Leslie Birch and collaborator Brenna Leary are seen constructing a piece for Birch’s #StormSnakes installation addressing stormwater runoff.

Leslie Birch and collaborator Brenna Leary are seen constructing a piece for Birch’s #StormSnakes installation addressing stormwater runoff.

Seven Philadelphia artists will open up their studios on Sunday, April 26, inviting the public to see how they’ve paired art and science in the LandLab artist residency at the Schuylkill Center, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Rd. in Andorra. But these studios aren’t buildings, aren’t indoors at all. For the artists, the Schuylkill Center’s fields and forests have been studio and laboratory for the past year as they grapple with how environmental art can address local ecological issues.

Some of the artists have turned their focus to pollinator populations, while others have looked at encroaching invasive plants or stormwater damage. Each artist, or group of artists, has dedicated countless hours creating art that both restores the land and educates the public. At Restoring the Land through Environmental Art on Sunday, April 26, 1 p.m., in partnership with the Philadelphia Science Festival, the public can join LandLab artists to see the artistic installations on site at the Schuylkill Center.

The LandLab residents, artist group B. H. Mills, Maggie Mills and Marguerita Hagan; Leslie Birch; Jake Beckman; and botanist-artist duo We The Weeds (Zya Levy and Kaitlin Pomerantz), have been hard at work researching and making their installations. The artists will talk about how they developed the installations and how the pieces mitigate, remediate or restore the land around them. Scientific experts (including collaborators on the artists’ projects) will join the conversation.

Restoring the Land through Environmental Art pushes the boundaries of environmental art, asking art to be not just in its environmental context but to actually change its setting. Art takes on an active role in ecological remediation, engaging artists and scientists too take on the challenges of a changing planet, with a focus on local solutions for local problems.

Restoring the Land through Environmental Art isn’t the public’s only chance to meet the artists and see their works, though it will be the only guided hike to the installations with the artists. The residency will culminate in a gallery show at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists in Rittenhouse Square. The show, with an opening reception Thursday, April 30, is titled “Drawing Conclusions,” which will offer the public a chance to see how the LandLab artists approached their work, how the time creating art in nature impacted their artistic practice, and how science informed their art.

The installations themselves will remain on site, allowing the artists to monitor and observe how time acts on their work.

The Schuylkill Center, the Center for Emerging Visual Artists and the Philadelphia Science Festival invite the public to join the LandLab artists on April 26 and 30 to see the installations in the forest and discover what happens when art and science meet.

The Schuylkill Center was founded in 1965 as the nation’s first urban environmental education center. Its 340 acres of fields and forests serve as a living laboratory to foster appreciation, deepen understanding and encourage stewardship of the environment. For more information, visit www.schuylkillcenter.org

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