Arts in Nature
The Arts in Nature programs promote multi-disciplinary explorations of our relationship with the natural environment through artistic expression, expanding upon Bernheim’s long history of art in the landscape. The program enhances the visitor experience through interaction with art and artists. It is our hope that the Arts and Nature program provides experiences at Bernheim that revive the spirit and encourage creativity. It creates a focal point where art, nature and people can intersect and coincide, inspiring our deep connections with nature.
The Four Arts Programs
The Artist-in-Residence program provides selected international artists with a platform to allow these creative people to build their own synergetic relationships within Bernheim and nature. Artists working at Bernheim have opportunities to work in the community with scientists, other artists and Bernheim visitors in their given medium and are encouraged to explore and investigate new methods and approaches.
The periodic program, Sited@Bernheim brings world renowned artists to Bernheim and the region to inspire our creativity, broaden our horizons, while building regional, national and international visibility for Bernheim, the region and the State of Kentucky.
Local Use by Local Artists builds cooperative relationships with local organizations, regional and local artists and art teachers and students and encourages them to utilize Bernheim’s resources and facilities. Projects are developed annually on a case-by-case basis.
CONNECT is a one night collision of avant-garde music, visual and performance arts, to celebrate the relationships of science, nature and creativity. This event offers an evening of performers, scientists, naturalists, musicians and provides avenues for the public to explore and celebrate the convergence of art, science and nature at this an annual event with growing regional significance.
The Artist-in-Residence Program
The Artist in Residence Program at Bernheim has been in existence since 1980. As of 2012, 32 artists have participated. From photographers and sculptors to performance and installation artists, this program has been beneficial in the advancement of each artist’s career. The most interesting and appropriate artists chosen to participate from the dozens of applicants worldwide, adds an important fellowship award to their resumes.
The Artist in Residence Program is available to all visual artists in any medium. Applicants may be emerging or established artists on a regional, national or international level. Bernheim provides living quarters and studio space for the recipient in exchange for an exhibition, site-specific sculpture or project and the donation of at least one work of art to the Bernheim Art Collection. The residency must include some form of public engagement.
Artists are encouraged to use this 2-4 month residency to further investigate, experiment, and explore avenues in their work. Bernheim is most interested in work that furthers our understanding of the relationship between contemporary art and the natural world.
Applications are accepted November 1st through January 31st each year. A panel of professional jurors select the recipient based on the quality of the work and proposed project submitted. The goal in all of Bernheim’s activities is to help realize its mission of connecting the people with nature. Bernheim Artist in Residence is awarded on an annual basis to a talented artist who will work within the forest and/or arboretum to create works that are inspired by and potentially installed in the natural world. The Residence provides the artist an opportunity to advance their career while enhancing awareness of Bernheim’s goals and mission regionally, nationally and internationally.
Sited@Bernheim periodically generates site-specific art projects, which explore our deep relationship with nature by nationally and internationally known artists.
Created by nationally and internationally known artists, each piece will become a part of an ongoing dialog that will connect people with nature, in engaging, and we hope sometimes challenging, ways.
Sited at Bernheim is also become part of a larger intellectual dialog about the nature of public art, and is a shining example of public art at its best. Hence it will have impact beyond Bernheim borders, and help to define the changing nature of contemporary art as the region and Louisville develops and unfurls its public art program and become apart of the energy that drives innovation on many levels.
The first of Sited@Bernheim is Snake Hollow, by internationally known artist, Patrick Dougherty. It was completed in April of 2012. This piece was built out of gathered willow saplings, a renewable resource, and built beside the Visitor Center by the artist and over 80 volunteers. It will remain on the grounds for two years, at which point it will become mulch and used on site, returning it to the earth. This sculpture will be used to enhance the visitor experience as well as school curriculum, entitled Weaving Science and Art through Nature.
Local Use by Local Artists
Our goal is to build cooperative relationships with local organizations, artists and art teachers and students to use Bernheim’s resources and facilities. These may be project based, community based, school based, or directed by an individual artist or art collective.
An example of this was Inspired by Bernheim, a Plein air opportunity to utilize Bernheim’s natural beauty as the subject matter for a juried exhibition. Artists were given the opportunity to paint in the setting of their choice through out Bernheim Arboretum for the month of September 2011. A juried selection process took place and those selected works were on view, and for sale, during a national conference in downtown Louisville. After the conference is finished, the entire show was transported and displayed at the Bernheim Arboretum for one month. This exhibition was sponsored by a partnership of three nonprofit organizations: The Cathedral Heritage Foundation, the Louisville Visual Arts Association and the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.
We encourage artists, art teachers and students from regional schools and universities to utilize our resources, as do museum groups and visitors from all walks of life. We provide tours of the art works, create dialog about the each artwork and its relationship with nature.
Two current examples are artist, Michael Pierre Price, who is photographing moths and butterflies from Bernheim’s vast Insect Collection for use as source material for a series of art works. He plans on creating an exhibition in Louisville and a book. Lexington based photographer, Nori Hall is creating a series of images based on Bernheim through out various seasons for an exhibition of large-scale, hand printed photographs.
CONNECT is a one night collision of avant-garde music, visual and performance arts, to celebrate the relationships of science, nature and creativity. It occurs in late August of each year. The event is a celebration of spontaneous, unregulated ingenuity, bordering on creative chaos. It’s a tremendous collision of creative thinkers and makers, an event that you have to witness and help create (by attending) to truly grasp. It promisew to stretch the mind and delight the senses.
It provides a moving, unusual experience and interpretation of nature. It creates short term and long lasting dialogues and new community interactions between artists, scientists and other creative thinkers. CONNECT draws its participants and engaged audience from throughout the region, across all socio-economic and demographic lines. And finally, the avant-garde nature of CONNECT pushes everyone’s ideas forward.
Bernheim loosely coordinates the event, provides the time, location, conditions, and infrastructure services. What occurs during the four-hour event is spontaneous, inter-active, participatory, unexpected happenstances that only the participants and attendees will be equipped to truly fathom. No two Connects will likely ever be parallel. “What will be happening will evolve up to the last minute, probably even into the event itself,” Executive Director, Mark Wourms says happily.
The physical stage is a strikingly beautiful location, around the Lake Nevin at Bernheim. Attendees are encouraged to roam around the circumference of the lake. While doing so they may encounter, engage and/or frolic with artists, experimental musicians, naturalists, scientists, actors, dancers, sustainability advocates, mimes, lunatics, puppeteers, filmmakers, all engaged in some sort of endeavor, performance, installation, social interaction, and/or experiential science. What organizers anticipate is playful open-minded and full sensory engagement no matter what or whom one encounters. What happens is a creative collision; it is mind-expanding reverie.
The timing of the event is significant. For example in 2011, 6:21 p.m. to 10:21 p.m., exactly 2 hours prior to and after sun set. The rotation of the earth in and of itself provides the stage lighting and gives the event perimeters that are simultaneously primal and interplanetary.