As Midwest metropolitan landscapes undergo change — from agrarian to suburban — the systems of earlier settlement become obsolete; farmsteads, rail, grain silos, etc. Many of these are demolished to make way for the new, with the exception of the mid-century concrete grain elevators and their assembled silos. Thick, heavily engineered construction renders them too expensive for demolition. These structures, with their economic condition and cultural narrative, are opportunity for compelling regional land use discourse.
Emerging Terrain is spearheading a collaborative endeavor to repurpose a derelict, yet iconic, historic landscape structure as contemporary cultural awareness. Creative minds nationwide will submit ideas for 20’ x 80’ images to hang on the exterior of a vacant grain elevator near downtown Omaha. Concurrent with fall harvest, a dinner table at the base of the elevator will host an epic dinner to celebrate the exhibition.
What We Are Doing
For many Americans, the concrete elevators that punctuate the Midwest landscape are exceptionally ordinary. And ordinary, man-made landscapes are not typically thought about, but rather simply looked at. It rarely occurs that landscape includes everything from golf courses to garbage dumps, suburban cul-de-sacs to highway overpasses, historic landmarks to giant electric signs that signify the 100th billion hamburger sold, and city skylines to farmer’s silos. According to Mae Thielgaard Watts we can ‘read the landscape’ similar to reading a book. If landscape is our collective autobiography, there is much to be read in the now obsolete structures that once provided the basis for an entire network of natural and cultural infrastructures. By repurposing this structure as an important component in the evolving landscape of our nation and world, a platform for regional public education about urban development trends can be created.
A New Purpose
In collaboration with The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Emerging Terrain is soliciting submissions nationwide for 20’x80’ images to hang on the exterior of 16 silos that comprise a highly visible vacant grain elevator near downtown Omaha. Final banners will interpret and represent the interrelatedness between land use, food, and agriculture as embodied in the elevator. After residing on the Omaha elevator for 3-4 months, the banners will travel to three other prominent vacant elevators throughout the state.
A Dinner to Remember
In honor of fall harvest, a dinner table will be constructed at the base of the elevator, for the entirety of the structure’s length, to host an epic dinner in celebration of the banner installation and lighting. The event will be orchestrated in collaboration with the Institute for Culinary Arts at Metro Community College. Thanks to our friends at the neighboring Hanscom Park Neighborhood Association, the owners of the elevator, Silo Extreme Outdoor Adventures, and the City of Omaha, the event will also kick off the continuation of the Field Club Trail past the derelict elevator.
Call for Entries
The information packet includes all the details and requirements for your submission, as well as background information and images to guide your ideas. The deadline for all submissions is 11:59pm CST on May 15. We can’t wait to see them.
Download the Stored Potential Call for Entries PDF