Monthly Mentor

Suzanne Goulet (October)
A Visual Art Educator at Waterville Senior High School, her business card reads, “Suzanne Goulet, Art – Traditional, Digital and Emerging Media.” In 1990, after hiking the Appalachian Trail and managing a small ski area, she began teaching professionally. In those 27 years she has created and guided classes of all levels; Introductory to AP (all approaches – no pre-requisite); Grades 9 – Adult Ed. A registered Maine Guide, Suzanne enjoys sharing her love of the outdoors and art with her students by advising the Outing Club (Fungi Photography, Watercolors and Canoeing, Pedals, Pedestals and Chopsticks, etc.) and is a volunteer sign maker with the Maine section of the Appalachian Trail (AT), and the International Appalachian Trail, also maintaining the historic Arnold Trail section of the AT. Suzanne recently completed the Continental Divide Trail (Mexico to Canada), is currently hiking, in sections, the Pacific Northwest Trail (Montana to the Pacific) and is adventuring through packrafting. Lucky enough to have an eagle’s nest in view of her classroom studio, Suzanne is eagerly awaiting this next year’s clutch. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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« Overcoming Challenges to Integrating Visual Art | Main | Reflecting on the Unknown, Perseverance and Discovery at the Cedar Point Biological Station »

August 01, 2017

A Media Detox at the Cedar Point Biological Station

From: Jody Boyer

Last week I had the privilege of completing an artist residency at the University of Nebraska’s Cedar Point Biological Station. Since 1975 Cedar Point has functioned as a field research facility and experiential classroom for the biological sciences, geology, paleontology and most recently the visual arts. Since 2014 Cedar Point has included an artist-in-residence program that invites artist to stay for a week, giving artists the space and time to create new work, observe research at the station and experience nature from a new perspective. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some of the experiences and insights I gained as an artist and arts educator during my residency at Cedar Point. 

The drive into Cedar Point descends down a long road just to the West of the 3.1 mile long Kingsley Dam, which created Lake McConaughy, one of the most scenic lakes I have visited in the Midwest. In the midst of all this sudden beauty I grabbed my cell phone, snapped a photo, and proceeded to send the image to my kids. Or that is, I attempted to do so. The rocky cliffs that surround Cedar Point interfere with cellular service and I was officially off the grid. In that moment I truly felt in awe of Cedar Point. I also felt how deeply and possibly too connected to the interaction of social media I have become.

BoyerPhoto1_Week1View of Lake Ogallala from the Cedar Point Biological Station

Once I arrived, settled into my cabin, and took in the enormous beauty of Cedar Point I made a decision. I would disconnect in order to reconnect. For the next 48 hours I did not check my email, social media, upload photos, or consume anything from technology. I took a two day social media hiatus in the woods and immersed myself in the production of art. Minus the need to share, connect, upload, or validate my actions through social media. A media detox in the Sandhills prairie of Western Nebraska.  This was one of the best choices of my recent adult life.

BoyerPhoto2_Week1Lake McConaughy at Sunset

One of my take-aways from Cedar Point is the need I have for space and time in nature, to think and rejuvenate. As I reflect on the coming school year I wonder how I can create the sense of solitude, focus, and serene productivity I experienced during my artist residency, both for myself and for my students. How do I bring the feeling of a nature-infused environment to my classroom? Many ideas have popped into my head, but I am not sure if I have the answer yet. My hope this coming year is to explore how to bring aspects of my Cedar Point experience to my students, including making a space for disconnecting from media overload and reconnecting to our natural world. I invite conversations from other arts educators who are exploring similar interests, perhaps together we can collaborate on this adventure.

In the meantime if artist residencies, field stations and the natural environment are of interest to you here are some resources to explore.

To find out more about artist residencies in general and in your region and across the globe, visit the Alliance of Artist Communities

To find a field station in your region, look at the Organization of Biological Research Stations.

Consider investigating local Nature Centers for possible artist residency opportunities. A good place to start is to look at the Association of Nature Center Administrators, they wonderful listing of its member organizations across the globe.

BoyerPhoto3_BlogWeek1
Researchers Working Sandhill Prairie of Western Nebraska

- JB

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