"The Lost Bird Project"
Film, Lecture, and Book Signing by Todd McGrain, artist and author
Gone and nearly forgotten, the Labrador Duck, Great Auk, Heath Hen, Carolina Parakeet and Passenger Pigeon have left a hole in the American landscape and in our collective memory. Moved by their stories, sculptor Todd McGrain set out to bring their vanished forms back into the world by permanently placing his elegant, evocative bronze memorials at the location of each bird’s demise. “These birds are not commonly known and they ought to be, because forgetting is another kind of extinction,” McGrain said. “It’s such a thorough erasing.” The film tells the story of how these birds came to meet their fates and the journey that leads McGrain from the swamps of Florida, the final roosting ground of the Carolina Parakeet, to a tiny island off the coast of Newfoundland, where some of the last Great Auks made their nests and where the local townspeople still mourn their absence 150 years later. The Lost Bird Project, directed by Deborah Dickson and produced by Muffie Meyer, is a film about public art, extinction and memory. It is an elegy to five extinct North American birds and a thoughtful, moving, sometimes humorous look at the artist and his mission. www.lostbirdfilm.org
Andy Stern, Executive Director, Lost Bird Project www.lostbirdproject.org
Andy Stern is an Associate Professor of Neurology at The University of Rochester but now devotes himself fully to raising awareness about the environment through activities of The Lost Bird Project. Andy is a Zen Buddhist practitioner and author of numerous essays on a range of topics including the environment, memory and the nature of knowing, mostly from a Zen perspective. An art lover and amateur sculptor, he is married to Todd McGrain’s sister Melissa.
Todd McGrain, Artist, Author, and Creative Director
Todd McGrain has been a sculptor for over 25 years. During this time he has received a number of grants and awards including the Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. McGrain has permanent sculpture installations at the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York; St. Paul Sculpture Park, St. Paul, Minnesota; Kissimmee Prairie Preserve, Okeechobee, Florida; Brand Park, Elmira, New York; Grange Audubon Center, Columbus Ohio; Kohler Art Center, Kohler, Wisconsin; Museum Civico Zoologia, Rome Italy. For the past ten years, McGrain has been directing his strengths as a sculptor toward the Lost Bird Project. He is the artist-in-residence in the Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University. For more about the artist, please visit his website: toddmcgrain.com
Program support provided by BATTLEY Performance Consulting.