphia), Stephanie Rothenberg (Buffalo), Candice Smith & Freedom Arts (Camden, NJ), and Kristen Neville Taylor (Philadelphia).

The exhibition aims to highlight the work of contemporary artists grappling with the complexity of this movement through multi-media, research-based, and participatory practices that focus a lens on the social and industrial impacts of migrant workers, food justice movements, immigration and multiculturalism, and economic disparities. This project builds upon Tucker’s event series, Moving Units: Where Food & Economy Converge (

With Corner Store, Amber Art & Design – a team of Philadelphia-based artists that works on public art within marginalized communities that have little or no access to art - explores the contemporary sociological and psychological intersection between pan-ethnic Black and Asian communities in Philadelphia and how relationships are shaped based on which side of the counter we stand.

Illinois-based artists Ryan Griffis and Sarah Ross are represented by Between the Bottomlands and the World, a video (combining photographs, narrative writing, and moving images) exploring the rural Midwestern town of Beardstown, IL, a place of global exchange and international mobility, inscribed by post-NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) realities.

Brian Holmes, an art and cultural critic with a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and a long-standing interest in neoliberal globalization and a taste for on-the-ground intervention. His online atlas, Living Rivers, is devoted to the Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds and shows these fluid ecosystems as they are inhabited by a multitude of creatures and radically altered by human enterprise.

Otabenga Jones & Associates, a Houston-based educational art organization, documents a collaborative art project and public health program addressing the ongoing crisis of obesity and its related risks with “The People’s Plate.” Inspired by the Black Panther Free Breakfast for School Children Program, this art project includes a public mural in Houston and programs to kick off a year-long commitment to health education.

Cynthia Main, a multidisciplinary artist from Missouri focused on relating to the land as part of an integral view of a more sustainable society, shares her hand-made buckets and barrels created using traditional techniques to readdress storage as one of the current dilemmas of localizing production.

Chicago’s Claire Pentecost uses photography to show how industrial agriculture is only partly about supplying food and how it is structured to meet the problem of expense and excess capital accumulation when considering the cost of complex machinery, brand name chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and patented seeds.

Philly Stake is a locally-sourced, recurring dinner that raises funds for creative and relevant community engaged projects that contribute to the well-being of Philadelphia's neighborhoods through community arts, urban agriculture, social services, and activist work.

Stephanie Rothenberg’s Reversal of Fortune: The Garden of Virtual Kinship is a garden in the form of a global map that explores the question of what it means to be charitable through the click of a button and examines the cultural phenomena of online crowdfunded charity and how the flow of money impacts the project, positively and negatively.

Candice Smith runs Freedom Arts, an afterschool collaborative art program at Camden’s Freedom Prep Middle School, which has created a piece/installation responding to the idea that Camden is a “food desert” and examining the movement of food at their school and in their community.

Philadelphia-based Kristen Neville Taylor’s installation - a globe depicting routes of oranges and actual oranges outfitted with a QR code that links to music, articles, folk tales, and art - was inspired by a lyric from Leonard Cohen’s "Suzanne" (“and she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China") which she associated with the market place and the movement of food but also romance and exotic foreign cultures.

The gallery is located at 301 High Street in Glassboro. Admission to the gallery and reception is free and open to the public. Regular gallery hours are Monday - Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thursday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Directions and parking information can be found on the gallery website. For more information, call 856-256-4521 or visit

Support for programming at Rowan University Art Galleries has been made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.