Monthly Mentor

Shelly Breaux (December)
Each month, a different member and NAEA awardee is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Shelly Breaux established the Art Program at David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy in Lafayette, LA. In her classroom, Breaux focuses on inquiry-based learning, problem solving, collaboration, conceptual thinking, and constructive criticism. She believes in using art as an educational tool, and that art provides her students with a voice and an outlet. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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« Artists and Educators Observe | Main | Exploring Land Art »

October 01, 2016

Land art, Landscape, and the Environment

From: Annie Burbidge Ream

What do you think of when you hear the words: Land art, Landscape, and the Environment?
How many different “scapes” can you think of?
Imagine being in your favorite landscape right now. What do you see, feel, smell, and hear?

Utah is filled with incredible landscapes. From the red rocks of Southern Utah, the forests of the Wasatch Mountains, the wetlands and salty shores of Great Salt Lake, and our five national parks, Utah has some of the most amazing environments you will ever see! Living in Utah means that you have a strong connection to the land. Whether celebrating its beauty, exploring the outdoors, fighting for preservation of natural spaces, or recognizing the many natural resources that flow in and out of state, Utah highlights the complex relationship with the land around us. Utah is also home to some of the most iconic and important works of Land art in the world.

What is Land art?
Land art began in the late 1960s with a group of artists who were interested in exploring natural spaces and finding new ways of making art. Could the landscape be a giant canvas to draw and create on? Could you incorporate natural materials like dirt, rocks, and plants as materials for creating works of art? Could you bring human-made materials into the environment? These kinds of questions quickly grew into a process-based approach to art making in which the artist would travel into the environment to either collect objects or perform site-specific interventions. Land artists were attracted to the vast spaces and emptiness of the American West that were far away from the urban centers of the art world. In Utah, we are fortunate to have two important works of Land art in our own backyard, Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty (1970) and Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels (1973–76).

Smithson%20Robert%20Spiral%20JettySpiral Jetty

Nancy%20Holt%2c%20Sunlight%20in%20Sun%20TunnelsSun Tunnels

In January 2012, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts was announced as one of two local organizations selected to collaborate with Dia Art Foundation in the ongoing stewardship of these art-works. An important part of this stewardship is to provide access and educational opportunities to Land art in Utah. Throughout the month of October, I will highlight some of UMFA’s programs, philosophies, and approaches for connecting Land art, landscape and the environment to people of all ages, as well as provide tips and curricula on how you can incorporate STEAM-based, interdisciplinary education in K-16 classrooms and beyond!



JoAnn Memmott

I enjoyed reading this. Keep up the good work at the UMFA. I am STILL using some of your "Art in the Box" lesson plans and artifacts. Annie does a great job of reaching out to Utah's schools and giving students a chance to see real art and artifacts.


thank you, JoAnn! You are always so wonderful to work with! i'm glad UMFA is creating resources that you can continue to use!

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