Tag Archives: art

A view of the saltmarsh at Allens Pond in Dartmouth and Westport. The marsh grass is bright and verdant and there is a small, white egret wading in the water in the distance.

Mass Audubon Issues Call for Indigenous Artists

A view of the saltmarsh at Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Dartmouth and Westport.

Mass Audubon invites local, Indigenous artists to submit interest applications for consideration to design a structural, elemental art installation to be featured at one or more Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries. The artwork is intended to spotlight, honor, and celebrate Indigenous relationships with nature and the land of Massachusetts and/or New England.  

Funding and Budget 

At this time, Mass Audubon has received funding from the Mass Cultural Council to pay an artist for conceptual and final designs. Once an artist is selected from the pool of interested applicants, Mass Audubon will pay $2,500 for conceptual drawings and another $2,500 for a final design. Mass Audubon is currently seeking funding for the fabrication and installation of the artwork. When funding for the installation is secured, the selected artist will have the opportunity to fabricate and install the final artwork. 

Design Parameters 

The final piece(s) should be constructed with elemental or natural materials (wood, stone, etc.), preferably sourced from in or around the New England region, and be able to withstand outdoor conditions. Pieces should be tactile and interactive in nature, celebrating and provoking reflection upon the Indigenous sovereignty, culture, and heritage of the region, including past, present, and future. The artwork may also highlight the artist’s own connection to nature and the land in Massachusetts and/or New England. Interpretive signage may be developed to accompany the piece, if appropriate.  

The Intent 

The application process is intended to find and contract with a local, Indigenous artist whom Mass Audubon will commission to design a concept for a future art installation. The application is for artists to express interest in consideration for the project; fully developed concepts are not required at this point.  

The interest form requests the following information: 

  • Name and contact information 
  • A brief description of the artist’s interest in the project and their personal connection with their Indigenous heritage and the nature and lands of what is now called Massachusetts 
  • A description of the artist’s work, style, and preferred medium(s) 
  • Links to examples of previous work, such as a digital portfolio, public Instagram account, or similar platform 

The application deadline is midnight on December 31, 2022.

To apply for consideration, please complete the interest form.

If you wish to upload photos of your past work, please do so here.

Plumage Project

The Making of an Upcycled Owl

Art is silent but powerful, just like an owl’s wings. To kick off Blue Hills Trailside Museum’s very first Owl Festival, which took place on October 13-14, art, imagination, and creativity were combined with science and conservation to create the Plumage Project. The idea for this project was developed by part-time Teacher Naturalist Karin Sanborn, who is an artist among several other avocations.

Plumage Project

Plumage Project

Before the event, a call went out for “feathers” created from found materials. An activity station was set up in the museum so visitors could easily participate. One of the focal points for this project was conservation, so raw materials were pulled out of recycling bins. Old cereal boxes and construction paper scraps were “upcycled” and converted into art.

Art Meets Science

Another focal point of the project was science education. Visitors to the museum used feather templates, labeled with names like “primary feather” or “covert feather.” Posters and other visual displays helped visitors explore feathers: the huge variety of shapes, sizes, textures, structures, and functions.

Each feather on a bird’s body is like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, with a unique shape that will fit no other place on the bird’s body. And each feather has a specific function, which can range from flight to protecting a bird’s eyes from sun and dust. Hundreds of feathers were either created at the museum or dropped off by visitors.

Trailside’s Kathleen Regan provided the sweat needed to complete the assembly of the final product, a larger than life sized representation of a Great Horned Owl. We plan on running future cooperative art projects like this one, combining art, science, and conservation with the goal of helping people connect to nature.

— Perry Ellis, Blue Hills Trailside Museum Teacher Naturalist