We opened Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison’s Future Garden for the Central Coast of California just a year ago. I was visiting the installation in May to photograph the dramatic plant growth in its three greenhouses and the surrounding landscape, and its high time I wrote about it here. The Arboretum recently finished putting in the new visitor seating area for Future Garden, so this is a fine time to look at how this multi-year art-and-ecology installation is (literally) growing up!
John Weber's blog
Presenting Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller's FOREST (for a thousand years...) in the redwood research forest of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and Botanic Garden was one of the most rewarding curatorial episodes of my time here to date, and in fact of my whole career. We'd been working for more than a year with Janet and George to make this renowned and amazing 22-channel audio installation happen at UC Santa Cruz, collaborating with the Arboretum's great staff and assisted by the San José Museum of Art.
For me, one of the highlights of a year full of them was definitely the two-day student workshop we had at Lick Observatory in May. It was called "Seeing and Knowing in Art and Astronomy." The program emerged from Russell Crotty's residency at Lick and the exhibition we are working on for the Institute of Contemporary Art in San Jose, which will open this November. During Russell's time here we wanted to bring a group of undergraduate students up to Lick to experience the unique flavor of this historic and still scientifically significant observatory.
Happy New Year from UC Santa Cruz! 2015 was a whirlwind of activity at the Institute of the Arts and Sciences. As we work frantically to complete our first big exhibition project, I’m pausing now to share what we accomplished in 2015 and highlight some of the exciting things coming up in 2016.
I am thrilled to report that our artist residency and exhibition project with Russell Crotty, Lick Observatory, and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) has been awarded a prestigious, $30,000 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts grant! This is great news. Warhol grants are highly competitive, and in fact only seven institutions west of the Rockies received a Warhol grant this year, so we have been high-fiving since we got the news last month.
Alumni Weekend 2015 was a lot of fun. We had around 2500 alums and family come back to campus, and the weather was typically perfect. (We were actually hoping for some rain, but it never showed up.) The IAS did two events—our third campus walk with Harrell, Molly, and Nolan from Public Doors and Windows, and an Open House reception following the curatorial panel organized by Jock Reynolds '69. Our Open House was crowded and festive, but mostly I want to talk about the campus walk.
We've done four Leonardo Art and Science Evening Rendezvous events this year, known as LASERs. They've featured excellent speakers from on and off campus, and we have been gratified by strong audience turnouts, including several cases where we had to scramble to add chairs at the last minute after putting out what we thought was a generous number. Conceptualized and first organized by Piero Scaruffi at Stanford, LASERs are conceived as a way to attract audiences for the arts and sciences that would not normally mix.