WITH THE GRAIN

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BIRDS OF A FEATHER

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Species of hope

Amery Inquiring Minds

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Inopia

A special thank you to our partners:

  • N. W. Harris Learning Collection - Field Museum

  • Standing Cedars Workshop

  • Department of Natural Resources

  • Dan Pedersen - danemakes.com

  • Farm Table Foundation

INOPIA, a solo exhibition in partnership with artist Sarah Nelson encompassed a small selection of species, taken from the Natural Heritage Working List, who had been identified as endangered or extinct in Minnesota and/or Wisconsin. The artwork created for the this solo exhibition in 2017, captured the emotions of coming to know the beauty of something while simultaneously watching it disappear. It is both a collection intended to document the species existence, as well as the interdependency that exists among various species and their habitat.

The technique and style of artwork emulated that of illustrators who accompanied explorers throughout history documenting new species. At that time it was to celebrate a new discovery, it seemed appropriate to return the reference by means of remembering/commemorating a species. INOPIA was an invitation to better know the rich world of this region’s natural heritage.

Sarah created and installed 2,000 individual drawings of the caddisfly to cover a 12’ x 40’ wall within the gallery space. To accompany the installation we built a viewing case reflecting the beloved sport of fly fishing because caddisfly to fly fishing is what peanut butter is to jelly. One can exist without the other, it just won’t be the same.

The exhibition also featured habitat dioramas on loan from Chicago’s Field Museum, a custom designed interactive living-room with hand-built analog television set showing short films of the species featured in the art. We also built a series of interactive mystery boxes for viewers to touch and feel natural history items, set up a animal tracks station, and prepared foods using insect flours and preserved bugs. We also hosted artist-led nature drawing workshops throughout the display months and created a audio tour for viewers.


Much ado about bees

A special thank you to our partners:

  • Heirloomista

  • Polk Burnett Beekeepers Association

  • Winehaven Winery

  • Minnetonka Gold

  • Hungry Turtle Food Hub

  • Deep Roots Radio

  • Farm Table Foundation

A full sensory exhibition put on by the Natural Heritage Project in 2016, designed to highlight the various ways humankind interacts with bees. We also highlighted the significance of bumblebees, a diverse and often excluded population in conversations about the future of our pollinators.

The exhibition featured twelve original paintings of honey and bumblebee species created by NHP’s founder Jessica Turtle, the work addressed their habitat, nesting habits and she provided information on the status of their population. To compliment the artwork, we brought in a hand-built Sun Hive on loan from Heirloomista, three hand-painted bee boxes by regional artist Christy Schwartz (retrofitted with a live recording of a buzzing hive), and a learning hive on loan from the Polk Burnett Beekeepers Association.

The opening reception offered a guided discussion about the many medicinal uses and recipes for honey, a full spread of honey-based foods for sampling and a local honey and mead tasting. We invited a local jazz musician, hosted a beekeeping demonstration by Minnetonka Gold’s founder Jeff Dankey, set up photo ops with full beekeeper garb and hired an enthusiastic street performer to dance around town as a bumblebee.