Illustration of Always Becoming:  Phase II by Eliza Naranjo Morse

Illustration of Always Becoming:  Phase II by Eliza Naranjo Morse

Every moment there is renewal in ourselves and nature. Our responsibility as a human being is to recognize and utilize the knowledge of renewal and pass this information on to our children. -Author Unknown

                    Always Becoming Sculptures, Photo by Ernest Amoroso

                    Always Becoming Sculptures, Photo by Ernest Amoroso

In the summer of 2007 the sculptures of Always Becoming were built by a crew made up of indigenous families from the Southwestern United States and Mexico. The materials were simple, dirt and straw, sand and wood. The artistic concept embraced culture, environment and family. It's been eight years since these ephemeral sculptures were constructed on the Smithsonian Mall and over the years Always Becoming has weathered the often harsh seasons of the East coast with incredible resolve. Every spring Mason Bees burrow into the surface of the sculptures, birds nest in cozy areas of the forms as each piece gently dissolves back into the ground from where they started. 


                        Always Becoming Sculptures 2008, Photo by Cliff on

                        Always Becoming Sculptures 2008, Photo by Cliff on





We return to Always Becoming every year and each year we become more connected and familiar with these living art pieces. Watching as the weather exposes new layers of texture, color  and unexpected changes in form. Like culture, environment and family, Always Becoming expects our stewardship. This year we will return with a new generation of stewards who are committed in bringing their particular skill sets and intentions to the pieces. Reconstituting old materials and rediscovering the process and magic of becoming

Always Becoming:  Phase II-  September of 2015:

Media and Blogs:



National Museum of the American Indian Blog:


Benito Steen

When I was 16 years old I worked on the original Always Becoming. That summer I worked with my family and our friends from Mexico building mud sculptures on site at The National Museum of the American Indian. Shortly after Always Becoming I taught organic building in Chang Mui, Thailand. Eventually I returned to New Mexico and helped build my grandmother's adobe home on tribal land in Santa Clara. Since working on Always Becoming I've traveled, learned and practiced my building skills with organic materials. I look forward to working once again on Always Becoming with what I have learned and experienced.

See more of Benito's work on his FB page:


Nora Naranjo Morse

I too was an original crew member of Always Becoming.  I worked along side my family.  I worked with people who became my family.  We created sculptures that represented culture, environment and home.  The ephemeral nature of Always Becoming opened unexpected doors, revealing symbols of cultural and environmental transition through the process of dissolving.  A living art piece demands stewardship and to this end, new opportunities emerge for the next generation of people exploring issues of cultural and environmental transition.  I am honored to be a part of a new generation of Always Becoming and look forward to even more creative exploration.
















Eliza Naranjo Morse

 Now I am 35, and I like this because I feel very connected to people. Every single one of us is getting older all together!  I can see ahead and behind me more clearly as I expand my capacity to listen and understand and empathize.  And those things help me figure out how to live a life I feel good about.  These days I am enjoying building a house,  making a sculpture out of trash I collected at the dump, and growing food.  


















John Cross

 Whether the material is mechanical, structural, organic or design oriented, I work using the information I have collected from my own experience as well as the incredible wealth of information all around us to craft to the best of my ability.  I believe this way of working is its own art form.  I am a manufacturer of garden products,  I am father to a teenager,  I am building my own home out of straw bail, adobe and steel, and in a couple weeks I expect to pull 2000 pounds of potatoes out of the land I work with.