Creating Art to Promote Overlooked Tree Species as Renewable Resources for Sustainable Economic Development in Costa Rica.
In November of 2012 I will travel to Costa Rica with the assistance of the Fulbright Core Scholar grant provided by the Institute for International Education, a division of the U.S. Department of State. The project I will implement is a multifaceted strategy for raising public awareness of two species of widely unknown, sustainable, tropical hardwoods. Working in partnership with the National University of Costa Rica and an American research organization called the Tropical Forestry Initiative, I will execute my project in two phases. During the first phase I will work in the rural southern pacific coastal region, teaching local citizens to employ environmentally sensitive methods to harvest and prepare lumber for sale. Phase 2 is an outreach initiative based on the main campus of the National University of Costa Rica in the densely populated Central Valley. On campus I will teach workshops on wood joinery and finishing, and I will work closely with faculty and administration to develop a curriculum for furniture design. I will also organize exhibitions in museums, galleries, and private businesses throughout the country to demonstrate possible uses for these two trees. The collaborative exhibitions will feature art and furniture made by professional artists, design students, faculty, and myself, exclusively from lumber prepared during the first phase of the project. Exhibitions will be widely promoted, free, and open to the public. Upon my return to the United States I will connect timber growers in Costa Rica to American lumber dealers, opening a viable path to market and introducing a cost effective and sustainable new raw material.
***please be aware that while I have been awarded the Fulbright Core Scholar grant, the opinions on stuartkent.com are my opinions. stuartkent.com is not an official U.S. Department of State website and my opinions do not represent the Fulbright program, the U.S. Department of State, the National University of Costa Rica, or the Tropical Forestry Initiative.