Seeding the City: Nature’s Story

Thanks to everyone who came out for Seeding the City and to all our participating designers, artists, speakers, and exhibitors!

Saturday | April 22, 2023
12:00 PM – 5:00 PM Campus Wide
12:00 PM – 8:00 PM Helms Design Center

Being in nature can change our mood, impact our well-being, and provide respite from our busy, urban lives. Even viewing depictions of nature can be a tonic.

So this Earth Day, Saturday, April 22nd, Helms Bakery District invites Angelenos to Seeding The City, a public display of playful and powerful visualizations, pop-up displays, and interactive workshops created by leading artists, designers, and filmmakers.

Create dreamy fairy gardens with landscape architect Takako Tajima, draw wild animals with illustrator Alexander Vidal, witness stunning projections of Digital Flowers by Sean Knibb’s Flowerboy Project, and much more.

The retail stores and restaurants at Helms Bakery District will offer engaging activities throughout the day. Gain insights about water conservation and obtain seed packets from Kohler. Pick up flowers from the mobile shop at H.D. Buttercup | Coco Republic, and enter to win a beautiful Terrace table planter from Room & Board.

Participating designers and exhibitors:
The Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory (BHAC), Joe CoriatyRachel X HobreighSean Knibb/Flowerboy ProjectAnne LaForti, NAHR Nature Art and HabitatNarrated ObjectsPosterTerritoryAmber Richane, Lesley Roberts/SoCal Fibershed, The Samburu ProjectSmall Print Books, Takako Tajima, US Green Building Council-L.A.Alexander VidalJames Vincent.

Scroll down to find out about all the events!


H.D. Buttercup/Coco Republic

Blooms from Pollen LA

12:00 – 5:00 pm

Pop over to H.D. Buttercup/Coco Republic for flowers from Pollen LA, a trendy-artisanal mobile flower company that creates their bouquets from fresh seasonal flowers from California-grown flower fields.


Kohler Signature Store

Water Conservation & Seed Packets

12:00 – 5:00 pm

Gain insights about water conservation and obtain seed packets from Kohler.


Room & Board

Planter Giveaway

12:00 – 5:00 pm

Stop by Room & Board  and enter to win one of two planted Terrace tabletop planters. They will also be giving away packets of wildflower seeds while supplies last.


Pedestrian Plaza on Helms Avenue

Fairy Gardens

Workshop led by Takako Tajima

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Create “fairy gardens” with Takako Tajima, landscape architect who will work with attendees on building small places of enchantment – in planters filled with live plant material and fairy garden accessories (figurines, tiny houses, gates, fences, furniture.) The garden is created at a 1:1 fairy scale, and you can take home a mini-version in pots for sale at the site.

About Takako Tajima

Takako Tajima is a licensed architect and landscape architect based in Huntington Beach who created her first “fairy gardens,” to entertain her children during the coronavirus lockdown. She says they can also be enjoyed as a scaled model for imagining new landscapes and architecture for human beings. When Takako isn’t working for her fairy clients, she can often be found clicking her mouse at her dining table (aka workspace), talking design with her students at USC, or driving her beloved but not-so-eco-friendly minivan to job sites and playdates. In her next life she plans to come back as a writer and/or musician based in Istanbul.

Wildlife Crossings

Drawing Workshop with Alexander Vidal

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Here in Los Angeles, we share a home with an incredible diversity of wild creatures— but how do we make sure the city is safe for both humans and animals? Alexander Vidal, author-illustrator of Wilds of the United States, and illustrator of Cougar Crossing, will share work from his books and discuss some of the incredible wildlife around us, then lead children in a drawing activity in which they get to envision their own wildlife bridges.

About Alexander Vidal

Originally from New Mexico, Alexander Vidal studied cultural anthropology, and spent time living in Africa and Asia before starting his career in illustration. Travel, exploration, and a love for animals and wild spaces continue to drive the themes of his work. A graduate of ArtCenter College of Design, his clients have included The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Ranger Rick Jr, and the California Academy of Sciences.

Nature Notes

Workshop with Narrated Objects

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

How does nature in the city enrich and shape your everyday life? Join authors, writers, and L.A. nature lovers Teena Apeles and Andrea Richards of Narrated Objects to create your own nature journal reflecting on how it enriches and shapes our everyday lives. Fill it with memories, sketches, and even found foliage! Then use your Narrated Objects Nature Notes book to also document your Seeding the City experience!

