Art & Natural History Initiative

Artwork on Display at our Fall Open House

Painting Feathers with Maryjo KochThanks to the generous support from an anonymous donor, the Norris Center has launched its Art & Natural History Initiative program! We aim to connect natural history studies with art using the resources available through the Norris Center, our local environment, and through collaborations with local artists and partners.  In our first year kickstarting the program, we had an enormous outpouring of enthusiasm from students and community members for the natural history-themed art classes, workshops, and events we sponsored.

Student illustration of the Yellow-bellied Racer

This past year, we kicked off our program with a Fall public open house event entitled Cross Pollination, the Art and Science of Local Natural History, featuring the work of local artist Maryjo Koch and the collections of local naturalist Randall Morgan.  We offered several day-long painting workshops led by local nature artists Maryjo Koch and Erika Perloff.  With the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, we co-hosted a talk given by artist and explorer Lily Simonson, who shared her art that she creates by immersing herself in research expeditions in Antarctica. During spring quarter, we ran a science illustration class for students led by UCSC artist/scientist (and graduate student) Juniper Harrower. Students created beautiful works of art from the collections in the Norris Center, exhibiting their work at the Inspired by Nature show at the UCSC Art Department, as well as the Environmental Studies student research and poster session.

We are excited to offer many more classes, workshops, and events starting again this Fall! A new instructor, Mattias Lanas, will be joining us to teach a new 5-unit natural history illustration class for students. We will also be offering four new art making workshops open to both students and community members (reserve early, they will sell out!).

Illustrating reptiles and amphibiansAnd don’t miss our fall Artstravaganza! event on November 4th and 5th.  This free event will feature numerous talks by a variety of talented artists and encourage participation in art demonstrations and mini workshops. Keep checking our website for more details on this event later this summer.  And keep checking back for other future science and art opportunities as we continue to develop this new exciting program.