In October 2020, Basilica Hudson launched the Basilica Back Gallery Artist in Residence series with visual artist Mary Mattingly in collaboration with Toolshed. Mattingly’s work centered on creating an Ecotopian Library, a long term project that stems from the belief that art and ecotopian thought can be part of cultivating systemic social change, in the City of Hudson.

After developing the materials and resources at Basilica, Mattingly and Toolshed will install the Ecotopian Library at the Hudson Area Library in 2021 as a permanent installation.

“The Ecotopian Library is an exhibition that functions as a library. Visitors can engage in the library‚Äôs toolkit that combines forestry, botany, art, literature, political and social sciences disciplines, ecotopian in nature. It includes artwork, fossils from the Eocene era pointing towards regenerative future forestry, Commons studies, almanacs for assisted plant migration with changing climates, poetry, and ecosophical manifestos intended to integrate an ecological ethics into practice. The Ecotopian Library brings together the work of object-makers, farmers, philosophers, ecologists, librarians, indigenous knowledge holders, and neighbors to build stories contributing pathways towards regenerative ecological futures.” – Mary Mattingly

Mattingly’s residency culminated in a live Zoom artist talk to discuss her plans for permanent installation of the Ecotopian Library in Hudson as part of Toolshed, a platform to gather and share tools for a livable future created by artists Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (Sayler/Morris). A panel discussion on the role of art and imaginative thinking in the Library of the Future followed, featuring Cora Fisher, Curator of Visual Art Programming at the Brooklyn Public Library, as well as Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Library System, moderated by Edward Morris. Watch the discussion below.

Photos by Angelia Dreem.

This program was generously supported, in part, by National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts and Toolshed