About Narrated Objects

Narrated Objects is an L.A. creative collective led by writers Teena Apeles (52 Things to Do in Los Angeles) and Andrea Richards (500 Hidden Secrets). Their mission is threefold: to provide individuals with outlets to share their diverse experiences and talents, to enrich people’s lives through unique multimedia stories and events, and to partner with organizations doing good. Narrated Objects published the educational coloring and activity books We Heart P-22 and We Heart L.A. Parks.

Small Print Books

Curated by Colter Freeman

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Small print books is a mobile bookstore traveling the East-side of Los Angeles in a Japanese Kei van. Now founder Colter Freeman will bring his highly personal, and idiosyncratic taste in books to the topic of Earth Day and Nature’s stories.

About Colter Freeman

Colter Freeman is a Los Angeles based filmmaker and writer. When Covid caused the shutdown of his film/commercial work, Freeman knew he had to do something different. “I kept seeing stores shuttered and people hiding, but I also saw more mobility coming into business, flower trucks, coffee vans, outdoor music lessons etc. I finally met neighbors, we shared the food we grew in gardens, Los Angeles finally felt like a community. I began thinking up a mobile business. What did I still take joy from during the pandemic? I still loved reading, it was an escape. I’d first traveled to Japan in 1999 and seen the micro (Kei) vehicles. I would import a Kei Van, build out a transforming interior and become a popup, mobile, bookstore. The community that has shown up after was the only thing I wasn’t expecting.”

Christi Lao and Chip Smith

Music on Helms Walk

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Christi Lao and Chip Smith will be performing live music, bringing the swinging sounds of classic jazz and blending with it the gypsy flavors reminiscent of Django Reinhardt. Lao is a vocalist/guitarist, educator at the Raffia Music Studio, and active member of She Sings She Swings. Chip Smith is a multi-instrumentalist (woodwinds, piano, percussion) and an accomplished composer/arranger.

8723 Washington Boulevard, Culver City

Seeding the City Posters

Exhibition curated by PosterTerritory

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

This International Poster Exhibition of 50+ posters on display (and many more available for viewing in an online gallery) by designers and graphic artists from all over the world, celebrates Seeding the City: Nature’s Story. Reduce your stress, come and see beautiful posters full of love, philosophy, and creativity.

About PosterTerritory

Olga Severina is a designer, lecturer, and founder and curator of the PosterTerritory initiative and platform. She believes that creativity has the power to change the world. Her latest projects are Path of Resistance, Stand With Ukraine, The World After, and Biophilia Poster Competition, which address various social and cultural issues of today. She writes books, magazine articles and blogs that explore the latest trends in visual expression.

Other Realms / Earth, Air and Water

Exhibition created by Rachel X Hobreigh

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Other Realms is a series of small worlds allowing the viewer to consider them with wonderment. In these tiny meditative terrains of crystals and light, anything is possible. In Earth, Air And Water, Rachel X Hobreigh invited 80 global artists to create pieces inspired by air, earth and water. Their responses are shown in the form of 300 unique 4″ x 4″ wooden panels made of multiple mediums: photography, collage, assemblage, watercolor, acrylics, sculpture, and oil paint. These works range in response from that of the literal to the conceptual, with each artist honoring the earth, in their own creative way.

About Rachel X Hobreigh

Rachel X Hobreigh’s work focuses on exploring mindfulness and the five-element theory. The elements of wood, water, metal and fire inform formal aesthetic choices and materials she uses. Artworks are concept based and include sculpture, photography, painting, performance and installation, while techniques are varied, including digital manipulation, traditional painting, and three dimensional works.

Interconnected Relations

Smog-eating Mural (BHAC)

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Interconnected Relations is a bold mural, created by artists and residents in Boyle Heights, that depicts themes around climate change, clean air and environmental justice – and it reinforces that message by using smog-eating paint!

The mural was created by the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory (BHAC) and US Green Building Council-L.A. (USGBC-LA), with support from The Energy Foundation. Artists learned how to use and applied an environmentally friendly, non-toxic paint that also absorbs harmful pollutants in the air. BHAC created a Mural Workforce Academy to paint the artwork, which was designed by artist Elleven Vargas, with a longer term goal of providing jobs implementing murals throughout Los Angeles.

