Artists, scientists collaborate for art exhibit at Brushwood Center

Brushwood Center submission
Posted5/4/2021 12:00 PM

Artist N. Masani Landfair attributed the chronic basement flooding of her former Chicago home to the aging and inadequate infrastructure of her South Side neighborhood.

Until she heard from scientist Aaron Packman, director of the Center for Water Research at Northwestern University, who said that climate change is also increasing the frequency of intense storms and severe flooding in the Chicago area.


She also connected the dots to climate after hearing scientist Elena Grossman, with the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health, talk about the health impacts of climate change. The dialogue prompted Landfair to create a series of collages that relate the physical and mental health tolls of frequent flooding based on her personal experience of local climate change.

Landfair, Packman, and Grossman were among 14 artists and scientists brought together for "Third Coast Disrupted: Artists + Scientists on Climate." The project entailed a yearlong conversation between artists and scientists centered on climate change impacts and solutions in the Chicago region.

The dialogue inspired seven recently commissioned artworks for an exhibition by the same name. The show will open May 7 at Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods, 21850 N. Riverwoods Road, Riverwoods. It was created through a collaboration between Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University's Institute for Nature and Culture, and TerraCom.

"Brushwood Center is honored to open this exhibition as the kickoff to our 38th Annual Smith Nature Symposium series, focused on climate justice and healing," said Catherine Game, executive director of Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods.

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"We hope that Third Coast Disrupted catalyzes creativity and action in our community to advance climate solutions rooted in equity."

"One exciting aspect of the show is visitors' ability to hear directly from the artists and scientists," said Christine Esposito, founder of TerraCom and its Ex.Change Project, and project director and lead curator of Third Coast Disrupted.

"Through QR codes accompanying each artwork, guests can see the artists and scientists talk about the art and the science."

The artist-scientist dialogue began at a daylong retreat and continued for nearly a year through a series of four artist-scientist salons.

"The lines between our disciplines blurred over time, as we learned to look at the issue of climate change through each other's eyes," said Third Coast Disrupted aquatic scientist Philip Willink, who will lead "Woods, Waters & Wildflowers -- A Climate Walk with a Scientist" from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, at Ryerson Woods.

The walk is one of several free Smith Nature Symposium and Third Coast Disrupted programs being offered, including a virtual opening reception for the exhibition at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 6, and "From Disruption to Healing -- A Climate Walk with an Artist" from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, at Ryerson Woods.

Third Coast Disrupted: Artists + Scientists on Climate will run from noon to 3 p.m. Sundays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays, or by appointment, May 7 through Aug. 22. Masks are required.

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