Sweet Survival

California | 2006-2009

Sweet Survival, a site specific work, honors a prominent Sonoma County crop that has succeeded over millennia, largely due to sweetness.  On the Museum grounds, five commercially grafted apple trees, mulched with pink quartz, are surrounded by nitrogen fixing wintergreens over winter, and planted in a pentagon shaped raised bed constructed of five salvaged 11-foot-long french doors.  The design refers to every apple’s interior five-pointed star, its five seed chambers, with five+ genetically diverse seeds. The exterior landscape mimicked a native Sonoma grass fieldstone meadow.

Sweet Survival is a demonstration for educating passerby and Museum visitors about the genetically diverse seeds that one tree can grow.  Steinman invited the public to collect seeds at Museum tasting events. Students from Santa Rosa Jr. College propagated saplings from the collected seeds at the school’s nearby learning farm. The wild saplings were then added to the Museum orchard the following spring.

All trees were donated locally upon dismantling, spreading biodiverse apple trees throughout Sonoma County.

 Patricia Watts, curator.