About the project team

The Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory (BHAC) and US Green Building Council-L.A. (USGBC-LA) developed Interconnected Relations, with support from The Energy Foundation. It was designed by artist Elleven Vargas, and painted by the Mural Workforce Academy, which was created by BHAC, with a longer term goal of providing jobs implementing environmentally friendly murals throughout Los Angeles. The other long term goal of the project is to further the impact of the Boyle Heights Resiliency Hub, a community-based space newly founded at BHAC, where people can get information, supplies, services, and resources before, during and after disasters such as earthquakes, extreme heat, and flooding.

The Samburu Project

Pop-up Shop

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

This pop-up shop on Helms Walk features a collection of handcrafted products in support of a great cause.

About The Samburu Project

Based in the Helms Bakery complex, The Samburu Project has worked hand in hand with indigenous communities in Samburu, Kenya, to increase access to clean, safe drinking water as a foundation for improving health, expanding education, empowering women, and ushering in sustainable community growth. Since 2005, they have drilled 145 wells, bringing clean water to over 100,000 people. #WaterIsLife.


8745 Washington Boulevard, Culver City

Color: Soil, Flower, Food

Presentation by So Cal Fibershed

12:30 PM

Join Lesley Roberts of the So Cal Fibershed and Anne LaForti, self-proclaimed soil nerd, biomimic, and bioFuturist in a rapid fire, informative romp through the sources of natural color, from soil through mushrooms, flowers, and food waste. Part science, part craft, part plea to be attentive to the ecosystem under our feet, this heavily illustrated chat will provide loads of time for audience Q&A and will leave you with a deeper awareness of the abundance all around us.

About Lesley Roberts

Lesley Roberts works and plays in the spaces between culture, material, and imagination. She is a creative strategist, community builder, and social entrepreneur, the founder of Material Encounters, and the director of the So Cal chapter of Fibershed. She runs a creative workshop–research studio–experimental space through which she applies thoughtful ideas, creative vision, and clarity of purpose to help individuals and organizations achieve meaningful change and growth.

About Anne LaForti

Anne LaForti is a design strategist skilled in System and Process Analysis, Software Design Life Cycle, Project and Event Management, Team Building, and Product Management. She applies her Masters in Biomimicry to helping to heal the soils of California and beyond – to reverse damage due to conventional management practices and Climate Change, while regenerating the water, nitrogen, and carbon cycles, and supporting other ecosystem services. As a BioFuturist she has a deep interest in diverse indigenous perspectives and healing the earth and our cultural communities through reciprocity.

There’s Something in the Air

A Conversation with NAHR and Frances Anderton

1:30 PM

We all breathe in the same air. Air allows life on planet Earth. Come meet Nature Art & Habitat Residency (NAHR) — an organization that fosters dialogues about art and nature through residencies and workshops in Italy and California. Join NAHR and Frances Anderton for a conversation about WHAT IS IN THE AIR, this year’s topic.

About NAHR

NAHR Nature Art and Habitat is a non-profit organization dedicated to explorations on the environment and creativity, located in Taleggio Valley, Bergamo, Italy and Santa Ynez, California. Its program fosters an eco-laboratory of multidisciplinary practice, hosting researchers and scholars from all around the world yearly. NAHR’s goal is to unfold and display a sensitive type of culture that relates to nature as a source of inspiration and a measure of available resources.

About Frances Anderton

Frances Anderton is the author of Common Ground: Multifamily Housing in Los Angeles, published by Angel City Press. She co-produced 40 Years of Building Community, a short film about the nonprofit housing developer Community Corporation of Santa Monica. For many years Anderton hosted KCRW’s DnA: Design and Architecture radio show, and produced the current affairs shows Which Way, LA? And To The Point. She writes a regular newsletter for KCRW and she consults on programming at Helms Bakery District.

City Hall East

A talk with Joe Coriaty and Amber Richane

2:30 PM

In 2020 the City of Santa Monica unveiled City Hall East, an extension to its City Hall that was designed – by Frederick Fisher & Partners – to be a “Living Building,” with waterless toilets, edible flower gardens, rainwater capture and the capability to generate more energy than it consumes. Two years on, how is the building doing? Did it capture the rain that fell this past winter? The project architect Joe Coriaty and Amber Richane, Project Manager for the city of Santa Monica, will sit down with Frances Anderton and discuss the journey of making and using this highly sustainable building.

