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Be Part of the Art: Nicole Banowetz’s Fungus Inspired Inflatables

By Hannah Coleman-Zaitzeff

2023 Artist in Residence Nicole Banowetz

Artist in residence Nicole Banowetz is back at Bernheim! 

2023 Artist in Residence Nicole Banowetz is a Colorado-based sculptor and educator who sews inflatable sculptures and delicate assembled forms inspired by the natural world. Her installations spark awe and wonder and have been inspired by algae, bacteria, parasitic fungus, viruses, Radiolaria, rotifers, and dinoflagellates.

Nicole will be spending November and early December creating her residency piece in her signature inflatable style. This yet-to-be-named artwork was developed during Nicole’s first stay at Bernheim this spring. She was present for the March 2023 windstorm that brought down over 100+ trees in the forest and arboretum. She was inspired by this natural phenomenon accelerated by our extreme climate and began designing a piece about the helpful fungus that decomposes fallen logs and makes them ideal habitat for forest creatures and microorganisms.

Join us at Bernheim in the coming weeks in the creation of her artwork from a mix of new and recycled fabrics. The volunteer sessions with Nicole will take place inside the Education Center Gallery and will include cutting fabric, pinning fabric, tracing patterns, and sewing the installation. Nicole would love to have a few volunteers with sewing experience, but it is not required to volunteer!

Sign up for the “AIR Nicole Banowetz Art Installation” volunteer sessions on Volunteer HUB here. If you have any questions or difficulties signing up please reach out to our Volunteer Coordinator, Rebecca Lumbrix, for assistance.

Nicole has created and exhibited work internationally in India, Italy, Ireland, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Taiwan, and England.  The artist has shown in the Biennial of the Americas, The Museum of Outdoor Arts, the Arvada Center, Ironton Gallery, OpenART, Pirate Contemporary, Gray Contemporary, Saginaw Valley State University Art Gallery, and the Kreuzburg Pavilion.  Nicole’s work is in the permanent collection of the Denver Children’s Museum and the Denver Zoo in the US, The Amsterdam Light festival’s Light Art Collection, and Kids Awesome Museum in Taipei, Taiwan.

Nicole Banowetz’s initial sketches for her Bernheim residency installation

Scroll below to see other recently created work by Nicole, who has a very active creative practice, shows her work extensively, and has been living nomadically for some time as she travels from residency to residency. Bernheim is very lucky to work with Nicole at this stage in her career and look forward to elevating her work with your help!


Out of the Bloom, an installation inspired by algae and dinoflagellates.


Biophilic Regeneration Series: The Terra Module featured at the agriCULTURE exhibition at Longmont Museum in Northern, Colorado.


Sea Cucumber, created for the Sh’BANG Festival near Bellingham, Washington, 2023.


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