Cedar Point Biological Station, NE was recruited from within OBFS in 2012 to begin an art program at their reserve.
The general approach to “Art at Cedar Point” has been focused on integrating the resident artist as just another individual doing research. We have partnered with the School of Art, Art History, and Design now for 5 + years. This is a fairly formal program / partnership and we have now passed beyond our initial effort of. “Let’s see if this works for 5 years”. We have buy-in from all administration in both the Colleges of Fine Arts and Arts and Sciences. Enough to see small amounts of supplemental funds to support the program coming from multiple offices. BUT, we have not really reached for more than the idea of placing artists and researchers in the same community and just quietly see what happens.
We have successfully held to a three part model as the group settled on 6 years ago; 1 or 2 art in nature UNL courses, 10-14 individual resident artists, and a week of art at a FSML for local K-12, as each summers A@CP program. I think we are ready to quietly push the resident artists and resident scientists to more formally collaborate. That would definitely be the next level for us. We already have a cohort of artists that return each year… pretty much accepted as part of the summer community. What we have also achieved are regular comments from many of our long term research users that the program really adds to their feelings of community as they spend the summer here on their various research interests. Personally I think it draws them to the station for longer periods and attracts their partner and kids as well. It creates something more than just show up, grind out research, and leave ready to publish. I also think it enhances the community experience for the 30-45 undergraduates we have here any day taking a course… they get to interact daily with scientists and artists in ways not achievable or even conceived on the main campus.
The discussion regarding how to archive and record various art projects / events have been of great interest. This is a recognized hole in our program we are trying to address. We worry that a good archive is critical to long term sustainability and finding new resources.
Jon Garbisch, Assoc. Director