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Environmental Professionals Network

School of Environment and Natural Resources


Art, agriculture, and advancing the relationship of Black people on land

Apr 19, 2023, 6:00pm - 7:15pm

Photo button from a collection of different images from the EPN March Breakfast

Program Overview

Art creates space for communities to engage in dialogue using creative materials and symbolic devices bridging science and technology with social and cultural experience. The origins of Earth Day are rooted in the intersection of science, society, and art. At the inaugural Earth Day in 1970 a collective environmental movement began, influenced by the ongoing Civil Rights Movement, literary works, such as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and student-led anti-Vietnam war protests. Over recent decades Earth Day campaigns have increased focus and attention to the legacy of, and ongoing systematic environmental injustices, of extractive behaviors in both urban and rural landscapes, disproportionately affecting Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities.

Fifty-three years later art provides a process to revisit and reflect on Earth Day with a critical lens on history to amplify the stories of those most impacted by environmental injustices and excluded from mainstream narratives of our interactions with land, soil, water, and air. This EPN Signature Earth Day Event features artists, urban farmers, and community organizers who use art as a means of inquiry into the intersection of environmental and social justice issues as well of stories of resilience in the face of historical discrimination. The celebration will feature a dance performance from Orlando Zane Hunter Jr. and Ricarrdo Valentine of Brother(hood) Dance!, an interdisciplinary duo integrating agriculture and technology with dance.

Black on Earth is a multimodal gallery installation and dance performance centering rich ecomemories of Black people on land. The work highlights the 20th century Pigford v Glickman case setting a historical foundation for the struggle toward land sovereignty. Black folx in the 21st century have been reclaiming ancestral environmental and agricultural practices to resist food insecurity and acquire land. Black on Earth is a meditation, a call to action, and an illustration of wealth that has been undervalued and exploited. Through digital and organic interfaces Black On Earth transports participants into green spaces that have served as resistance for Black populations globally. Black gardening practices are gangsta and reveal a resilience that is embodied through practices of wellness and offer wisdom for future generations.

Following the interactive gallery display and dance performance Brother(hood) Dance!, Dr. Tiffany Bourgeois, assistant professor of Arts Management at Ohio State’s Department of Arts, Administration, Education and Policy, will relate Black on Earth to her scholarship, practice of growing food, and the use of creative inquiries into art, racial justice, agriculture, and the creation of green community spaces. Dr. Bourgeois will join Jera Oliver and Adrienne Williams in a conversation about blending the arts, agriculture, and community using culturally relevant and evidence-based programming. Oliver and Williams are co-founders of Growing and Growth Collective, an organization where urban agriculture is used as a means of social action for improved health outcomes, and deepened community engagement and economic empowerment with Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in mind.

Join us for this free public event in-person at The Fawcett Center in Columbus or virtually through an EPN livestream production.

Link to preview video of Brother(hood) Dance!



6:00 p.m.  Livestreaming service begins for virtual attendees.

Brother(hood) Dance! (Ricarrdo Valentine, Orlando Hunter Jr., and Davine A. Green) leads a transition from the Ballroom into the Conference Theater for in-person attendees.

6:05 p.m. Performance by Brother(hood) Dance! begins integrating African diasporic dance with agricultural technology to encourage and influence Black growers’ relationship with land and the building of community resilience through agricultural practices.

6:25 p.m. Tiffany Bourgeois, PhD, assistant professor of Arts Management, Ohio State’s Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy, relates the Black on Earth performance to her scholarship, practice of growing food, and the use of creative inquiries into art, racial justice, agriculture, and creating green, community spaces.

6:35 p.m. Jera Oliver, JD, MPA, co-founder, Growing and Growth Collective and Adrienne Williams, co-founder, Growing and Growth Collective discuss their blending of the arts, agriculture, and community using culturally relevant and evidence-based programming through the Growing and Growth Collective.

7:00 p.m. Audience Q & A session for both in-person and virtual audiences.

7:15 p.m. Closing Comments by Eric Toman, PhD, director, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State.


Kari MackenbachTiffany Bourgeois, PhD, assistant professor of Arts Management, Ohio State's Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy

Tiffany Bourgeois returns to the Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy as an Assistant Professor of Arts Management. Bourgeois earned both her PhD in Arts Administration, Education and Policy and master’s degree in Arts Policy and Administration at Ohio State. She most recently served as Audience Development Director of the Ensemble Theatre in Houston, Texas, and as Adjunct Professor for the University of Houston-Downtown. Her scholarly work examines the relationship between sports mega-events, cultural organizations, cultural outcomes and changes in perception. Bourgeois’ most recent publication can be found in Place Branding and Public Diplomacy.

