In the degree-seeking world of academics, art and science students have often existed in a laser-focused segregated culture where never the twain shall meet. But an innovative project led by Utah State University faculty members Mark Lee Koven and Nancy Huntly seeks to change that.
Lee Koven, assistant professor of art, and Huntly, biology professor and director of the USU Ecology Center, are initiating ARTsySTEM, an interdisciplinary project aimed at incorporating art and design methodologies toward scientific data collection, analysis, interpretation and design.
The public art work component of the year-long venture is one of 70 projects selected nationally under the Visual Arts category for a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts ‘Art Works’ grant. The $25,000 award was announced Dec. 2.
“So many attempts to integrate art and science simply involve creating art at the end of a scientific breakthrough,” says Lee Koven, who joined USU’s Department of Art and Design in 2013 and serves as the department’s Foundations Coordinator. “With ARTsySTEM, we’re merging the disciplines at the very inception of the process.”
In addition to the NEA funding, ARTsySTEM benefits from an additional $66,000 from the Tanner Trust for Utah Universities, the Marie Eccles Caine-Russell Family Foundation, USU’s Quinney College of Natural Resources, USU College of Science, Caine College of the Arts, USU Ecology Center, USU Department of Art + Design and the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art.
“Art and science are two powerful ways to discover, understand and create,” says Huntly, who also chairs USU’s popular Science Unwrapped public outreach program.
ARTsySTEM features a year-long artist and scientist residency, a visiting scholar lecture series, art and science workshops and public art exhibitions, along with a semester-long art and ecology graduate course taught by Lee Koven and Huntly. In concert with USU’s 2015 Year of Water campaign, the project’s programming focuses on water ecology.
“The course is open to an equal number of art and science students, who will participate in biodiversity field research and create an ecologically focused public art piece,” says Lee Koven.
ARTsySTEM kicks off its visiting lecturer series and initial exhibitions Jan. 21, with an eclectic assortment of renowned artists and scientists, including ecological artist Brandon Ballengée, evolutionary biologist Andrea Lucky and environmental artist Andrea Polli. Polli’s visit includes the Jan. 22 unveiling of the dynamic outdoor art piece, Particle Falls, a real-time visualization of air quality data.
April 16-17, ARTsySTEM hosts Art/Science Symposium featuring an array of visiting speakers, exhibitions and workshops, many of which will be open to the public.
“By bringing visiting artists and scientists to campus, ARTsySTEM creates great opportunities not only for our students, but for the larger community of northern Utah,” Huntly says.
For more information visit ARTsySTEM on Facebook .
Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517, email@example.com