About Joe Coriaty

Joe Coriaty is Managing Partner at Frederick Fisher and Partners, where he has dedicated his career to creating cultural, academic and civic buildings that integrate environmentally conscious and timeless design. His many projects include the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Hall at USC, Annenberg Community Beach House, Colby College Museum of Art, MoMA/PS1 in New York, Bergamot Station Arts Complex, and City Hall East for the City of Santa Monica, the first municipal structure to receive Living Building Challenge Certification as a Net Zero Water, Net Zero Energy, Net Zero Waste, and self-sustaining building.

About Amber Richane

Amber Richane is a Senior Design Manager in the Architecture Services Division of Public Works at the City of Santa Monica. She is the Project Manager for City Hall East and other deep green projects around the City. City Hall East is the first municipal structure to receive Living Building Challenge Certification as a Net Zero Water, Net Zero Energy, Net Zero Waste, and self-sustaining building. The building was completed on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020. From driving a solar powered electric car to conservation projects at her home and children’s schools, environmental stewardship is central to Richane’s life.

My Garden of a Thousand Bees

Film Screening

4:00 PM

Join us for a screening of My Garden of a Thousand Bees which follows acclaimed wildlife filmmaker Martin Dohrn, who, locked down by coronavirus, turns his lenses on the surprising and spectacular bees living in his own urban garden in Bristol, England.

About Martin Dohrn

Martin Dohrn is an award-winning filmmaker who has been producing specialist landmark natural history films for over 30 years. Martin’s roles extend to Director, Executive Producer, and writer, but today he is still focused on camerawork. Martin’s ground-breaking films include Mara Nights and Killer Ants for BBC, Night of the Lion for National Geographic and David Attenborough’s Light on Earth for Terra Mater Factual Studios, CuriosityStream and BBC. The National Geographic film Great Migrations earned him an Emmy for craft cinematography, adding to the multiple awards earned for his innovative children’s series Smalltalk Diaries, as well as three BAFTA nominations.


Digital Flowers / Flowerboy Project

Exhibition and dialogue with Sean Knibb and James Vincent

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

The garden designer and creative director Sean Knibb wanted to make lovely blooms more widely available – in digital space. So he and the team at Flowerboy Project, the fine coffee and flower bodega on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice which he founded, created one-of-a-kind, individually 3D modeled and rendered bouquets of flowers available for purchase as NFTs. At Helms Bakery District, these floral arrangements are blown up to wall-size, stunning viewers with their painterly beauty. Knibb will discuss his vision and process in a conversation with James Vincent, former CEO of Apple’s exclusive global agency partner, Media Arts Lab at the finale event of Seeding The City.

About Sean Knibb

Sean Knibb is the founder of Knibb Design, a small multidisciplinary design team with wide interests, ranging from gardens to restaurants – including the transformation of an IHOP into the multi-award winning A-Frame – to hospitality, commercial interiors, residential estates, and art. From his native Montego Bay, Jamaica, Sean’s informal training began at the age of five while cultivating anthuriums in the garden behind his grandparent’s flower shop. The interplay between the nature of the tropics and the colonial formality of his childhood home have cultivated a refined understanding of the juxtaposition of the wild, organic beauty of nature and the restrained geometry of the man-made.

About James Vincent

James Vincent is the Co-Founder and CEO of FNDR, a brand consultancy that “works with transformative founders, harnessing the power of narrative to give voice to their vision and shape their companies’ future.” For over a decade, James worked alongside Steve Jobs, building Apple’s creative narrative for ground-breaking products such as the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, App Store & iPad. He founded and was CEO of Apple’s global agency of record, Media Arts Lab and later went on to work directly with Brian Chesky at Airbnb to build the Trips Platform, before launching FNDR to drive growth for over 140 founder-led businesses globally, including Evan Spiegel (Snap), Sara Menker (Gro Intelligence), Nicolas Julia (Sorare), Thomas Clozel (Owkin) and JC Samuelian (Alan). James is also the guest host of Fast Company’s ‘Most Innovative Companies’ podcast.

DJ Caviar at the Design Center

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

About DJ Caviar

DJ Caviar, aka Robin Bennett Stein, provides unique curated music ambience for design and architecture events. He tenaciously tracks down out-of-print, non-streamable gems that impart freshness and surprise. He also brings an ear for the beat of a pro musician (in his other life, he writes, directs and teaches guitar and voice to the perennially young, and has previously fronted several bands.) He spins a mix of beat-conscious electronica/techno/disco/soul/vocal/instrumental jazz, blended with avant-garde and modernist classical in a mélange designed to please discerning partiers.

We would like to thank all our partners! 

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