LTEArts Goes to Washington: Exploring the Beauty of Science on Wisconsin Lakes

In 2011, researchers at the Center for Limnology’s Northern Temperate Lakes Long Term Ecological Research project teamed up with artists in Wisconsin’s Northwoods to explore a new way of communicating science. They all asked the same question – what happens when six artists and six scientists join in exploring the complexity, beauty and future of northern lakes?

Little Ripple, watercolor, Ann Singsaas - a painting in the original LTEArts exhibition
Little Ripple, watercolor, Ann Singsaas – a painting in the original LTEArts exhibition

The result was “Drawing Water,” a traveling exhibition of painting, quilting, sculpture and poetry that casts an artist’s eye on scientific research being conducted in Wisconsin lakes. Originally conceived as a one-year show, the exhibit was folded into other programs at LTER research sites and dubbed “LTEArts.” It a project that has, thankfully, kept giving. This March, the National Science Foundation headquarters in Washington D.C. will feature a second exhibit of works from northern Wisconsin artists about our lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. To see a preview of works with artist statements, go here.
On the rocks, painting by Melinda Schnell
On the rocks, painting by Melinda Schnell

As NTL-LTER director, Emily Stanley, has put the idea behind the project: “Some people have a visceral reaction against science, but we’re hoping that art can draw people in to the facts at an emotional level.”
Based on some of the wonderful work we’ve seen, they shouldn’t have a problem. From gorgeous paintings of food web interactions in freshwater fisheries, to an ingenious use of quilts to display charts and graphs documenting long-term change on northern lakes, LTEArts has been a smashing success. And it’s been a great way to get people thinking about the beauty and fragility of our freshwater resources.
For more, visit the LTEArts page. Or, follow the northern Wisconsin artists on Facebook!
Ice Phenology, embroidery on silk and velvet, Bonnie Peterson
Ice Phenology, embroidery on silk and velvet, Bonnie Peterson

2 thoughts on “LTEArts Goes to Washington: Exploring the Beauty of Science on Wisconsin Lakes”

  1. I can tell, the compination of artists and scientists created something extraordinary!!!!

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