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Protecting Endangered Women-Designed Landscapes


November 17, 2020

The Cultural Landscape Foundation focuses on Women Landscape Architects and Designers

The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) recently released Landslide, its seventeenth annual report and exhibition about threatened and at-risk landscapes. In honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, the 2020 report focuses on endangered sites across the country designed by women. This year’s digital exhibition entitled Landslide 2020: Women Take the Lead features works by Beatrix Farrand, Martha Schwartz, Ruth Shellhorn, and Harlem Renaissance Poet Anne Spencer, and includes more than twenty video interviews. 

The title is derived from a May 13, 1938  New York Times  article about women landscape architects that includes the sub-headline “Women Take Lead in Landscape Art.” 

According to Charles A. Birnbaum, TCLF’s president and chief executive officer and 2020 recipient of the GCA Historic Preservation Medal, “Landslide 2020 not only raises the visibility of twentieth century women landscape architects and designers, and the potential ephemerality of their built contributions, it also features critical voices of inspiring contemporary practitioners such as Gina Ford, Alison Hirsch, and Sara Zewde, who address the unique issues women practitioners confront and what can be done to insure their success in the profession.”

The threats to these landscapes range from lack of recognition, insufficient funding, and deferred maintenance to outright demolition. Due to the pandemic, TCLF created an online exhibition featuring contemporary and newly-commissioned photography, and also produced more than twenty richly illustrated four to eight minute video interviews, Landslide Conversations, with designers and others associated with the sites. There are also introductory and concluding interviews with practitioners who address present-day issues and the challenges women face in pursuing a career in landscape architecture. 

For more information about The Cultural Landscape Foundation click here.


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