LOGAN, UTAH – Utah State University’s ARTsySTEM, an interdisciplinary project aimed at integrating art and science, opens its Logan River Public Art Installation Thursday, July 14, 2016, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. River enthusiasts of all ages are invited to attend.
“The art installation, which focuses on the caddisfly, is the culmination of more than a year of work by various artists and scientists — especially Andrea Lucky, in collaboration with USU’s ARTsySTEM directors, who collaboratively explored the ecology and diversity of the Logan River and its meaning to the people of the area,” says artist Mark Lee Koven, assistant professor in USU’s Department of Applied Science and Technology and co-director of ARTsySTEM.
The July 14 opening takes place at the art installation’s three sites located along the Logan River Trail in southwest Logan, Utah. The first site is located near the pedestrian bridge at roughly 1500 South at U.S. Highway 91. About 100 yards south along the trail, the second site is situated at the confluence of the Logan River and Spring Creek. The third site, about 100 yards further along the trail, is located at the bridge for golf carts and pedestrians.
“We chose caddisflies as a focal point of the installation because these insects are a crucial part of the river’s food web,” says Nancy Huntly, biology professor, director of the USU Ecology Center and co-director of ARTsySTEM.
Each art installation site along the river features a J-hook-configured stone pathway extending from shore to water, allowing visitors to walk out into the river to interact with the aquatic environment.
Visitors to the installation’s July 14 opening will enjoy art activities and will also have the opportunity to view the river’s underwater life using hand-held, immersible viewing scopes. The opening also features a nano-comic coloring book with drawings by an art and biology student, who was part of an ARTsySTEM art-science class.
A highlight of the opening is a 38-inch-long sculpture of a Caddisfly casing, carved by USU art student Jason Millard from the trunk of a birch tree. The “casing” is the protective cocoon the aquatic insect manufactures from its own silk and bits of gravel, sand and river debris for its offspring. The multi-layered structure, which mimics the case’s pebbled surface, is titled ‘Brachycentrus’ after the genus of caddisfly endemic to northern Utah.
ARTsySTEM’s public art work component is one of only 70 projects selected nationally for funding under the Visual Arts category of the 2015 National Endowment for the Arts grant program and the first USU project selected for the prestigious award.
Initiated at USU in 2014, ARTsySTEM is an interdisciplinary project aimed at incorporating art and design methodologies toward scientific data collection, analysis, interpretation and design.
“So many attempts to integrate art and science simply involve creating art at the end of a scientific breakthrough,” says Lee Koven. “With ARTsySTEM, we’re mingling the disciplines at the very inception of the process.”
In addition to the Logan River Public Art installation and the joint art-ecology class, ARTsySTEM conducted a year-long artist and scientist residency program, a visiting scholar lecture series, art and science workshops and public art exhibitions, featuring ecological artist Brandon Ballengée, evolutionary biologist Andrea Lucky and environmental artist Andrea Polli. Polli’s Jan. 2015 visit included the unveiling of the dynamic outdoor art piece Particle Falls, a real-time visualization of air quality data, outside the Caine Performance Hall.
ARTsySTEM embarks on a new, academic-year project series in fall 2017.
For more information visit the ARTsySTEM Twitter and Facebook pages.