“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” ― Ferris Bueller
This infamous quote from Ferris Bueller truly encapsulates what it’s like to experience spring at Bernheim! Trees can form buds, flower and sometimes drop them all within a weeks time in spring. Lucky for us all, we get to experience the wonder of spring through the eyes of 2021 Artist in Residence Laura Poulette!
Laura was on site last week to observe this ever changing season at its finest and to document her discoveries through her work as a botanical drawer and painter. Her plan while in residence is to document the plants and trees of Bernheim seasonally throughout the botanical year and create large scale drawings and paintings from this experience. Final works resemble large insect or specimen display cases as each element included is cut and mounted slightly off the surface of the background paper once they are painted and a reason so many were excited by her work and residency proposal!
In this short time frame, Laura learned about wildflowers from Bernheim‘s Interpretive Programs Manager and Kentucky Naturalist of the Year, Wren Smith; spent time in the archives with Ida Brown for possibly incorporating our herbarium and species collections into her work; acclimated herself to the Arboretum’s many plant collections and hiked several of the numerous trails that Bernheim has to offer!
“I’m still most excited about all the plants and trees here! I spotted a sweet little clump of trilliums on the trail to my cabin, enjoyed checking out all sorts of exotic conifers, and have returned to the buckeye collection a few times to observe their progress. it is amazing how fast flowers and leaves emerge over just a matter of days.”
Laura Poulette has shown her work at many juried exhibits throughout the region and has received awards and grants from Penland School of Craft, the Kentucky Arts Council, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and most recently a 2021 Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to write, illustrate and produce an artful nature journal. Her work has also been published in Root & Star and Taproot magazines.
2020 marked the 40th anniversary of Bernheim’s Artist in Residence program and the value that art adds to the natural environment. Established in 1980, this internationally renowned program annually awards artists the opportunity to live and create site-specific work inspired by their total immersion experience at Bernheim. As we enter into our 41st year of the program, we will continue to celebrate the contributions of a program that has allowed our visitors to experience nature in a new way while enhancing awareness of Bernheim’s mission of connecting people with nature.