Art Lab at Biosphere 2

I met Ellen Skotheim, creative director of The Rillito River Project during Eat Dinner Fund an Artist; where I was awarded a grant to fund my mural panel project. A few days after the event Ellen called to ask if I’d like to participate in the 2011 Art Lab with Scientists from Biosphere 2.
The project brought together leading artists and
educators with scientists and researchers to explore the Sonoran Desert
Bioregion and be inspired by the unique environment that would surround us during our week long adventure them
at the Biosphere 2 in October 2011.                      

melo spidey

My experience being part of the Rillito River Project was an amazing
one. Originally from Los Angeles and now a Tucson resident, The Rillito
River Project exposed me to a lot of valuable information about the
environment and inspired me to learn more. Our experience began at
Biosphere #2. We spoke to many different scientists about their work and
our group was given a tour of the biosphere. The thing about the
Biosphere is that you have to think of it as a living thing you are able
to walk through and semi control. It’s a very cool experiment.

After our 4 days at the Biosphere we headed down to Cuenca Los Ojos
in the Chiricahua Mountains. We stayed at the Coronado Ranch, an
amazing place. Valer Austin has many acres of land both on the U.S. and
Mexican side of the border. She invited us to see what she has done to
raise the water table and reestablish native grasses on her land by
building simple rock dams called gabions. We also had a chance to see
how the border not only keeps people from their natural migration but
also keeps animals from their natural migration. Being on the Coronado
Ranch and meeting with Valer was a very inspiring experience. We had
the opportunity to see what one person can do to make a huge change for
the better.

melo and valer

I learned a lot from this experience. With this new knowledge I
would like to use my skills as an artist to share it with others. I
feel that if people knew more about how climate change is effecting our
environment they would be willing to make the necessary changes. The
first project I have in mind is to create a painting of the Mexican Free
Tail bat. It lives in Tucson six months out of the year and helps our
local farmers control the bug population. It also eats mosquitoes and
is a delight to have as a summer resident. I would then love to make my
painting into a large-scale mural that the people of Tucson can
appreciate and learn from. This is the project I would like to do as a
direct result of my Rillito River Project, Art Lab, experience.