Orlando Zane HunterOrlando Zane Hunter, Jr., co-founder, Brother(hood) Dance!

Orlando Zane Hunter, Jr. is an international artist, who has performed in Trinidad and Tobago and Zimbabwe, Africa with Ananya Chatterjea. He has received a B.F.A.  in dance from the University of Minnesota. Recently he choreographed and danced in "Redbone: A Biomythography" that debuted at the Nuyorican Café, Wild Project Theater and Duke University: Women’s Center. Orlando Hunter's solo, Mutiny, was selected in the 2015 Dancing While Black performance lab held this year in Trinidad and Tobago. He has presented his choreography at Thelma Hill and on Time Warner cable network through Germaul Barnes’s project, Black Bones. Since his arrival to New York City, Orlando has performed works by Christal Brown, Edisa Weeks, Germaul Barnes, Andre Zachary/ Renegade Performance Group, Forces of Nature and Ni’Ja Whitson-Adebanjo/NWA project.   In addition, he is the co-founder of Brother(hood) Dance and 2015/16 Dancing While Black Fellow.

Ricarrdo ValentineRicarrdo Valentine, co-founder, Brother(hood) Dance!

Ricarrdo Valentine uses art as a vehicle for activism. Ricarrdo’s education includes Urban Bush Women: Summer Leadership Institute, Bates Dance Festival and Earl Mosely Institute of the Arts. He has presented his choreography at Bates Dance Festival, Brooklyn Museum, El Museo de Barro and LaGuardia Community College. Ricarrdo continues to collaborate and work with Christal Brown/INspirit, Edisa Weeks/Delirious Dance, Paloma McGregor, Dante Brown/Warehouse Dance, Malcolm Low/Formal Structure, Jill Sigman/Thinkdance, Ni'Ja Whitson-Adebanjo/NWA project, Andre Zachary/RPG, Emily Berry/B3W and Barak ade Soliel. He is the co-founder of Brother(hood) Dance! In addition, Ricarrdo is the 2015 Dance/USA DILT mentee and 2015/16 Dancing While Black Fellow.

Kari MackenbachJera Oliver, co-founder, Growing and Growth Collective, senior director of development, Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Jera Oliver is the senior director of development The Ohio State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) and co-founder of the Growing and Growth Collective, a volunteer initiative that promotes BIPOC engagement in urban agriculture. As a graduate of Kent State University and Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, Jera pursued a career in fundraising in order to leverage philanthropy as a means for civic engagement and social change.

Cyndi RacholAdrienne Williams, co-founder, Growing and Growth Collective

Adrienne Williams majored in African-American Studies and Psychology at Northwestern University and earned an MBA at The Ohio State University in 2019. She is a marketer that has worked in various industries. Outside of work, she is an avid agriculturalist. Her growing journey began with working in gardens alongside her mother and aunt, five years ago. This love of gardening led to her enrolling in the Master Urban Farmer certification program through Ohio State University extension. She immediately connected her African American studies background with agriculture, through the development of the Growing and Growth Collective. Along with another colleague, she identified a need to promote more diversity in urban agriculture spaces and to address inequities within the food system by leveraging a culturally relevant framework. This framework is inclusive of promoting urban agriculture in six gardens and robust programmatic support that explores topics around land access, diversity in farming and food justice. Her goal is to continue to promote healing and activism through the land, as her legacy stems from a rich history of land stewards.

Additional Information

We strive to host events that are inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in this activity, please reach out to Callia Téllez ( Requests made five business days in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access. However, we will make every effort to meet requests made after this time frame. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs. For the virtual audience, a closed captioning option via EPN’s YouTube live stream will be available, as well as other accommodations as requested on the registration.

Masks are optional for all event attendees at this event, in accordance with Ohio State’s Safe and Healthy Protocols as of this date. In-person attendees will be expected to follow Ohio State protocols regarding the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. More health and safety information available on this Personal Safety Practices page

This program will be livestreamed on the  EPN YouTube page. Additional information on livestream connections are available to those who register as a virtual participant for this event. 

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