Festivities in the forest

  • Homemade paper flags embedded with native plant seeds hang at the Riley Woods site.

  • President Trey Devey (center) along with students, guests, Visual Arts Instructor Johnny Hunt (second from right) and Director of Visual Arts Mindy Zacher-Ronayne (far right) plant a sapling at the Riley Woods site.

  • Students utilize a seating area at the Riley Woods site.

  • Signs created by Art of Ecology students help guests find their way in Riley Woods.

  • Students model garments created by visual artists.

May 29, 2018

On May 9, the Visual Arts and R.B. Annis Math and Science Divisions celebrated the culmination of this year’s studies at the Riley Road pine plantation.

The site, now called “Riley Woods,” is a transitional space for art and ecology. Since September, the Art of Ecology and Ecology of Art classes have been collaborating to increase the ecological diversity of the site through reforestation and remedial art.

The May 9 event, called “Mother Earth Day,” was originally intended as an all-go for Arts Academy students, but was cancelled due to inclement weather. However, President Trey Devey and several donors braved the weather to visit the site and celebrate the students’ achievements.

During the opening event, Devey, with the aid of several guests and students, planted a young sapling on the site. The event also included original fashion designs modeled by students of all majors.

The Riley Woods site includes two clearings, known as coops, that are designed to aid in the area’s reforestation. One of the coops has been designated as an artistic space, where students can create and install remedial art pieces. Some such pieces already installed include seating made of natural materials, handmade paper embedded with seeds, and more. The second coop has been set aside for ecological study. The Riley Woods area also features wayfinding and educational signs made by the students in the two courses.

The Art of Ecology project will continue in the 2018-19 academic year.