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Utah State University Presents the Crossroads Project

Thursday, Sep. 06, 2012

The Crossroads Project poster
The Crossroads Project, Robert Davies and the Fry Street Quartet

(left to right) USU physicist Robert Davies and the Fry Street Quartet — Rebecca McFaul, Robert Waters, Ann Francis Bayless and Bradley Ottesen, combine efforts in The Crossroads Project, a performance that intertwines music, art and science.

Art and science collide in the name of sustainability throughout September and October as Utah State University and the Caine College of the Arts present a series of events, discussions and performances as part of The Crossroads Project, a multidisciplinary exploration of the Earth’s resources.

“Information alone has not taken us far enough, nor will it; emotion, as well as intellect, is needed,” said USU physicist Robert Davies. “It is science and art together — the synergy of these two great human enterprises — that can compel a more powerful response by creating both intellectual and emotional clarity.”

Originated by Davies and USU’s Fry Street Quartet, The Crossroads Project explores the complexity of sustainability through the complementary perspectives of art and science. The concept merges intellect with emotion in an effort to inspire a meaningful response through a synergism of informed understanding and visceral experience, said Davies.

On Sept. 12, The Crossroads Project hosts the first of five discussions related to the Earth’s resources and sustainability. Jeff Ostermiller from the Utah Division of Environmental Quality will discuss what he describes as the seemingly unending supply of water. This discussion will be held in the Tippetts Exhibit Hall in the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU’s Logan campus at 7:30 p.m.

Beginning Sept. 10, three solo art exhibits will open as part of the project. Rebecca Allan: Ground/Water will reveal four paintings commissioned for The Crossroads Project;  sculptor Lyman Whitaker’s insulation of The Elements will be on display around grounds near USU’s Performance Hall; and environmental photographer Garth Lenz will exhibit The True Cost of Oil. Lenz’s traveling exhibit, located in the Tippetts with Allan’s works, compares and contrasts images of the industrial and natural landscapes of Canada’s tar sands and the boreal forest that surrounds it. On Sept. 26, Lenz will hold a discussion regarding his exhibit at 7:30 p.m. in the Tippetts Exhibit Hall.

On Sept. 19, USU professor of sociology Douglas Jackson-Smith will discuss the global agri-industry and the juncture humanity faces with regard to the world’s food system in the Tippetts.

At the core of the project, on Sept. 27, is a multidisciplinary performance featuring live music from the Fry Street Quartet. The performance marks the premiere of “Rising Tide” by composer Laura Kaminsky. Images from the Lenz, Allan and Whitaker exhibits, with scientific insight from Davies will combine with the concert pieces performed by the Fry Street Quartet. This display of collaborative works, with an artistic and scientific voice, responds to one of society’s challenges — global sustainability and climate change.

“Our intent is to offer our audience a profound meditation on the choices we are making as a society today, the paths these choices are creating and the dramatically different landscapes to which they lead,” said Rebecca McFaul, violinist for the Fry Street Quartet, the resident quartet for the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University.

The event series spans the month of September and October with three phases of discussion. The phases — Connections, Crossroads and Destinations — represent where society is, the choices at hand and where the choices made today may take society.

Events for The Crossroads Project are as listed:

Sept. 10-Oct. 10, 2012          


Rebecca Allan: Ground/ Water

New York-based painter Rebecca Allan’s exhibition Ground/Water reflects the artist’s longstanding interest in watershed and coastal environments.                           

Garth Lenz: The True Cost of Oil

The True Cost of Oil: Canada’s Tar Sands and the Last Great Forest is a travelling exhibit of the Alberta Tar Sands — or Oil Sands — and the boreal forest ecosystem which surrounds them.

Ground/Waterand The True Cost of Oil exhibits are located in the Tippetts Exhibit Hall & Balcony in the Chase Fine Arts Center on the Utah State University Logan campus from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Exhibits are open and free to the public. 

Lyman Whitaker: The Elements                                            

By placing the sculptures in settings dependent on natural elements for movement, opportunities are provided for participants to think about their surroundings. These sculptures are organic and natural in interactive settings.

The Elementsexhibit will be installed around the Performance Hall Promenade on Utah State University campus. The exhibit is open and free to the public. 

Sept. 12, 2012: 

Connections…On Water

Jeff Ostermiller, water specialist with the Utah Division of Environmental Quality, discusses issues of pollution, supply and ownership with regards to water supplies.                       

Sept. 19, 2012: 

Connections…On Food                                             

USU sociology professor Douglas Jackson-Smith looks at the current state of the world’s food systems, the issues they raise and the paths to reinvention — focusing the well-being of farmers, human health and environment.     

Sept. 26, 2012: 

Connections…On the True Cost of Oil                                             

Environmental photographer Garth Lenz brings to USU his award-winning visual exploration of the Canadian tar sands.

All Connections presentations begin at 7:30 p.m. in theTippetts Exhibit Hall in the Chase Fine Arts Center at Utah State University and are free and open to the public.

Sept. 27, 2012: 

The Crossroads Project

Featuring music by the Fry Street Quartet and narration by Robert Davies. The performance intertwines music, art and science to reflect on the profound nature of the crossroads society stands at today.

The Crossroads Projectperformance will be in USU’s Performance Hall at 7 p.m. Tickets are $17 general admission and can be purchased online at, by calling 435-797-8022 or in the Chase Fine Arts Center Box Office in room 139-B.


Oct. 3, 2012: 

Destinations…Re-imaging Food                                           

Presented by Lori Ann Lau (Lau Family Farms), Jesse Corbridge (Appenzell Farms) and Penny Trinca (First Frost Farms)

A look at local food producers as they discuss the challenges and rewards of building a new food system from the ground up.

Oct. 10, 2012: 

Destinations…Re-imagining Home               

Presented by Kevin Jones, Three Men & a Shovel

An exploration of sustainability in every backyard to improve efficiency and quality of life through better design.                                     

All Destinations presentations begin at 7:30 p.m. in theTippetts Exhibit Hall in the Chase Fine Arts Center at Utah State University and are free and open to the public.

More information and tickets are available at the Caine College of the Arts Box Office in room 139-B of the Chase Fine Arts Center, online at the Caine College of the Arts website ( or by calling 435-797-8022.

Information about The Crossroads Project is also at its website.

Related links:

Writer: Denise Albiston, (435) 797-1500,

Contact: Jeff Counts, (435) 797-9106,

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