Doug and jean michielli-pendl, margaret gutowski, michael marletta, jamie greenfield, virginia horvath, peg mcRae Silvio, Carl Silvio, Lawrence Harris.
Arts & Culture

Calling all artistic scientists!

A call for submissions is now underway for the Art of Science Exhibition to be staged on May 4 at the Science Center at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

The top three pieces displayed will win cash prizes: $250 for first place, $150 for second and $100 for third place, also known as the “people’s choice” selection.

The event celebrates the connections between science and art. All art projects must include an explanation of the science behind the piece. The complexity of the science is less important than the art.

A reception and awards ceremony will be held on Friday, May 10, at 4 p.m., in the Science Center. Fredonia alumna Jamie Greenfield, ’76, will be the invited guest to the event and will present a talk about her experiences as an artist. Her original work, “Cathexis 2014,” hangs in permanent display in the Marletta Conference Room on the second floor of the Science Center. The oil on canvas work was commissioned by Marie Beichert, ’74, and Lawrence Harris, Mary McDonnell,’74; Jean Michielli-Pendl, ’72, and Douglas Pendl, ’73; Peg McRae Silvio, ’85, and Carl Silvio, ’74.

The next morning, on Saturday, May 11, there will be a panel discussion about the intersection of arts and sciences. There will also be hands-on activities for children of all ages in the Science Center as well as elsewhere on campus. Details are to be announced.

The goal of the exhibition is to inspire young scientists through art. The broader goal is to generate discussion and communication between artists and scientists, explained Department of Biology Associate Professor Scott Medler. Medler is organizing the event with the help of Olivia Connor, an Art and Biology major, and Timothy Frerichs, a faculty member of the Department of Visual Arts and New Media at Fredonia.

“There’s stereotypically this split between scientific people and artistic people. You don’t think about a lot of overlap [between the two], but there actually is,” Dr. Medler said.

Medler talked about how throughout history, art and illustration have been used to not only explain a process but to synthesize ideas. For example, the neuroscientist, Ramón y Cajal, who was also trained as an artist, meticulously drew neurons to explain the concept of a synapse – something that earned him a Nobel Prize.

This May will be the exhibition’s second run at Fredonia. Last year, Medler was surprised and pleased with the turnout in participation.

“I had no idea how many submissions we would get,” Medler said. “I felt like it was a really fantastic reception for the first time that we did it.”

Medler said with the call for submissions going out via posters hung around campus and the help of some students who participated last year, he hopes the 2019 exhibition will be just as popular.

“I’m hoping there’s interest in it,” Medler said, “I’d like it to expand a little bit. If we had 25 [participants] last year, maybe if we could get 35 or 50, it would be great.”

Last year’s submissions were mostly from students, but faculty and community members got involved, as well. Of the students, Medler was happy to see a pretty even split between science majors and art majors submitting their work.

The combining of art and science is something that also is of personal sentiment for Medler.

“My mom was an artist…and my sister is an elementary school art teacher,” Medler said. “They’ve done summer camps where they do art and science so it’s an idea that I had for some time. When I look at things that people consider to be scientific, I get excited.”

Medler also believes people who submit their work to the Art of Science Exhibition also share in that same excitement. “That’s my goal. I like people to come in and get excited at what other people do,” Medler said.

The exhibition, which is supported with grants from the Costello Interplay Award and the Phyllis W. and Lawrence A. Patrie Endowment for the Sciences, both established through the Fredonia College Foundation, will also feature the winning pieces on display in the Science Center for a year.

Those who wish to submit their work for the exhibition should register their pieces by using the link: Artists should drop off their work at the Department of Biology Main Office in the Science Center, Room 221 no later than 11 a.m. on Friday, May 3.

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News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

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