Art & Ecology is an interdisciplinary, research-based academic program engaging contemporary art practices. Graduate and undergraduate students develop land and cultural literacy with a conceptual foundation and a wide range of production skills, including sculpture, social practice, and digital media. Advanced coursework includes the Land Arts of the American West program, a semester-long travel and place-based arts pedagogy initiated in 1999. Students in Art & Ecology have the opportunity to work on various collaborative and interdisciplinary projects with departments across UNM and on comprehensive thesis projects integrating community and ecological research.

The Art and Ecology curriculum prepares students to pursue various career avenues.

  • Public Artist: Acquire the skills necessary to function in an interdisciplinary and/or collaborative context.
  • Fine Artist: Learn to function as an artist in a traditional context of museums and galleries while making work with an ecological function/content.
  • Educator: Prepare students to lead classroom, field, and studio courses and articulate ecological and aesthetic principles.
  • Land Use Interpreter: Develop a practice of research and presentation addressing cultural land use issues & the reinterpretation of the landscape through art.
  • Activist: Nurture social skills of engagement with an emphasis on a sense of play, celebration, and joy.

Art & Ecology courses encourage students to investigate, question, and expand upon inter-relationships between cultural and natural systems. Our courses place emphasis on methods and tools from many disciplines—including the fine and performing arts, design, the sciences, and activism—to foster collaborative and field-based research and art-making. We view art as an agent of analysis, critique and radical change. We are less bound to traditional media and more to stimulating ideas and new forms of public engagement and aesthetic experience.

Art & Ecology has established working relationships with many partners, including the ASU Desert Initiative, Rubin Center for Visual Arts, Arid: A Journal of Desert Art, Design, and Ecology, Geneva HEAD University of Art and Design, Epicenter, Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Agency, and the Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research Site, Valle de Oro Wildlife Refuge, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Simparch, El Centro Artistico y Cultural, SeedBroadcast, Fodder Project Collaborative Research Farm, Field Studies at Australia National University, Visual March to Prespes at University of Western Macedonia, and LandMarks at Mira Costa College.