Up on the Roof

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday April 7, 2021

As we cautiously move forward through this pandemic, hope is an action we can muster even with the stress of uncontrollable external forces. It is sometimes really, really difficult; but when something like the We Are Nature Rooftop Series,  produced by NOoSPHERE Arts comes across my screen, my hopefulness gets a rush. Above: Kingsland Wildflowers at Broadway Stages; photo courtesy Assemblymember Joe Lentol’s office

It’s not like nostalgia for certain songs [Up on the Roof by The Drifters, for example] or drive-in movies [which have been popping up all over New York City during the last few years. It’s more like proof that art matters in ways that just can’t be explained. And that artists working in all mediums continue to reach out to their communities with presentations and performances that often link unexpected elements. 


Above: 2020 performance by Semillas Collective Performance with NOoSHPERE Arts NYC at Kingsland Wildflowers prior to planting

The We Are Nature Rooftop Series is a summer-long program of films, presentations and performances that will be mounted in and around the Kingsland Wildflowers native-flora gardens. Conceived by wildlife experts at NYC Audubon Society, and owned by Broadway Stages, these meadows of green across four staggered rooftop levels in Greenpoint offer a natural habitat for local fauna, migratory birds and human visitors. 


Photo above courtesy of Broadway Stages

Set against 360 degrees views of the gritty, industrial Gowanus environs, with the futuristic, space-like domes of Newton Creek Water Treatment Plant in the middle ground and Manhattan on the horizon, the stunning beauty of these multicolored flowering carpets shines even brighter: a rare nature sanctuary in surroundings increasingly hostile to life. [Note: the Gowanus Canal Superfund cleanup, which began testing the waters in 2016, was halted two years later. Info]

This spectacular setting is uniquely suited to engaging a diverse audience in environmental efforts through art. The series offers a combination of diverse art forms, including dance, music, performance, visual art, poetry, prose and film. The press release includes this quote from sculptor Andy Goldsworthy: “We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So, when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves.

This opportunity to connect with nature through artists’ interaction with nature up on these roofs is bound to bring hope to the many who attend events over the summer of ’21. NOoSPHERE Arts is currently reviewing recent films meeting the following criteria:
• The movie’s subject matter addresses humankind’s place in nature.
• One or more creators behind the production can be be present at the screening in Brooklyn for an presentation and Q&A with Noosphere Arts' NYC audience. To have your production reviewed, please email

View videos of highlights from last summer’s WE ARE NATURE series:

For information about public events sponsored by Newtown Creek Allianceat Kingland Wildflowers:

For more information about Kingsland Wildflowers at Broadway Stages:

For more information about Green Roofs in NYC:

NYC Guide to Green Roofs updated daily


Note from My Desk at The Home Office 

If you want to master transparent watercolor, please join me for a painting immersion in six 2-hour segments: The Interaction of Watercolor, on via Zoom, runs from April 12-May 17. Free to NYC residents thanks to funding by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and NYC Deptarment of Cultural Affairs. Info   Register  @Sculptors.Alliance @peggy.roalf 
For info, please contact: PRinterview