Indigo Arts Alliance & Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Debut Sculptures for July 20 Deconstructing the Boundaries Symposia

Visual Arts


JULY 20, 2024
105 Botanical Gdns Dr, Boothbay, ME

Programming will center Black and Brown experiences in the fight
for environmental justice
Works by Indigo Arts Alliance Artists-in-Residence to be installed permanently in the Gardens

2023 Art Activation for Deconstructing the Boundaries. Image by Sofia Aldinio and courtesy of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Portland, ME – June 10, 2024 – Continuing their work to center Black, Brown, and Indigenous environmental perspectives in response to the escalating climate crisis, Indigo Arts Alliance and Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are pleased to announce Deconstructing the Boundaries: The Land Fights Back, the second of a three-part collaborative multi-year series of public symposia, and the first to include newly commissioned public sculpture. Building on conversations that began last year during Deconstructing the Boundaries: A Future of Land & Food Resilience, this edition deepens the organizations’ focus on the spiritual, traditional, and cultural relationships held between BIPOC communities and the land by highlighting the work of Indigo Arts Alliance artists-in-residence Shane Perley-Dutcher and Anna Tsouhlarakis.

“We’re proud to unveil the work of our artists-in-residence on the grounds of the Gardens,” shared Jordia Benjamin, Executive Director at Indigo Arts Alliance. “The second edition of Deconstructing the Boundaries is part of an amazing ongoing collaboration with the Gardens that provides us with a unique opportunity to examine and reevaluate our relationship to the land we occupy.”

As the midpoint of their month-long residencies, Tsouhlarakis and Perley-Dutcher will unveil large-scale site-specific installations and sculpture in the Gardens. Perley-Dutcher, a silversmith artist from Wolastoqey Neqotkuk (a New Brunswick First Nation), presents a vision of reciprocity with an interactive installation of two arched fiddlehead ferns made from braided metal emulating woven baskets. Wolastoqey tradition dictates that an offering, such as tobacco or prayer, should be given to the fiddleheads before picking. Simultaneously, enough should be left for others, emphasizing the importance of sustaining the land for future generations.

Tsouhlarakis, an enrolled citizen of the Navajo Nation and of Creek and Greek descent, will design four shell middens constructed from grass, oyster shells, and granite sourced from the surrounding region. The middens, grassy mounds replicating the archaic collections of food and cultural remnants left behind by Indigenous people along the northeast coast, demonstrate a sustainable living practice and a reminder that these lands and shores have been continual gathering places for millenia. The south-facing shell walls will display messages to visitors, alluding to the ongoing need for reparative justice and challenging of systems that are currently in place today.

“One of the core values of the Gardens is to build pathways to belonging for all visitors,” stated Gretchen Ostherr, President and CEO at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. “Public art has always been a part of our story and supports the way we build community. In 2021, we saw our visitation double with the introduction of Danish Artist Thomas Dambo’s five climate-conscious Trolls. We’re honored to host sculpture by Shane and Anna, which will not only enhance the beauty of our gardens but also invite visitors to engage with the deep, reciprocal relationship between Indigenous communities and the land, and to reflect on the important steps needed for reparative justice and to build a resilient future in the face of the climate crisis.”

An all-day symposium featuring a panel and interactive art activations will be held on July 20, 2024. Deconstructing the Boundaries: The Land Fights Back will bring together members of the Maine cultural community to answer questions about environmental justice in urban and rural spaces.

The Deconstructing the Boundaries: The Land Fights Back symposium and unveiling will take place on July 20, 2024 at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, ME. To register, please visit their website. Major support for Deconstructing the Boundaries is generously donated by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation. The third and final edition of the Deconstructing the Boundaries symposia will take place in July 2025 and feature additional commissioned public artwork.

A schedule for the July 20 symposium is as follows:

10–11:30 a.m.

Morning Panel
Themes: Environmental justice in urban and rural spaces and why BIPOC experiences must be centered.

12–1 p.m.

Lunch (meal included in registration)

1–2:30 p.m.

Artist Talk
Indigo Arts Alliance Artists-in-Residence and commissioned artists, Shane Perley-Dutcher and Anna Tsouhlarakis, present their work.

2:30–4:30 p.m.

Art Activations
These art sessions will expand upon the symposium theme and give participants an opportunity to dive deeper into the themes of the day. The breakout sessions will run at the same time, and attendees will choose which session they’d like to attend. Workshops include an information session led by Presente Farms, printmaking with Indigo Arts Alliance co-founder Daniel Minter, a call to Action with Nickie Sekera, and more.

5–5:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks

About Indigo Arts Alliance

Indigo Arts Alliance is a place where freedom of expression and personal transformation through creativity is encouraged. Indigo Arts Alliance embodies a Black-led, multiracial approach to the rich intersections of citizenship, community-building, and creativity. More than ever, our world needs people who can help us imagine more compassionate, generous, and welcoming human societies. Indigo does that work. It is a great gift to the Portland community, to the region, and to our nation!

Indigo Arts Alliance is rooted in two principles:

  • Art is a key resource for healthy human communities. It should be cultivated and celebrated.

  • Artists play a unique role in strengthening our multiracial democracy. We need their vision and inspiration to help build a more humane, inclusive, and just world.

Learn more about their programming and residencies at

About Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

At nearly 325 acres, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is the largest public garden in New England. With two miles of hiking trails, 19 acres of ornamental and themed gardens featuring native plants of Maine and those suited to northern coastal conditions, nearly a mile of saltwater frontage, a children’s garden, a sensory garden, and so much more, there’s something for everyone. A true Maine experience, the Gardens is committed to connecting people to plants and nature, preserving the biodiversity of the Maine coast, and continuing to be a place accessible and welcoming to all. The mission of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is to inspire meaningful connections between people and nature and promote plant conservation through horticulture, education, and plant science.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is dedicated to being an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible environment where every member of our community is valued, respected, and appreciated. We acknowledge that a society is stronger, more resilient, and more beautiful when it is diverse. We are committed to identifying and striving to eliminate barriers that, historically, have prevented the full participation of communities most impacted by inequity.

Learn more at


Note to Media: If you are planning to travel to Maine or New England this summer, please let us know so that we can facilitate your visit to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

For images, further background or interviews, please contact:

Katrina Stewart
Senior Account Coordinator, Visual Arts
Blue Medium
T: +1-212-675-1800