In 2011, we introduced a unique recognition program for our many Green Teams that features environmentally-minded art from emerging artists around the world. Past works have been featured on The Environmental Forum and in our offices around the world.
For lack of a better term, we’ve been calling this project the Green Team Traveling Trophy as the pieces circulate between our offices to help educate and engage Wells Fargo team members about our environmental stewardship programs, while also rewarding and recognizing our many wonderful Wells Fargo Green Teams. Each of our seven works has been commissioned through a competition managed by the Women Environmental Artists Directory, or WEAD.
We are excited today to introduce you to two new pieces by artist Chandra Glaeseman and the Green Teams that will be showcasing the new work. Chandra is an environmental artist and educator currently working in Portland, Oregon. She grew up in Northern Wyoming where the vast expanse of space helped her form a strong connection with nature and influenced the way she translates her environment in her work.
In September 2012, Glaeseman’s work was shown at Disjecta in Portland, Oregon, and was the culmination of a six-month long residency with the North Portland transfer station, where its jury-selected artists were permitted to take from the tipping floor of Portland’s waste stream. The result of Glaeseman’s gleanings was a series of sculptures that celebrated the often times marginalized animals that scavenge for subsistence. The two pieces that Chandra developed for Wells Fargo – The Goat and The Pack Rats – were inspired by that series.
As Chandra describes, “Goats have been used by humans to clear unwanted vegetation for centuries and are often associated with ‘indiscriminate garbage eat[ing].” But their appetite for all things serves an important purpose for the environment, helping us clear and protect land for our enjoyment. In the 1990s, goat herds were “hired” to clear dry brush from the California hillside to protect them from potential wildfires. The practice caught on and now goats are routinely hired through the Pacific Northwest to remove invasive species like thorned blackberry vines and poison oak.
For this particular piece, Chandra helped to elevate the goat to its rightful status as an environmental treasure. And like the goat which works hard to create healthy “green” spaces, the Dalla s- Fort Worth Green Team is serving as the first home for this piece, for their work in preserving nature at the Fort Worth Nature and Refuge Center.
Perhaps no animal is more misunderstood than the rat. But not for Chandra, who describes the ecological and historical importance of this animal: “Fossil packrat (or woodrat) middens provide information on past environments because they are a rich source of debris collected by packrats in the past. Packrat middens have been important for paleoecological reconstructions of the arid southwest since their discovery in the 1960s. They contain extremely well-preserved leaves, seeds, fruits, twigs, pollen, bones, shells, and reptile scales. These fossils are usually encased in the amber colored crystallized urine, sometimes called “amberat.” Midden is an archeological term meaning roughly “garbage pile,” so the study of packrat middens is really the dissection of old garbage piles left by packrats.”
By collecting natural and human-made garbage, packrats are important historians for our environment. In the piece Chandra created for Wells Fargo, she worked to convey “the diversity and importance of a community working together toward a common goal of preservation. Each player is unique and has a different skill set to offer in the creation of one’s own community. The necessity to come together and work as a whole is illustrated by the small landscape that the packrats must work within, each influencing the other’s behavior.”
It’s fitting then that our Green Team at the Customer Information Center campus outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, will be the first home for this new piece. The CIC Green Team has the difficult task of engaging our largest campus (with nearly 10,000 team members) in everyday environmental actions. But thanks to their dedication and research on local environmental concerns, the team has created a strong and growing community through an annual environmental fair, educational movie screenings and ongoing lunchtime eco-opportunities such as nature walks on the campus trail and reusable dish/bags for the café.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the art pieces. Please share your thoughts in the comments field below.