University of Wyoming Art Students Examine Biodiversity


This summer, the participants at the University of Wyoming won’t be going to the beach for fun.

Instead, the Art Museum’s 2016 Summer Teaching Institute will promote “Transforming Learning: Investigating Diversity and Biodiversity”.

Participants will examine the relationship of art and science by Brandon Ballengée. It will take place on July 25 – 29, 2016.

Ballengée was an artist as well as a biologist and environmental activist.

Those who are part of this summer’s teaching institute at the University of Wyoming’s Art Museum will join in various studies and discussions led by the artist,

like the “Eco-Actions” stream study, which had been done in Lough Boora, Ireland in 2010 for the “International Save the Frogs Day”.

Science professors, art instructors, and even general curriculum teachers are all invited and encouraged to participate in the summer program.

Each participant will pay $175, with a non-refundable pre-registration fee ($50). Interested parties can also register as partners ($175 for the first partner, $150 for the second, and $125 each for the rest). Everyone must register together, though.

Since the institute will span days, the participants’ fees already include the daily lunch and one evening dinner.

Those interested in joining can register through this form.

The University of Wyoming Art Museum and the university’s own Biodiversity Institute have decided to team up for this year’s summer teaching institute not just to conduct workshops on biodiversity and the works of Brandon Ballengée, but also to showcase the works of Catherine Wagner and Margaret Haydon.

Wagner is an assistant professor at the University of Wyoming’s Department of Botany, while Haydon is a professor at the university’s Art and Art History Department.

These two professors focus on cichlid and sturgeon species and their scientific and creative studies display the interaction and relationship between science and art, using the later to show the diversity and beauty of the former.

Throughout the entire summer program, Bethann Merkle of CommNatural, a company that helps scientists and researchers communicate their results and visions to their peers in a more effective and efficient manner, will lead the discussions and sessions on field journaling.

The teaching team from the Art Museum education team, as well as the instructors from the Biodiversity Institute, will focus on helping the participants to reflect and engage with instructors and fellow researchers in discussing teaching art and science.

The workshops and sessions want to emphasize classroom diversity and biodiversity and how teaching these topics can help students embrace nature and science through different artistic skills.

The trainings and discussions will take place in the university’s Visual Arts Building, Art Museum, Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center, and other places to be handled by the Art Museum curator Katie Christensen.

Since the training institute also talks about art, participants are required to spend some time at the art studios every evening where the

teachers can “explore new materials and ideas inspired by original artwork, scientific findings and assigned readings”,

although experience in art is not required to join the teaching-learning summer program.

The Art Museum’s programs operate with “Museum as Classroom” in mind, where art museums are used to learn more about the different sciences and the world around us.

Rob Clark admin staff managing editor

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