CAA – ARTexchange 2021

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to afflict the world and keep in-person events to a minimum, we at D-Eco-Self managed to squeeze in a workshop earlier this year. In February, Kimberly Callas, along with three students (myself, Ashley Mappeli, and Emily Burney) led a workshop in the 2021 College Art Association Conference, which was a part of ARTexchange and hosted by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, NY. Held over Zoom, the workshop had participants delve deeper into symbols and motifs in nature that resonated with them in order to forge a stronger, more personal connection to nature. The student leaders led group discussions in their own breakout rooms. During the discussion, the students researched the symbols and provided each participant with a custom sheet that had various cultural, scientific, and artistic information surrounding their symbol which was then electronically given to them to take with them after the workshop. Upon leaving the group discussion, Professor Callas led the group through the contemplative art-making portion of the workshop where participants painted mandalas, a geometric configuration of shapes, using their symbols as a guide. They ultimately were asked to draw in a pattern associated with their symbol at the center of their mandalas which signified nature’s connection to the self, as well as their intention to recognize and keep nature within them. While unprecedented, the workshop was a success and made the most of the strange landscape we’ve all had to navigate over the past year. Monmouth University also covers the workshop in a post here.

Mandala by participant Cristina Hajosy made with mushrooms as the focus.

Meet the New Intern!

Another year, another intern! Melania Pugliese is a biology major and art minor, graduating with her B.S. from Monmouth University in May. Despite focusing on getting a degree in science, art found its way into her academic career and Melania has since found a love for ceramics which she desires to pursue further after graduation. She was initially drawn to this project through her deep love of science and a desire to get people invested in the environment. Climate change has been something she has been trying to bring awareness to and was intrigued by the use of art to make the issue more personal as opposed to the more impersonal usage of hard data and charts. Her desire to reach people and educate them has led Melania to look into becoming a high school teacher in order to directly impact communities through teaching biology. She also plans to be part of her school’s art department, hopefully building more art/scientific collaboration!

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to hamper the usual activities of DEcoSelf, so Melania will primarily be working on the website and social media aspects of the project, but she is looking forward to being a part of it!