This fall GFA welcomed its second Hartwell Fellow, Hara Woltz. As an artist and scientist, Woltz’s work focuses on “the destruction and conservation of ecological systems through a variety of visual media,” according to her website. Through collaborative projects and solo work, she focuses her work on the interrelationship between living organisms and their environment.
While on campus, Woltz worked with all three divisions to help them draw connections to the beauty of nature around them. Down at Burying Hill, or out in the fields at GFA, she worked with students on building their observational skills (looking at weather data and taking inventory of the objects, textures, sounds, and colors around them), asking big questions about ecological systems, and turning those kills into robust arts-based inquiry. Woltz’ goal was for students to connect details to a big picture, and a big picture to details.
According to Woltz, “I believe that keen observational skills are fundamental building blocks in the development of resonant artistic and scientific work. Weaving together science and art, this weeklong exploration offered students an opportunity to develop critical thinking and notational skills by combining ecological research and artistic practice.”
A field researcher by training, Woltz has collected ecological data on-site in New Zeland, Ecuador, Melanesia, and many other worldwide locations. She uses her biological findings to inspire her works of art, which have been showcased as private and corporate collections, and as installations, like her work with Sotheby’s and Storm King Art Center.