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.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Looking West by erogerscello

The day is approaching for take off from Rochester, the north-east, to a new climate. Last night I picked up my freshly re-haired cello bows with extra long white stallion hair for the dry climate, and taught my last class before the summer ends here in Rochester.

As I hiked in the Adirondacks last week end I thought about what differences in conditions I might expect; how much more water I might need, how much warmer (or not) the temperatures would be, how there would be less mud and many fewer green trees. I wondered what new wild-life I might see (scorpions and poisonous spiders?!) and whether I would be lonely.

Yesterday I tried to explain to two different people what this adventure was going to be about. One's response was "so what are you going to get out of this?" and the other exclaimed "what an amazing experience!". This seems to be the opposing views of art, and of life experiences: 'Does this experience bring you anything tangible? Is it practical - does it bring you education, money, particular skills?'   OR   'WOW! What a different view of life you'll get, how you'll grow, what a difference this will make for you as a person!'  Of course, the two go together- learning anything in life gives you something, but what if it isn't quantifiable on a graph or measurable in your pocketbook? Arts teachers struggle to explain this in schools for pragmatic personalities asking 'but what do you gain, how do we measure it?' assuming that the best and most dependable vocations to prepare students for are definable, measurable areas such as science, health, engineering. I look ahead to collaborating with scientists, and I am aware that I have equated scientists with the same people asking me 'is it practical?, do you get paid?' those personalities not understanding why I might set out on an adventure, or a project because I must, because its calling to me, its an incredible opportunity. I wonder if I might actually find a scientists who also pursues their work for the same love of something, for the feeling that if they don't keep learning and growing their soul might shrivel up and die, regardless of whether their bills are paid.

My nieces told me my room is a MESS! - True. It is littered with piles of everything I might need for my adventure...

I whittle the list down- appraisal for Scubba my cello on Tuesday to try and get my insurance in place before I leave, pay bills ahead for September, collect paycheck for summer camp with Writers and Books, type lesson plans for my cello students while I'm gone, spend time with the people I love...
Soon I'll be on a train headed WEST!

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