Hara Woltz, an artist and scientist who addresses the destruction and conservation of ecological systems through a variety of visual media, visited campus this week as GFA’s second Hartwell Visiting Fellow.
Field research is integral to the creation of her work, and her solo and collaborative projects investigate the relationships between humans, the environment, and other living organisms. Her art resides in a number of private and corporate collections, and she has exhibited in spaces ranging from Sotheby’s to Storm King Art Center.
Woltz has worked on a number of global ecological and habitat design projects, including habitat restoration for native species in New Zealand, giant tortoise and Waved Albatross habitat assessment and restoration in Galápagos, Ecuador, and biological and cultural resilience programs in the Solomon Islands, Melanesia. Her work has appeared in many collections and publications such as New York Magazine, and Landscape Architecture Magazine.
As an undergraduate, Woltz studied studio art and biology at Duke University. She has an MA in landscape architecture from the University of Virginia, and an MA in conservation biology from Columbia University. She currently is a consulting artist and scientist at the American Museum of Natural History.
While on campus, Woltz gave introductory presentations to all divisions before embarking on a guided exploration of the tidal zone, an exhibition of student work, in-house field trips, and more. During her observational field trip on the shoreline she and Upper School students explored the marsh, beach, and forest, recording weather data, doing soundscape exercises, and inventory exercises where students dove deep on biodiversity inventory, texture inventory, microclimate inventory, and shell inventory.
Woltz’s presence on campus has assisted students in increasing observational skills to stimulate inquiry around ecological systems and phenomena, increase awareness of and comfort with arts-based inquiry, and observe using a micro and macro perspective to connect details to a big picture, and a big picture to details. Her impact and teachings are one that will influence learning at GFA for years to come.