As a new area in the Department of Art and Art History, Art and Ecology creates a signature discipline for the University of New Mexico. Building from the successful D.H. Lawrence Summer Arts Projects, Southwest Geographic Arts and Land Arts of the American West courses, the Art and Ecology area provides a full curriculum based on the environments and communities of the southwest. Courses are designed to further students' understanding of representation, land use, ecology, and classic Land Art in the Southwest. Art and Ecology engages ecological scholars, artists, and activists both within and outside of academia to support its curriculum. Students will learn to research, write, and speak effectively. Coursework will familiarize them with major ecological systems and the processes involved in creating two-, three- and four-dimensional events. Courses will also include a focus on understanding and controlling the ecological impacts of art materials and practices. The curriculum guides students through collaborations (both interdisciplinary and cross-cultural) and the mechanisms of public process.
The Art and Ecology
curriculum prepares students to pursue various career avenues.
Graduate or undergraduate students will begin the Art and Ecology sequence with two studios. The introductory studio looks at nearby systems, mostly on campus and involves temporary, public, and whimsical work. The intermediate studio looks at systems in the Rift Valley around Albuquerque, engaging students in projects with clients, introducing mentors and collaborators into the process. At the advanced levels, students will then choose from an array of topic studios looking more closely at issues of foodshed, watershed, public art, and climate change. Each studio involves reading, discussion, and field work as part of making. At the advanced level, students take the Land Arts of the American West traveling studio and spend a semester investigating place, artifact, symbols, and ecology while camping in the field. For their final projects, students will choose a mentor for guidance in creating a thesis body of work. Graduate students spend a year preparing this thesis; undergraduates spend a semester. The mentors will come from the list of experts with whom the student has engaged during the topics studios and on the Land Arts journey.
Art and Ecology has established working relationships with the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Agency and Los Poblanos Farms, and is developing a partnership with the Long Term Ecological Research Network, to provide an artist residency opportunity for students to work with ecologists on site. Art and Ecology is also seeking collaborative opportunities with the departments of biology, geography, landscape architecture, and architecture and planning.