• Novemeber 3, 2016:  The Blued Tree Symphony, a special lecture by Aviva Rahmani
  • Aviva pic.jpgAviva Rahmani’s work is exhibited and published internationally. She is an Affiliate of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), at the University of Colorado at Boulder, CO., and received her PhD from Plymouth University, UK on the topic of “Trigger Point Theory as Aesthetic Activism.” In 2015-16 the Blued Trees Symphony won a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) residency to work on the Newtown Creek superfund site in Brooklyn, NY with the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP), NY, received an Ethelwyn Doolittle Justice and Outreach grant, and was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in the category of Architecture/ Environmental Structures/ Design. Previous ecological art installation projects resulted in the restoration of a former dump site to a flourishing wetlands system, Ghost Nets 1990-2000 with help from the Nancy H. Gray Foundation for Art in the Environment. Her Blue Rocks project helped catalyze a USDA expenditure of $500,000 to restore 26 acres of critical wetlands habitat in the Gulf of Maine.

    Aviva is passionate about the natural environment. Her practice is about damage to, conservation and restoration of ecosystems. That work relies on research that includes collaborations with scientists, such as the Gulf to Gulf webcasts accessed from 85 countries. The Blued Trees Symphony works with nature, to effect climate change policy. What is special about this process, is how knowledge systems about paint, sound, the judicial process, and ecology, are integrated into a synesthetic aesthetic to halt natural gas pipeline expansions. Each length of installation is a 1/3 mile measure of music made of “tree-notes,” painted with a non-toxic casein of ultramarine blue and buttermilk, to make a vertical sine wave on each tree-note. The distribution is aerially visualized as objects that correspond to musical lines in space.  Additionally, individual trees are being painted as a Greek Chorus. Cumulatively, all the tree-notes comprise a larger symphony, copyrighted for protection, extending across the globe.

    Aviva Rahmani’s website: http://www.ghostnets.com

    Public Program
    November 3, 2016, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Research Hall, Rm. 163
    George Mason University Fairfax Campus.

    April 7, 2015:  READING THE RIVER, a special lecture by Basia Irland

  • Basia Irland at the Rio Grande.jpgFulbright Scholar, Basia Irland is an author, poet, sculptor, installation artist, and activist who creates international water projects. Many of these projects are featured in her books, “Water Library” (University of New Mexico Press, 2007) and “Reading the River: The Ecological Activist Art of Basia Irland” (edited with Roel Arkestein, Museum De Domijnen, 2016). These books focus on projects the artist has created over three decades in Africa, Canada, Europe, South America, Southeast Asia, and the United States.Through her work, Irland offers a creative understanding of water while examining how communities of people, plants, and animals rely on this vital element. She is Professor Emerita, Department of Art and Art History, University of New Mexico, where she established the Arts and Ecology Program. She often works with scholars from diverse disciplines building rainwater harvesting systems; connecting communities and fostering dialogue along the entire length of rivers; filming and producing water documentaries; sculpting hand-carved ice books embedded with native riparian seeds; and creating waterborne disease projects around the world.Irland writes a blog for National Geographic about international rivers, written in the first person, from the perspective of the river. Her 2015 TEDx talk in Vail, Colorado was entitled “We ARE the River: Urine Watershed – Planting Seeds.” Irland lectures and exhibits extensively and was the only artist invited to participate in the Foundation for the Future’s International World Water Crisis Forum in Seattle, Washington, 2010. In November 2015 – February 2016, she had a major retrospective exhibition, “Reading the River,” at the Museum De Domijnen, Sittard, the Netherlands, curated by Roel Arkesteijn.

    Basia Irland’s Website: http://www.basiairland.com/

    Public Program
    April 7, 2016, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Research Hall, Rm. 163
    George Mason University Fairfax Campus.

  • November 12, 2015:  Betsy Damon

Betsy_Head_300dpiBetsy Damon is an internationally recognized artist who works with the environment, communities, science and art.  Coming from a traditional art training, Betsy, over the last 40 years, has paved a distinctive path with performance, community projects, public sculpture and urban design.  In 1991, she created the nonprofit Keepers of the Waters, which organized ground-breaking ecological art performance events in Chengdu and Lhasa, China (1995/6).  Her interest in living systems led her to be involved in urban design projects in China and the United States.  Betsy created the Living Water Garden (1998) Chengdu, China, a renown public park and a model for natural water filtration.  Innovative in concept, this park received the Water Front Center’s Top Honor Award among others.  Betsy worked on other urban design projects in China, notably contributing to the wetland design for the Beijing Olympic Park (2005).  In the United States, Betsy works towards community-based models of water stewardship, as well as completing art/design commissions.  She works with grassroots groups, teaches, and gives lectures and workshops.  Her project Living Waters of Larimer: A Fresh Infrastructure (current), has been awarded both a Heinz Foundation Grant and an ArtPlace America Grant. This community project in Pittsburgh, PA, envisions and pursues a sustainable future through equitable repurposing of harvested rainwater.  Betsy continues to exhibit her drawing, video and sculpture work, and contribute essays on art, community, water and the environment.  Throughout her career, Betsy has been awarded grants to continue her work from organizations including Artist Space, the National Endowments for the Arts, New York Foundation of the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, and the Kalliopeia Foundation.

