Salmon, Raven, and Whale: The Pacific Northwest in Art and Science

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Fall 2017
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

ecology, vertebrate biology
3D studio art

Both art and science require close observation of the natural world and critical thinking about what you see. People have been making these close observations and analyses of animals, plants, and ecology for as long as people have been living in the Pacific Northwest. It has not been until relatively recently in our history that we have divided these activities into two separate disciplines. Despite this separation, certain Pacific Northwest animals—including salmon, ravens, and whales—have continued to capture the imagination of people in both disciplines.

In this program we will examine the natural history of the Pacific Northwest through the lenses of art and biology and compare and contrast these ways of looking at the world. We will emphasize close observation and critical and creative thinking around interpreting what we observe. Students will learn about the natural history of the region with an emphasis on ecology and animal behavior through lectures, workshops, and fieldwork. The program work will include significant time in the studio to develop drawing and 3-D art skills as well as students’ aesthetic sense and skills in peer critique. Students are expected to spend time in the field refining their observation, field research, and art skills. In reading the work of artists and scientists who focus on the Pacific Northwest, we will look for commonalities and differences in their approaches both between individuals and between disciplines. We will critique both works of art and works of biology for their creative and scientific content. 

The goal of this program is to provide students with the opportunity to develop a good foundation in art and natural history and to practice interdisciplinary thinking with regard to these fields. Throughout the program we will come back to the three title animals to provide key examples of everything from capturing movement and form to ecological interactions. You do not need to have any prior experience in art or biology to be successful in this program.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: art, field biology, and environmental studies

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

$125 for museum and event admission fees and art supplies.

Scheduled for: Day

Located in: Olympia

Advertised schedule:

First class meeting: Monday, September 25 at 9am (Lab 1 1050)