ARTservancy 2020 - 2021
A partnership between Gallery 224 the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, the River Revitalization Foundation, the Milwaukee Area Land Conservancy and the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory to promote the visionary work of both the artists and conservationists.
Read more about the project at The Natural Realm blog.
Forest Beach Migratory Preserve
I am interested in Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, in Port Washington, because of the way this place has transformed over the years. It had once been a natural setting along Lake Michigan and then turned into a golf course, and eventually returned back to nature. When walking through places like the preserve, I find inspiration in how nature can repair and grow into a new cycle. My process is papercutting that is influenced by wildlife, colors, textures, and movement in nature. I create intricate layers and patterns out of paper from the things that fascinate me on my walks.
Sidney Woodlands Preserve
I researched the Milwaukee Area Land Conservancy and zeroed in on the Sidney Woodlands Preserve. Perhaps it was the satellite photo of this triangle of green, a map created from a lens in space that grabbed me. I love that the land has been protected for 81 years and has 136 different plant species on only 3.25 acres. There are a number of reproducing birch trees in the area. I am drawn to these trees and their smooth gray trunks. I spend time outdoors with my family while camping. While I am not a camper by nature, I have come to find my happiest moments are outside with my family, as we hike, bike, and look at the night sky. I paint retro neon signs in oil paint on vintage maps. My goal is to celebrate these quickly disappearing midcentury gems. I am intrigued likewise, by land trusts preserves, as they protect nature's treasures surrounded by urban sprawl. It will be interesting to explore a precious land trust further by imagining a way to capture its beauty on an old map, another disappearing gem.
River Revitalization Foundation in the Milwaukee River Greenway
I am passionately devoted both to photography and to conservation, and to using my photography to promote an appreciation of “nearby nature” in Southeast Wisconsin. I selected to work with the River Revitalization Foundation in the Milwaukee River Greenway because I consider this 800+ acre Greenway to be one of Milwaukee’s best places to experience nearby nature. I am the Project Director of A Wealth of Nature, a project of Preserve Our Parks, and I curate their blog, The Natural Realm.
I am very interested in making work that talks about the environmental issues that face us - particularly those of us that live in the Great Lakes Basin. I began to focus my work in this direction when my youngest son started college and became an Environmental Scientist. He continues to teach me so much about issues facing the Great Lakes and issues surrounding environmental justice. A few summers ago, I was chosen to work as an Artist in Residence at the Trout Lake Limnology Center in Northern Wisconsin. Environmental concerns became a large focus of my teaching at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design - and I worked with two students to write and advocate for a Sustainability Minor. Now a part of our curriculum, last May the first two students who earned this minor walked across the stage. It is a great honor to be able to study and visually represent.
Sauk Creek Nature Preserve
I have been struggling to find inspiration in this complicated world. ARTservancy and the idea of art being influenced by nature and art bringing attention to nature is exciting for me. My previous work was very escapist and decidedly Low Brow. My medium tended to be toxic (spray paint and screen printing). While I feel there is a place for escapism in art, it has not been my focus recently. Thinking of ecology and my passion for our planet has given me a spark of inspiration. Art can have a greater meaning and can be a catalyst for change. My family and I have spent a good amount of time at Sauk Creek Nature Preserve as it is in close proximity to our home. This site is especially interesting to me because of Sauk Creek that begins far north of the preserve and empties into Lake Michigan. This interconnectivity is, to me, the definition of ecology - that everything is connected is something I want to explore in this residency. One of my projects is a nature field station that is a bike trailer containing specimens, field guides and activities. My intent for this project and the residency is to bring together science, art and ecology in a way that brings people a better understanding and interest in our natural spaces.
Donges Bay Gorge
This past summer I have been studying and learning to identify Wisconsin's indigenous trees and their leaves - trees that I have lived with for most of my life. I have been considering ways to incorporate these leaves into monotypes and I have also been pondering how to narrow this large field. ARTservancy provides me a way to focus on trees growing on one distinct piece of land, and, even better, on land that has been designated as worthy and meaningful to restore, preserve, and conserve. I do not have a formed idea of where my current thoughts and leaf study might take me, although I have been imagining a canopy of prints suspended and draped overhead. I am certain this will change as I explore the land and its trees. ARTservancy aligns with what I have been working on and provides additional incentive and inspiration beyond what already hovers in my mind’s eye.
