Visual Arts collaborates with ecology in Interlochen's pine plantations

  • Instructor of Visual Arts Johnson Hunt makes biodegradable art with students.

  • A student plans her contribution to the art installation.

  • Director of the R.B. Annis Math and Science Division Mary Ellen Newport explains the ecological factors of the site.

October 17, 2017

This year, students at Interlochen Arts Academy have the opportunity to participate in an interdisciplinary project hosted by the visual arts and math and science divisions. The project aims to create biodegradable art while selectively harvesting the red pine plantation at the northern edge of Interlochen’s property.

Students from all majors were invited to enroll in the projects two core classes: “The Art of Ecology,” taught by Visual Arts instructor Johnson Hunt, and “The Ecology of Art,” taught by R.B. Annis Math and Science Division chair Mary Ellen Newport. In the two courses, students will learn about ecological concerns surrounding the plantation -- such as carbon dioxide release, impact on native species and sustainability -- while developing environmental art on the site.

Since the beginning of the academic year students and faculty members have made several site visits to the property. During those trips, students began creating their own small, environmentally-friendly art installations. The students then returned to the site to present their ideas. These ideas will be refined throughout the semester, and the resulting projects will be built during Inter*mester.