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March 14, 2014
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‘The Art and The Environment’

Imagine art, not just for art’s sake, but art that walks in the world, recording and archiving the human experience for present and future generations to learn and grow from.

Author, art critic and cultural geographer William L. Fox explores this in his discussion, “Art and The Environment: The Art of the Anthropocene,” presented by Nevada County Arts, ART OnSite, and Wild & Scenic Film Festival’s Arts & Lectures Series Thursday at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.

Fox, the director of the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno and a fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and Explorers Club, travels around the world to speak to students, artists, scientists, historians and naturalists about the art of the anthropocene.

The anthropocene is an informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems.

Fox believes that without a record or archive of such art, we lose knowledge from generation to generation, which threatens a culture’s sustainability.

And now more than ever, a division between the sciences and arts puts the planet in peril.

“When discussing the environment, conservationists and scientists cannot leave out the humanities, including the arts,” says Fox. “The arts have to be involved for people to hear and connect with the stories, and keep them alive.”

Some of the artists and stories Fox covers include geographer Alexander von Humboldt, landscape painter Frederic Church and photographers Timothy O’Sullivan and Ansel Adams, along with contemporary artists Lauren Bon, whose transformative work “Silver and Water” follows the LA aqueduct down the Eastern Sierras, and Marin County-based artists Daniel McCormick and Mary O’Brien, who use sculpture in a way that will allow the damaged areas of a watershed to re-establish themselves.

He will finish with a discussion on present day art displays at Burning Man.

“SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival promotes and engages thinking about the intersection of art and the environment. Bill Fox continues that conversation using mediums outside of film and seamlessly links the human component to the concept of ‘environment,’” says Melinda Booth, SYRCL’s development director who will also lead a discussion and audience Q&A after Fox’s presentation.

Fox reminds us “that not all art in the environment is going to be environmental.”

A good example is the ART OnSite project he helped jury in 2012, which selected eight artists to create land-based art along the Deer Creek Tribute Trail.

Fox says the project offers the community the whole gamut of land art — some of it is for decoration, some is informational, and others works are seen as transformational.

“When Bill Fox was recommended, and then accepted our offer to be one of three jurors for our ART OnSite project, I was thrilled because I knew his expertise as a global leader in the intersection of art and the natural, built and virtual environments would help us achieve our goals,” says Nancy Nelson, ART OnSite co-chair.

“Our community, who live here mainly because they appreciate the arts and our incredible natural environment, will be delighted and entertained by Bill’s research and stories.”

Fox’s talk is a must-see. His passion for landscape, human cognition and history collides with his scholar’s curiosity and power of analysis to produce one of the most engaging discussions yet on art and the environment.

The Nevada Museum of Art in Reno has generously included a complimentary guest pass to the Nevada Museum of Art ($10 value) with each ticket purchased.

About Nevada County Arts

Nevada County Arts facilitates collaborative efforts that promote and sustain the visual, literary and performing arts of Nevada County in order to advance the cultural, social and economic life of our community. www.nevadacountyarts.org

About ART OnSite

The mission of ART OnSite is to strengthen the ties between the community, the environment and the arts through outdoor art installations along the Nevada City’s Deer Creek Tribute Trail.

A collaborative effort between Nevada City, Nevada County, Nevada County Arts and The Sierra Fund, the ART OnSite project has coordinated the selection of eight professional artists and the installation of their artworks for public viewing along the trail in the fall of 2013.

Artists were selected based on proposals that best interpret the culture, history and ecology of the Deer Creek watershed. www.artonsite.org

About Wild & Scenic Film Festival

SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a call to action. At Wild & Scenic, film-goers are transformed into a congregation of committed activists, dedicated to saving our increasingly threatened planet.

We show environmental and adventure films that illustrate the earth’s beauty, the challenges facing our planet and the work that communities are doing to protect the environment.

Through these films, Wild & Scenic both informs people about the state of the world and inspires them to take action. www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org


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The Union Updated Mar 14, 2014 11:51PM Published Mar 14, 2014 10:34PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.