“Arizona Originals” is an exhibit by members of the Southwest Society of Botanical Artists (SWSBA), a chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA). The exhibit features botanical art of native Arizona plants produced by SWSBA members between 2018 and 2020. The works include pen & ink, watercolor, acrylic, and colored pencil. A number of the works are scientific illustrations in pen & ink done for the University of Arizona and Boyce Thompson Arboretum project, Legumes of Arizona.
“Arizona Originals” began as an in-person exhibit at the Natural History Institute in Prescott, Arizona and was scheduled to run from January 24, 2020 to April 10, 2020. As with many events in 2020 the exhibit had to close early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This virtual exhibit hopes to compensate in a small way the loss of opportunity to view these art works in person.
In addition to the gallery exhibit NHI hosted a lecture by SWSBA member Melanie Campbell-Carter and a field workshop. Melanie’s lecture, “Passion, Devotion, Intimacy: Art and Natural History”, introduced Alexander von Humboldt, the 19th century naturalist, geographer, explorer, and artist. The Field Workshop “From Eye to Paper: Artists’ Insights” was led by Joyce Peters, SWSBA President, and naturalist Bob Ellis of NHI. The workshop began at the NHI with Joyce discussing some of the artwork in the exhibit and the scientific importance of botanical art. The workshop concluded with a field excursion where participants could observe plants in their native habitat, learn about their important features from Bob and try their hand sketching the plants they had been observing.
This exhibit meshes closely with the goals of the Natural History Institute (NHI). NHI provides leadership and resources for a revitalized practice of natural history that integrates art, science, and humanities to promote the health and well-being of humans and the rest of the natural world. The NHI includes an art gallery and an herbarium and conducts a variety of educational activities.