Nature Heals: Art from the 30 x 30 project
Day 4: Learn about a tree
Day 13: What do you require from nature?
Day 22: Watch the clouds pass by
For 30 days, 3,500 people across the University of Minnesota and around the world received an email with a prompt, a colorful piece of art, a quote about nature, and information and links to resources related to the day’s directive. The message, delivered by the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healingand the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, was part of a project known as “30 x 30” that aimed to motivate participants to spend 30 minutes each day in nature.
Twenty-one of the drawings by Lisa Rydin Erickson that accompanied the emails are now on display in the Institute on the Environment Commons: Meeting and Art Space, brightly colored graphic images of flowers, trees and other Minnesota scenes inspired by nature and created on an iPad.
“My work is very intuitive. And, as nature themes were part of this project, they were created with a very organic feel,” Erickson says. “I love color, and this often leads me to the next step or shape as I draw. I see nature as like this: growing, blooming and changing shape.”
Four 6-foot-tall “figures of imagination” are also on display in the Commons, constructed by artist in residence Brenna Busse from natural materials such as branches and leaves as well as colorful fabric, and representing the four seasons.
“These pieces are a meditation on the seasons, and express the aspects that mark those distinctive times,” says Busse. “Students and passersby helped create these pieces by adding to them in response to the questions posed.” The question for the winter figure, for example, was, “How can we find comfort in this darkness?”
The 30 x 30 project was part of a larger initiative to promote nature-based therapeutics led by CSH and MLA last October. Nature-based therapeutics is the use of sensory experiences, such as people engaging with animals and interactions with outdoor spaces, that are intentionally designed to address a specific physical or emotional need, says Jean Larson, program manager for nature-based therapeutic services at MLA, assistant professor and faculty lead at CSH and the coordinator of the 30×30 project.
“We wanted to raise awareness of nature-based therapeutics and have people connect physically with the idea that nature is healing,” Larson said.
Nature Heals: Art from the 30 x 30 project art exhibit runs through May 20 at IonE’s Commons: Meeting and Art Space and is free and open to the public. Visiting hours are Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. unless the space is being used for a private meeting.
Banner image: “William O’Brian” by Lisa Rydin Erickson