Fairy Chasm Natural Area
The source of inspiration for my art comes from the natural world, especially the lakes, rivers, and forests of the Great Lakes region. I feel a deep sadness at the condition of our natural world these days and want to do what I can to preserve the natural areas that we have left. ARTservancy increases awareness of the natural spaces left in our state, and connecting my art journey with it brings great meaning to me on my creative path. I selected Fairy Chasm Natural Area. I know it well from my childhood. I lived my early childhood in Bayside and spent many happy times having adventures in the ravine. These are some of my most cherished childhood memories. This is where my love of forests, wild-flowers, and trickling streams began. I was just a very young child (should never have been allowed to go down there without adult supervision, but those were different times…) but I still remember the Marsh Marigolds, Trilliums, and Skunk Cabbage, and especially the feeling of mystery in the place. I know from experience why it was named Fairy Chasm; it is where they live.And as a young child, I encountered them in the way only a child can. I hope to do a series of paintings, photographs, and writings about my experience in the Chasm. I am sure it will develop into a long-term project that will continue long after the year is out.
The values held by the ARTservancy program are closely aligned with my own in that my goal in creating any artwork is to instill the viewer with a sense of wonder that inspires the preservation and protection of our natural spaces. A fundamental aspect of my work is that I spend significant amounts of time in a natural area, where I am able to become intimately (but responsibly) familiar with the wildlife and the unique nuances of that particular space. With the structured focus of the ARTservancy program, I will utilize my time to explore new photographic techniques, inspired by my time spent in the preserve, to further my vision. I feel that the array of ecosystems found at Shannon Preserve will be optimal for opportunities to study a wide variety of flora and fauna.
River Revitalization Foundation Turtle Park
I want to draw inspiration from an area in my neighborhood that is protected and restored by the River Revitalization Foundation, Milwaukee’s only urban river land trust. I am focusing on a section bordered on the south by Turtle Park, on the north by the Locust St. Bridge, and framed by the east and west banks. It is well-used by dog walkers, kayakers, water birds, beavers, bats and woolly bear caterpillars, all under the canopy of long-lived trees and newly-introduced native plants. There’s a lot going on here, I want to understand more about it through my art. I like the concept of an artist immersed in a specific natural place for an extended time, making observations and gaining a ‘feel’ for the life there. To be able to share this means of discovery with other artists makes for an even richer experience.
Forest Beach Migratory Preserve
I selected Forest Beach Migratory Preserve because I like the idea of exploring a place that was once a golf course and is now returning to a more natural area whose design will depend more on nature than humans. I look forward to being a witness to the transition. As a child in rural Maine, my friends and I spent our summer days exploring nearby meadows and the shoreline of the lake in our small town, discovering tadpoles, turtles, dragonflies, butterflies and wild flowers. It instilled in me a love of finding beauty in ordinary things. Photography provides a way for me to explore what nature has to reveal. Whether by using my iPhone, simple pinhole cameras, or using no camera at all with alternative photography methods, I hopefully will be able to capture and share some of the magic I see. I already know that the preserve is beautiful in fall fog. I look forward to seeing it coated in white during winter and then seeing it come alive again in spring.
The OWLT took ownership of Schoofs Preserve, this 51 acre property in 2015. I am focusing on the butterfly garden and the number of bugs at this tiny oasis with a pond, Flynn Creek and woods with ground that is always spongy. Thirty acres of white pine and white cedar provide habitat along with the one acre pond. The diversity of plantings sustains a web of life including a variety of insects. The butterfly garden supports 36 species and is the inspiration for this exhibition.
I had the opportunity to collaborate with The Western Great lakes Bird and Bat Observatory to provide community programming supporting pollinators.
ARTservancy provides me the perfect opportunity to expand my portfolio of scientific illustration. My favorite type of work involves sketching and painting nature, and I have a special place for Wisconsin’s wildlife in my heart. I currently work at Aldo Leopold Nature Center, which has given me ample opportunity to learn, create, and teach others about its diversity of prairie, pond, and forest habitats. Zinn Preserve is closest to where I live, and I am interested in exploring and becoming more familiar with the area. I seek to pursue the same thing as the namesake of my nature center, Aldo Leopold. He studied phenology: the way aspects of nature change over the seasons. My goal is to learn and record the phenology of Zinn Preserve to give others an appreciation for the beauty and importance of nature.