Biocreativity on the Road: Botanical Art at the Austin Convention Center

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Texas Botanicals by Jill Bedgood

"Texas Botanicals" by Jill Bedgood in the west corridor of Level 3, Austin Convention Center

For those of you currently at the Ecological Society of America meeting in Austin, TX head to level 3 of the Austin Convention Center. Along the wall between meeting rooms 8 and 7 you’ll have a chance to view a series of beautiful botanical paintings entitled, “Texas Botanicals” by local artist Jill Bedgood, which are part of the City of Austin’s Art in Public Spaces collection. Created between 1996 and 1998 these larger-than-life oil paintings are displayed in series of five panels each and represent “Grasses”, “Shrubs & Aquatic Plants”, “Cacti & Succulents”, “Wildflowers” and “Trees & Vines.” A great example of local biocreativity you can enjoy without leaving the convention center!

And, though it’s a bit early to think about going home, don’t forget to check out more of Austin’s public collection at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport when you leave, which includes a horned lizard sculpture by Bedgood and paintings entitled Green Austin Series by one of my favorite local painters, Jimmy Jalapeeno (located on the walls by security checkpoint 1 and 2).

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visualizing science is cool (and necessary)!

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There’s a great article by Amy Wallace in today’s New York Times (“Science to Art, and Vice Versa”) on two really interesting artist-scientists. This is not a biology-related article, but it does address some of the concerns from my first biocreativity post. Thanks to my Uncle Phil for passing it on. I think Matthew McCory was right on when he said (and I quote from the article), “The scientists at Northwestern do physics, chemistry and biology really well, but they generally don’t have a clue when it comes to making good-looking images,” he said. “A lot was getting lost in translation.” Of course, this is not something unique to Northwestern. Luckily, there are folks like McCrory and Nathalie Miebach working to improve science communication through artistic visualization projects. Should visualization and presentation skills be just as critical as knowing how to analyze your data? If so, how do we begin to improve the artistic toolboxes of scientists?