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Past Exhibitions

Science-informed Art Practice began with a compelling need in Flagstaff, Arizona, in 2015. A group of scientists wanted to shift the community's misunderstanding of wildfire in Northern Arizona.

The scientists approached John Tannous, then Executive Director of the Flagstaff Arts Council (now Creative Flagstaff) to inquire about working with artists. The goal was to help the community better understand the science behind wildfire and how local land managers and firefighters were addressing the issue. They sought artists to help them engage the community.

Out of this sprung two exhibitions created within a new framework now called Science-informed Art: Fires of Change in 2015, and Hope & Trauma in a Poisoned Land in 2017.

Fires of Change, the art of fire science visual for past exhibits.

Fires of Change

September 5 - October 31, 2015

Coconino Center for the Arts

November 19, 2015 - April 3, 2016

University of Arizona Museum of Art

Eleven artists participated in a "Fire science bootcamp," a five-day workshop where they learned from scientists, firefighters, and land managers, and visited burn sites. It was the equivalent of a semester's worth of wildfire ecology. Artists created new works of art out of their learning and experiences.

Fires of Change presents a fascinating cross-section of contemporary  art and the history of fire ecology in the western United States. Eleven artists, mostly from the southwestern US, were tasked with exploring the intersections of wildfire, forest ecology, climate change, and fire management practices of the past century and a half. The result is a stunning collection of work that forms a cohesive whole and challenges the viewer to re-think what they know about fire.”

John Tannous

from the Fires of Change catalog Foreword

Images from Fires of Change

Hope + Trauma in a Poisoned  Land visual from past exhibitions.

Hope & Trauma in a Poisoned Land

August 15 - October 28, 2017

Coconino Center for the Arts

Over four days in October 2016, artists learned about uranium mining, its legacy, and its impact that continues today. The program began with a day of panel discussions and expert lectures. This was followed by two days on the reservation, hosted by local leaders. They participated in a traditional sheep butcher, and ate together. The group traveled in vans and buses to visit abandoned mines on the Navajo Nation. On the fourth day, the artists, exhausted emotionally, were given space to decompress and reflect what they had learned.

“It was essential that our artists understood the issue at a deeper level to create art from an informed place. As a group, our goal has been one of advocacy: to bring to light these horrific issues in hopes that our larger community can see how uranium mining on Navajo Nation has been associated with ongoing environmental destruction, and how it has contributed to the suffering of many indigenous families, physically, mentally, and spiritually."

Dr. Ann Collier

from the Hope & Trauma catalog Foreword

Images from Hope & Trauma in a Poisoned Land

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