Roosevelt Islander Online: Sad News, Roosevelt Island Lost A Great Friend

Roosevelt Island resident Matt Katz reports the sad news that A Living Library Founder Bonnie Ora Sherk recently passed away.

According to Mr Katz:

Our friend and long-time colleague involved with the beautification of
Roosevelt Island, Bonnie Ora Sherk, 

                                                                                                  Image From A Living Library

passed away in August at her home in San Francisco. While not a Roosevelt
Island resident, Bonnie had a second home in Manhattan and came to us over
twenty years ago on a $50,000 Ford Foundation grant. 

Bonnie was a landscape architect with credentials in San Francisco and around
the world. Her early focus here was Southpoint Park which was slated for major
renovations, and Bonnie’s schematics for that task were printed in
The Main Street WIRE March 20, 2004
issue at the time. They included plans for a boathouse and launching site for
kayaks regrettably never built. The Trust for Public Land conducted its own
planning at the time, which would have included a make-over of the Renwick
Smallpox Hospital Ruin. RIOC rejected these innovative ideas and produced our
current, modest Southpoint Park. 

Bonnie was the founder and director of Life Frames, Inc. the sponsor of
A Living Library (ALL)
whose mission was, “to transform derelict environments with systemically
integrated hands-on learning for all ages resulting in ecological, place-based
branch Living Library & Think Parks in diverse parts of the world.” Her
work has been displayed at the P.S. 1 gallery in Queens as well as at the
Biennale in Milan, Italy.  

Bonnie never received the municipal financial support in New York City that
supported her projects in San Francisco, but took advantage of the RIOC Public
Purpose Fund to continue creating projects, built with the sweat equity from
all sectors of our population. She turned her attention to the PS/IS 217 schoolyard where both children and adults labored to haul the soil and manure
necessary to transform the area under the hallway windows into a vegetable and
flower garden. 

                                                                                                                 Image From A Living Library

She planted an orchard of fruit trees on the west promenade
school property, tragically destroyed during major school renovations. There
are still two pin oaks, planted by the school kids, across Main Street from
the school entrance. 

Currently, A Living Library is represented by the garden 

located between our new library building and Blackwell Park, now under
renovation. The park, under the leadership of ALL Director China Bushell, is
maintained with the support of many residents, old and young, and you may have
joined the Trick or Treaters at that wonderfully (gruesomely?) decorated crypt
over Halloween.

Those of us who worked with Bonnie over the years miss her terribly. We know
how much she loved Roosevelt Island and Roosevelt Islanders. A memorial is
tentatively planned for next May, Bonnie’s birthday with a plaque to be placed
on one of the garden’s benches and a tree planted in her name. What could be
more appropriate?

Here’s a 2014 interview with Bonnie Ora Sherk describing her A Living Library life long project.

EcoArt Space has more on Bonnie Ora Sherk.

Condolences to Ms Sherk’s family, friends and colleagues.


Source link