Grantee Project: Stalagmite Creamsicles

Artists: Latham Zearfoss + Anders Zanichkowsky
Neighborhood: McKinley Park
Art Type: Sculpture / Garden
Grant Amount: $10,000

Stalagmite Creamsicles Team

Stalagmite Creamsicles is a seasonally iterative body of work that is anchored by large, colorful ice sculptures dyed with natural pigments, and containing seeds for native plants that bloom in the spring. 

The stalagmites will be installed in the winter on earth that has the sod/grass removed, creating both a holding zone for the sculptures so that they do not move, and also a landing spot for the seeds, ensuring that they will germinate. 

In the spring of 2023, a small cohort of local youth, working in concert with local environmental justice organizations, will be onboarded and tasked with learning how to tend the residual garden, ensuring the plants grow successfully. 

The project team will also hold a series of public programs to activate and present the space to the community leading up to and during the E(art)H Chicago public programming period in June 2023, including holding community printmaking workshops that make use of mini ice sculptures and the same native plants they intend to grow, and a series of outdoor cyanotype workshops where the community can create their own prints from native plants.

Latham Zearfoss produces time-based images, objects and experiences about selfhood and otherness. Outside of the studio, Latham contributes to collective motions toward joy and reflection through social projects such as a queer dance party (Chances Dances), a critical space for white allyship (Make Yourself Useful), and an itinerant conference on socially-engaged art (Open Engagement). Latham graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA in 2008 and the University of Illinois at Chicago with an MFA in 2011. They have exhibited their work, screened their videos, and DJed internationally and all over the U.S. 

Recently, Latham’s installation “stems” was exhibited at EXPO 2021. This was a suite of sculptural works that included animated neon, reclaimed wood, an audio installation of house music, and handmade paper vessels with natural dyes and sunflower seedlings (made as part of their first artistic collaboration with Anders.) Anchored equally in provocative text and repurposed plant matter, through whimsy and empathy, “stems” unearthed the circumstances and openings that death and dying make possible: rebirth, communion, compassion, new life, and especially, joyful ecstatic remembrance. This show was the culmination of Latham’s BOLT Residency at the Chicago Artist Coalition in 2019-2020, where they were previously a HATCH Resident in 2013. 

Stalagmite Creamsicles is part of this new trajectory in Latham’s creative practice, to move away from sculptures that use non-degrading materials and instead collaborate with the natural environment and embrace sustainability as a central concept and source of inspiration. 

Anders Zanichkowsky is an artist, writer, teacher, and activist who is equally at home in traditional crafts and new media. Their practice includes printmaking, papermaking, weaving, ceramics, neon sculpture, digital video, performance, and using remote/virtual/social media platforms as sites of intimate engagement. 

Taking inspiration from queer abstraction and queer futurism, Anders makes art about grief, desire, and our longing for another world. Their work often uses text phrased in the personal address: an “I” speaking to a “you,” and they prioritize hospitality and accessibility wherever they install their work, creating a welcoming environment in which people can slow down, commune, and reflect. 

In 2016, Anders was an artist in residence with The Arctic Circle in the international territory of Svalbard. While on board the program’s tallship, having sailed to the edge of the north pole, they created a series of cyanotype prints using chunks of pack ice that melted in exquisite, photographic detail on the dark blue paper, a kind of elegy for the frozen north. 

In 2017, as a member of the Røst Artist In Residency on the Arctic island of Skomvaer in Norway, Anders created the silent, black and white video “Time Machine” which screened at The Wisconsin Film Festival in 2018. In 2019 they received a Temkin Award for their MFA thesis “You Are Running Into Danger,” in which they turned the gallery into a pitch black underground gay bar lit with custom and archival neon signage. 

Currently, Anders works as a weaver, creating works of both art and craft that focus on environmentalism. They are assisting artist and MacArthur Fellow Mel Chin with handwoven panels for an installation on extinct species, and they are also the owner of Burial Blankets, making handwoven shrouds for green burial that are also meant for enjoyment and reflection during life.