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The art of Michele Brody is alive and growing — literally — in the lobby of Lafayette’s Williams Center for the Arts.

In her exhibition Land-Scaping grass-seeded fabric walls sprout into lush plants soon to be dry, dead, and brown. Different stages in the plants’ development cycle affect other elements of the piece, resulting in an ever-changing environment.

Brody began construction of the piece in early October, and visitors can experience its transformation through Nov. 22. Wheat grass seed is “planted” in rows of pockets sewn in nylon fabric walls. The grass is watered by a circulating drip irrigation system running through copper pipes from a stainless steel reservoir. In the center of the wood floor is a grass-sprouting armchair sitting over a second steel reservoir.

Brody will be speaking at a brown bag lecture at noon Tuesday, Nov. 14, in Williams Center Room 108. The event is free and open to the public.

Land-Scaping debuted in 1999 as part of the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Space Program in New York City.

Brody’s ephemeral site-specific installations and public works of art comment on the passage of time through the relationship of nature and architecture history to the urban environment. The scope of materials and techniques vary, ranging from the Land-Scaping structure, to walkways of cast concrete pavers interlaced with grass, to the preservation of historical landmarks in New York City through the fabrication of uniquely designed manhole covers.

The latter example is called Re-Covering the Cityscape: Impressions of History Underfoot. This public art project celebrates particular elements of lost New York City through the installation of 10 different manhole covers with surface patterns inspired by the architectural details of eight buildings that have been demolished, as well as two sites in Manhattan that no longer exist. They will replace manhole covers in the sidewalk or gutter adjacent to the location of the disappeared landmarks. They will be cast in iron by a professional foundry according to the proper specifications for weight, size and safety.

“With the creation of each new work for a particular site, I concentrate on creating a sense of elegance out of the simplest of gestures; which, like liquid, is designed to flow into, settle and then pass through the memory of the viewer and the space,” says Brody.

Brody received her master of fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her bachelor of arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College. Her recent one-person shows have appeared at museums in San Jose, Costa Rica; Arras, France; Meadville, Pennsylvania; South Bend, Indiana; and Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Earlier this year, she participated in a group exhibition, Transformative Nature, at the Central Michigan University Art Gallery in Mount Pleasant, MI. Her work was represented in five group exhibitions in 1999. Brody’s art is part of permanent installations at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, Evanston, Illinois; Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colorado; and Temple Shalom, Aberdeen, New Jersey. She has been awarded nine grants and held 16 visiting artist and lecturer position since 1994. As a commercial artist, Brody has designed a line of sconces etched with patterns from New York City manhole covers. Each light emits a soft circular glow from behind frosted glass with energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps. For more information on Brody’s career, visit

Art gallery hours are noon-5 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday; 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday; and a half-hour before public performances in the Williams Center. For more information, call 610-330-5361 or email

Lafayette College’s exhibition series is presented under provisions of the Detwiller Endowment, and is funded in part through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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