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Seeking Symbiosis in the classroom

In collaboration with OpenLab and Geoffrey Thomas, we engaged a digital media and storytelling arts class to challenge students to create art that represents biodiversity loss through teaching them about the Joshua tree system, and by bringing them into the greenhouses to study the trees up close and dissect their seedpods. For the final project, we chose the art format of the triptych, which has long been associated with altar painting and day of the dead imagery, so we could commemorate the dying tree. The students work was highlighted in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, exhibited in the art and science departments, shared at the 2016 Social Fictions Conference, and at the 2016 Student Environmental Center’s Earth Summit event. We also presented this project at the AICAD conference at Cal Academy of the Arts, which focused on exploring science in the art studio.


Kara Guzman, 2015. UCSC Art and Science Researchers Partner to Save Joshua Tree. Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Art Department, 2016. Triptych's at the Earth Summit Event! UC Santa Cruz Art Department News.

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