On Christmas Eve, Dec, 24 1993 Environment Artist Activist Nancy Forrester, in a solitary
twilight ritual switched mediums. She stood up from her easel, capped a tube of paint, stepped out
of her studio and walked through her backyard to the gate. The lifelong environmental theme in
her work remained unchanged, but she stopped painting pictures of plants and animals and became
a performance artist. That night she hung a paper sign on her gate. The sign read 'OPEN'. With
this simple gesture, sometimes criticized as naive by the business community, she fused art and
life, initiated a sophisticated environmental invitation and the possibility of discovery to her
community and the visiting public, which ultimately links to a world audience. She sought
collaboration for a new semantic discourse, one that would save and restore what's left of the
natural world, and one that leads all peoples to activism. With various, changing messages tacked
to her gate and scattered around the site, no logo, no normal visual aids, no paid advertising, no
marketing strategies, no opening party, no directional street signs pointing to a lane, conflicted
with three names, none of them visible, and the lanes physical presence not indicated anywhere,
not on any city map, a reputedly hard to find lane, even by the local Conch's. With impoverished
funds, from the elite disenfranchised and with minimal help from her friends, this unknown regional
woman artist activist living at the southernmost fringe of the mainstream art world in the
continental U.S., activated a complex project, an experiment, involving, artists, non-artists,
naturalists,spiritualists, the local community, tourists and world travelers. She did this in search of
answers to her question. "Can I make a difference guiding humanity toward a positive future for
our species and others".
The Flocks News
"The ritual experience which came to be known as "Nancy Forrester's Secret
Garden" was born from my horrific struggle for a sustainable future for myself in
my home studio of 35 years as a female artist and "my backyard" which now
happens to be the last 'wooded' acre of undeveloped land in the heart of old Key
West. The first time I saw and more importantly felt this place, I vowed to protect its
Earth. For me and others to allow this last precious acre to fall to "souless
capitalism" has broad social, political and economic ramifications for the city and
the globe I fused my art and life and primarily went about environmental
'gardening' in the realm of the visitors human mindscape, to save "my backyard"
much like Julia Butterfly Hill did to save a redwood called Luna and to activate
human beings to stop, over development, deforestation and degradation of Planet
|"Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden"
|Public Art, sensorial, conceptual and emotive, for Our Environment.
A site specific for daily recording and display of Concepts or Ideas and Emotions
concerning the loss of the Natural World
A safe haven for the expression of frustration and hope,
tears and anger, terror and triumph
Mine and the Publics
|Conceptual and Emotive Art by
The following are a few of the many far flung ideas and figments of imagination,
Mine and the Publics
My concept when sharing with the public was not to use the site as an ALL
PLANT GARDEN dedicated to horticultural function, education, decoration,
The visiting publics concept made 'PLANTS' the 'limelight', longingly viewed
as an educational botanical garden, used as a sanctuary garden, or as an
example of garden design. It was named "Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden"
by D. Cooper of KWTN. It was called "Key West's rain forest", "Jewel of
the Tropics", "Jurassic Park sans Dinosaurs" by Caputo. The 'garden'
received a marvelous review by America's foremost Garden Critic, Alan Lacy
former garden editor of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, not to
mention Charles Kuralt love for the place in his last book, Charles Kuralt's
Site under construction more concepts to follow
What is a good idea worth?
How can it be put into action?
How long do ideas last?
What ideas lead to activism?
|What is Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden?
A preserve of human experiences.