bluish green lichen, perhaps aside a small bed of dark green moss, miniature mushroom caps, or squiggling dots of bright orange fungi on decaying log, stump, or sprightly tree catch my eye. when i look closer, the textures and varying hues surrounded by lines of layering bark seem to mimic a map to another, much more expansive, land. the miniature suggestion of grand mountain ranges, the colorful explosion of fungi on a single tree — the cohabitation of these patterns and ways of being on a single surface seems to me like a beautiful chaos. it’s messy and it’s gorgeous, it’s still and it’s dynamic, and in that, to me, it reflects hope.
in the fall semester of 2020 i took horticulture with Gabby Immerman and studio art foundations with Justin Kim. each week, the two courses seamlessly intertwined as i studied plant-life, my relationship to the land i inhabit, and explore where i find beauty. my final project for the art studio, a compilation of hand-drawn doodles and painted creations into a collage, inspired this piece. the collage is an expression of celebration and connection to both the larger landscape and small organisms i’ve encountered in Western Massachusetts. during a fully remote semester, this project served to counter balance and challenge disconnection from nature by appreciating small living things. the collage is inspired by the movement, color, and design of fungi, lichen, and moss on bark i’ve come across intermingled with maps of the area.
i am filled with gratitude to display these pieces in the Church Gallery in the Lyman Plant House as it is perhaps my favorite place on campus. quiet, overlooking the Systematics Garden and Paradise Pond, i would stop here to do homework and stroll around the greenhouses on my morning commute from the Quad to Seelye. i hope that the collaborative Smithie piece serves to welcome more Smithies to this space. if you are interested in getting involved with this space, please reach out to Sarah Loomis, the Smith College Botanic Garden Manager of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.
welcome, i’m julia (she/her). i’m a senior at smith and organized this project to playfully and creatively bring smithies closer to their landscapes and to each other. my areas of interest are public health, environmental justice, and urban planning and led me to major in government and minor in economics. i spent time in these departments in an effort to better understand how power is structured and institutionalized and to study how transition to just and equitable alternatives. outside of academia, i have explored the the landscape through a student running group and learned a lot from my involvement in the smith college fossil fuel divestment campaign. despite not majoring in biology, art, or environmental science and policy, this piece has now been a significant part of my experience at smith to express my love and gratitude for the community and landscape. if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.