A Wilderness Science and Art Collaboration

Aldo & Leonardo, a partnership between Colorado Art Ranch and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, is a project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The project is inspired by the scientific wisdom of Aldo Leopold and the artistic genius of Leonardo da Vinci. Our endeavor is an interdisciplinary collaboration of artists and scientists designed to celebrate the lands, resources and opportunities protected by the Wilderness Act. In 2013, we are hosting one-month residencies in six diverse wilderness areas. Artists will work alongside wildland research scientists and gain firsthand knowledge of the wonders, complexities and challenges of our nation's wildest places. The result will be a body of work that creatively illustrates the value of wild areas and honors the scientific efforts to preserve wilderness for the next fifty years.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Tribute to Leonard Shlain

By Peggy Lawless, Colorado Art Ranch Co-founder

I knew Leonard Shlain only briefly before his death in 2009, but his ideas are still alive with me. Len was the quintessential scientist-artist: a vascular surgeon, an elegant and engaging writer, and a big thinker who synthesized complex concepts and made them understandable. All that and he was humble and generous and big-hearted.

As with so many important events, I met him through a synchronicity. At Colorado Art Ranch’s first Artposium, an attendee, artist Keith Howard, recommended that Grant and I read Art & Physics and invite the author, Leonard Shlain to speak at a future Artposium. We did both. And Len graciously agreed to speak at the Trinidad, Colorado Artposium on May 15, 2009. But he couldn’t make it. Len died of brain cancer on May 11.

I haven’t stopped missing Len. I miss the books he would have written and the conversations we might have had.  I wish he were here to take part in Aldo & Leonardo, a collaboration of scientists and artists to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. I don’t know if Len loved wilderness, but I do know he’d love the energy and surprises that arise from mixing the creativity of artists and scientists. So, in loving memory of Len, I dedicate Colorado Art Ranch’s creative collaboration, Aldo & Leonardo, to Leonard Shlain.

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