Betsy Damon’s Website:  http://keepersofthewaters.org/


Public Program
November 12, 2015, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Research Hall, Rm. 163
George Mason University Fairfax Campus.

  • April 9, 2015:  Lillian Ball


Working to have a positive effect as an environmental artist and activist, Lillian Ball has thought long and hard about potential ways to make an impact that encourages stakeholder action.  How can appreciation of place engender public involvement? What kind of visual strategies reinforce the scientific and ethical values protecting natural spaces? The need for a sustainable approach to erosion control and revitalization of areas challenged by climate change is urgent in waterfront areas worldwide. The WATERWASH® series is one effort to ask and answer these questions. Both of the completed WATERWASH projects merge public art, social practice, and storm water pollution remediation. This lecture will present recent work, screen Bronx River WATERWASH (a 50 minute documentary by Reorient Films) and discuss the options available to us all as citizens.  How can we possibly measure a place’s value to its inhabitants? What kind of place making experience or philosophy encourages people towards ecosystem protection? Landscape can activate the gap between form and function, inspiring opportunities for artists, scientists, and public officials to restore human as well as natural environments.

“ A garden is never finished” Shunryu Suzuki

Lillian Ball is an ecological artist and environmental activist working primarily with water quality and erosion issues. A multidisciplinary background in anthropology, ethnographic film, and sculpture inform her work. She has exhibited and lectured internationally, most recently at the Queens Museum, the Seville Biennial, and Reina Sofia Museum in Spain.  Numerous art awards include:  two New York State Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, a John-Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Grant. Invited to contribute a chapter to “The Human Dimensions of Ecological Restoration” (Island Press 2011). She was named 2012 Environmentalist of the Year by the North Fork Environmental Council, and awarded a citation by the New York State Assembly for WATERWASH ABC. Since 2006, when Ball was appointed to the Southold, NY Land Preservation Committee, she has worked with this maritime municipality on conservation, land use, and stewardship of their public preserves and farmlands.

Recently, the on going WATERWASH® public project series combines storm water remediation, wetland habitat restoration, with educational community outreach. The original prototype transformed a water access park and was funded by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund as a concept that can be adapted to coastal situations worldwide.  WATERWASH ABC, the second completed work, is an innovative collaborative green infrastructure solution to runoff pollution in the Bronx River. Job skills apprentices from Rocking the Boat, a non-profit teaching local youth to build wooden boats and do environmental work on the river, collaborated with the artist, planting over 9000 native plants. WATERWASH ABC cleans commercial parking lot runoff before it enters the river, opens private property to pubic use, and was funded by the NY State Attorney General’s Office with fines from polluters.

Lillian Ball’s Website:  http://www.lillianball.com/

Public Program
April 9, 2015, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
George Mason University Fairfax Campus.

  • November 4, 2014: STACY LEVY w/ special video message from JACKIE BROOKNER

270px-Stacy_LevyAbout the Artist:  Stacy Levy uses the language of landscape and art to tell the ecological story of a site, drawing on both art and science. Her projects reveal the sometimes hidden natural world in the urban environment. Stacy’s work seamlessly integrates the beauty of art with site design to create memorable places alive with nature and sensation. Her projects distill the essence of nature and reveal its processes to the user. Stacy works closely with building architects, landscape architects, engineers, horticulturalists and soil scientists to create artworks that allow natural systems like the infiltration of rainwater, to function and thrive. Through a lyrical approach to natural science, Levy blends an understanding of sustainable design and ecological concepts and harnesses the ephemeral changes of weather and light with the lasting presence of sculpture.

From rivers to runoff, Levy has explored the many facets of water: urban watersheds, storm water, hydrologic patterns and water treatment. Her installation “Calendar of Rain” creates a year-long record of precipitation, collected daily in shimmering glass jars.[3] One of her current projects for the City of Yonkers’ waterfront – incorporates the use of LED technology to visually manifest the ebb and flow of the Hudson River tide. Ms. Levy has completed numerous rainwater pieces including a watershed rain terrace for Penn State University’s new Arboretum, and rain garden for Springside School with the Philadelphia Water Department and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. She has public commissions in New York, Seattle, Philadelphia, Tampa, New Jersey, Canada and Niigata, Japan.

  • November 4, 2014:  Jackie Brookner

Ecological artist Jackie Brookner collaborates internationally with ecologists, engineers, design professionals, communities, and policy makers on water remediation / public art projects for  wetlands, rivers, parks, and stormwater runoff.

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Her  projects in Fargo, ND (in process), Salo, Finland (2009), San Jose, CA (2008), Cincinnati, OH (2009) , West Palm Beach, FL (2005); and near Dresden, Germany (2002) are living water filtration systems that restore habitat, reclaim polluted water and create multifunctional public spaces.  Her large-scale participatory remediation art projects are designed to help people reconnect with the places in which they live and to activate collective creative agency as people work together to develop viable strategies where regenerative cultures and ecologies can meet.

