Ballo Conservatio: Dance Conservation (Photography Piece)

Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $7,000

Letter of Intent:

March 28, 2016


Campus Sustainability Fund Committee:


As the world evolves humans are slowly beginning to understand the disturbing impact their carbon footprint has on the planet’s resources. How can we grow this understanding? How can we lure individuals into thinking differently about the sustenance of our home, The Earth? I believe an effective way to increase the public’s awareness of sustainability is to change its perception of a person’s relationship to the planet. Art can do that. Art can change perceptions. It can create unexpected relationships. Art can take common notions and change them into evocative images.


The University of Washington is a gorgeous campus surrounded by the beauty of a wide range of ecosystems that require the care and attention of the university’s students, faculty, staff and organizations. The grounds are well maintained and respected. The educational activities that take place on the campus are held in highest regard. But how can we bring the inner workings of every day into sharper focus? Are all Huskies thinking as responsibly and thoroughly about recycling, consumption and more environmentally sensitive alternatives in their daily living activities?


The proposed project is a series of still photographic works that will be showcased permanently across campus in a variety of venues for the UW population to view. The exhibit will be a walking series that will reach beyond one building or one gallery––rather, reaching in all directions across campus. Celebrated local photographer, Steve Korn, and choreographer and graduate student, Joseph Blake, will team up to work with UW undergraduate dance majors to create powerful visual moments of humans interacting with renewable resources––such as paper, water, recyclable dishware, etc. As is clearly evident in the accompanying images by Korn, he knows how to make inanimate objects come alive and he masterfully engages the viewer on an intimate, human level with texture, light and shadow.



Many individuals are extremely conscientious about the role they play in sustainability. Others are less engaged, or have never been galvanized to be actively involved. This project is aimed at the latter two groups of individuals–– the people who have been caught by the current arguments about the need for sustainability. This project puts a human face on the issue. It will be looking in a graphic, human language at how a person may be lured into thinking about recycling, consumption and environmentally responsible behavior.  This project literally looks at sustainability through a different lens.


During my initial three quarters as a graduate student the UW, I have been studying and pondering issues of cultural and economic inequity, dance for diverse populations and human anatomy. Both on and off campus, I have established liaisons with teachers and activists in several areas including Dance for Parkinson's disease, Yoga Behind Bars, Dance and Autism, and Dance and Disabilities. I am a humanist, and activist and an artist. I am an ardent believer in the importance of socially responsible actions and the sustenance of our environment.


The final outcome of this proposed project is an aesthetic reminder of humans’ responsibilities to the planet, the campus and the community. The series will raise issues of sustainability that encourage recycling, connect the effect of humans’ involvement to nature and cultivate awareness our planet earth as home.

The culmination of the project will be a three set series of six photos that will be displayed at the Suzzallo Library, HUB and Meany Hall Theatre Lobby. These venues have been selected for the volume of students and faculty that travel through these establishments on a daily basis. For each series there will be an observational sheet and “drop box” that will allow for gallery strollers to reflect upon their interpretation of the work provided, as well as contribute solutions for why they feel the arts and community can better affect change in hopes of success for sustainability on campus.

Prior to the reveal of the photo series there will be a reception for university and community members to attend that will provide information about campus sustainability, a meet and greet with the photographer, Steve Korn, and graduate adviser/choreographer, jo Blake, as well as a performative collaboration with the dancers from the shoot about campus sustainability. This performance reception will unite many organizations and programs directly in hopes of sparking interests between the university/community members and the arts fields.


The proposed project is absolutely possible and necessary to provide a new and unique way to collaborate the arts, community and the concept of sustainability. With the provided sponsorship from the Dance Program and faculty sponsor, Hannah Wiley, a statement of community effort comes into existence. The idea is not what will this change do for myself, but how will change effect the community and the resources that we, as products of the planet, use on a daily basis. The project will be an artistic endeavor that will span a period of a month considering the time it will take to shoot, edit and frame. The projected costs for an exhibit as such will cost approximately $7000 when taking into account photographer, dancers and the technical aspects for a photo shoot.

The project is to be finalized and ready for premiere by celebrations of Sustainability Month in October of 2016


If there are any further questions or inquiries, please feel free to contact me.

Joseph Blake (Choreographer/Dancer/Artistic Coordinator)



Steve Korn (Photographer)

Primary Contact First & Last Name: Joseph Blake