The Very Atmosphere: Air is Free………………… ………….. …………. (click image for installation shots)

After being told by the police we should get bigger dogs we realized we needed to establish ourselves in our new community. I decided to start gardening in the front yard and meet everyone who walked by.”1

Shortly after Anne Hars and Bill Wheelock moved to 812 N. Coronado Street their house was sprayed with automatic gunfire. Bullets came through the walls and landed on the floor. Refusing to fortify their home however, either literally or figuratively, they began to garden in the front yard and speak to everyone who passed.

As their garden has grown, so the artists have stepped farther outside of their domestic environment to tend small public places and neighboring gardens. Navigating an area that gang codes, socio-economic tensions and cultural boundaries have striated with prohibitive spatial scripts, Hars and Wheelock apply civility and nurturing attention to the challenge of living with, but not performing, their proscriptions.

Extending the definition of ‘public space’ to include the air we share, for Performing Public Space Anne Hars and Bill Wheelock have created an oxygen garden inside the Casa del Tunel. They are offering plant information via a computer touch screen and plant clippings to anyone who would like to start an oxygen garden of their own.

There was an old piece of furniture sitting out in front of a sober living facility on Coronado at Sunset. It was there for weeks collecting trash. One day I made it into a raised bed and planted some extra seedlings I had from my garden.”2

1: Artist website. 2: ibid

Visit Anne Hars & Bill Wheelock’s website

Watch a KCET news item about Hars and Wheelock’s work for Maria’s Garden (2009)