Stacy Levy’s Website: http://www.stacylevy.com/

Jackie Brookner’s Website: http://jackiebrookner.com/

Public Program
November 4th.
Research Hall, Rm. 163,
George Mason University Fairfax Campus.

6:00 pm – 6:30 pm: Presentation Mr. Thomas Faha, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
6:30 pm – 6:50 pm: Reception.
6:50 pm – 7:00 pm: An Introduction to The Rain Project with special video message from artist Jackie Brookner.
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Lecture by acclaimed Eco-Artist Stacy Levy, “The Rain is my client”.

  • April  3, 2014: T. ALLAN COMP

EcoScience+Art is a new initiative and collaboration between the arts and sciences at George Mason University. It is our mission to bring together individuals working across the boundaries of ecosystem science, art, and design fields to share knowledge, expertise, and wisdom for creatively engaging in the common pursuit of a sustainable future.

allanheadshot_3_LOWres-Allan TPlease join us for a very special evening with the acclaimed eco-art pioneer T. Allan Comp.  Comp will present his work in a program open to the public on April 3rd. at 6:00 pm at George Mason University. A reception with a showcase of local art and environmental projects will begin at 5:00 pm.

About the artist: Prominent in reclamation art literature, the work of historian T. Allan Comp is widely recognized as a model of innovation in multidisciplinary approaches to ecological and cultural revitalization. For over fifteen years, Allan has been developing and implementing variations on his model of reclamation that equally engages art, ecology, and community. Allan’s first major implementation of his idea took place in a community-based project called AMD&ART in Vintondale, PA.  AMD&ART combined community-development, history, public art, and natural resources sciences to create a vital public space in the heart of a community devastated by pre-regulatory coal mining and its environmental and social consequences. Allan subsequently tested his model of transdisciplinary collaboration at the University of Virginia-Wise, the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology on the Oregon coast, and with the North Fork River Improvement Association in Paonia, Colorado.

Allan has received three awards from the National Endowment for the Arts—two Individual Fellowships and a Community Planning Grant—along with an artist residency at the Hirsch Farm Project, a Bridge Residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts, a long-term residency at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and most recently as part of an invited team of artist/collaborators at the Headlands.

A Ph.D. in Economic History and the History of Technology with a penchant for mining communities, he has received national awards for his work with communities of the Appalachian coal country, for his successful effort to engage the arts and humanities in environmental recovery, and for his remarkable choreography of multiple federal agency partnerships, particularly with AmeriCorps*VISTA, in working with rural mining communities.  An employee of the Department of the Interior Office of Surface Mining, Allan has been profiled by Orion Magazine, received a Phoenix Award from the EPA Brownfields Program, was named a Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures in 2007, and was the first federal employee ever to be named a National River Hero by River Network in 2009.  In September of 2009 he was awarded the Service to America Medal in the Environment by the Partnership for Public Service, the highest award a federal employee can receive.  An historian with a long engagement in cultural resources, community redevelopment and environmental reclamation, Allan, widely recognized as an artist/thinker and a good speaker, once was described as “a relaxed blend of John Muir, John Dewey, and John the Baptist.” He is committed to the recovery of Appalachian mining communities from a century of pre-regulatory exploitation and neglect – and to the expansion of that experience to the rural mining communities of the Mountain West and elsewhere.

T. Allan Comp’s Website:  http://www.tallancomp.com/

Public Talk
“Science and the Arts in Environmental Reclamation: Equal Partners = Better Results.”  A by T. Allan Comp.
5:00 pm – Reception featuring a showcase of local art and environmental projects.
6:00 pm – T Allan Comp lecture.
Research Hall Rm 163, George Mason University, Fairfax VA

  • November 7, 2013: PATRICIA JOHANSON

Patricia_Johanson_photo_by_Scott_HessPatricia Johanson’s major projects combine art, ecology, landscaping, and functional infrastructure.  They include Fair Park Lagoon in Dallas (1981-86), a municipal flood basin, and “Endangered Garden”, San Francisco (1987), a transport-storage sewer whose roof provides public access to restored habitats and is part of the Bay Circuit Trail.  Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility in Petaluma, California utilizes sequential wetlands to process sewage into recycled water, while framing infrastructure as a public park and homes for local wildlife.  “The Draw at Sugar House”, Salt Lake City, incorporates a major highway crossing for Parley’s Trail with a sculptural dam, whose floodwalls and spillway recall the Mormon journey through Echo Canyon.  And “Mary’s Garden” in Scranton, Pennsylvania reclaims mine-scarred land, where water drops through seven levels of underground mines, restoring surface flow and providing geothermal energy, storm water treatment, restored ecological communities, and sculpture, within the context of a public park.

Patricia Johanson’s Website: http://patriciajohanson.com | Spanish Site
Art and Survival” by Caffyn Kelley
Patricia Johanson and the Re-Invention of Public Environmental Art, 1958-2010” by Xin Wu.

Public Talk
“Art, Ecology, and Infrastructure.” by Patricia Johanson.
6:00 pm. Research Hall Rm. 163, George Mason University, Fairfax VA

1 Response to Speakers

  1. Pingback: Speaker Session | Eco Science + Art

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