In 2006, I received a New Works grant from the Rhode Island Foundation to become artist in residence at the Kettle Pond Visitor Center, home to the RI headquarters of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and numerous other conservation partners. I felt blessed that almost in my backyard an institution had been established whose mission it was to protect and conserve this wild community that I had come to need and love. Working as an artist at Kettle Pond allowed me to explore the layering of stories further and to come into contact with environmental professionals who make it their life's work to know all those other languages that I sense in the land: the ancient geological story, the intimate habits of the wildlife or the hydraulic and ecological status of the salt ponds.
As I spent time in the library, to be found both indoors and out, it was the complex layering of human history in this landscape that called me. My resulting installation entitled, "Punctuating Place" is an attempt to evoke those human voices from different eras: the indigenous history, the colonial "contact" period and the century of slavery that powered the plantations that once existed along this coastline. Each of these eras had their own different ways of reading the land, reaping it's resources and punctuating the places that sustained them. I have created figure groupings made out of the materials of those cultures. Each is marked with an interpretive boxes with summaries of history and journals for the public. I hope those of you walking by will take a moment to punctuate this place and write in the journal with your own observations. I am also hoping that the other layers of the wild community will punctuate them with plant growth, bird nests, or find shelter in them.