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Cross-Disciplinary Art Project Captures Arboretum Trees

Cross-Disciplinary Art Project Captures Arboretum Trees

Posted: November 26, 2019

In collaboration with Susan McCartney, director of the campus’s Maud Gordon Holmes Arboretum, Carol Townsend, Buffalo State associate professor of art and design, asked students in her spring 2019 Color Theory Design course to create an image based on one of the trees.

The result was The Four Seasons Project, an array of colorful designs produced either digitally or with acrylic paint, which is on display in the Margaret E. Bacon Student Gallery in Upton Hall through December 6. An opening reception will be held December 2 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. outside the gallery.

Students were directed to repeat one image four times with colors reflecting each season. Students then researched and chose a particular tree from the arboretum.

Because it was late winter and the trees were not yet in bloom, Jim Battaglia, research associate in the Biology Department who oversees the Eckert Herbarium, provided specimens of leaves and flowers or seeds from the chosen trees, like the Kwanzan cherry, Eastern redbud, and ginkgo.

“This exhibit results from a true cross-disciplinary collaboration,” Townsend said.

In addition to McCartney and Battaglia, two other campus colleagues shared their expertise during this process. Nancy Weekly, head of collections and Charles Cary Rumsey curator at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, was invited to share examples of Charles Burchfield’s paintings depicting the four seasons, and Eve Everette, assistant director of the Anne Frank Project, led students in a tree meditation exercise to unlock their creativity. 

“The students’ engagement in the project is evident in the exhibit,” Townsend said.

In addition, three of the students’ image sets were commissioned by the arboretum to grace notecards, which will be given to new and renewing members of the arboretum.
 



Photos by Bruce Fox, Campus Photographer

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