I draw to learn the way life perpetuates itself, moves, and holds itself in space.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Making Science and Art in Nashville

The Island, 2009

It took me about a year, but I've found the balance I want to make in my life here in Nashville- a potpourri of science, art, and writing.

First, last week I walked into Gallery F at the Scarritt Bennett Center and had a great talk with their gallery director Sabine Schlunk, who invited me to be an Artist-In-Residence. I'm delighted. In exchange for studio space right near Dragon Park, (my favorite spot for a mid-day lie in the grass) I get to work in their cozy coffee shop. Sabine has a good eye, and is putting together some of the best contemporary shows in Nashville. I especially like the gallery's emphasis on "outsider art", if you even buy into that concept, and their representation of artists that perhaps might not be in orbit in the gallery world. I think this gallery really stands out in Nashville. I am pleased to be involved.

Mitote, October 2010

Second, I met with Kevin Seale, who's in charge of the Systems Biology and BioEngineering Undergraduate Research Experience at Vanderbilt, a rare gem of an interdisciplinary center that includes scientists working in disciplines including engineering, physics, mathematics, and biology, all trying to understand how the basic unit of life works. Essentially, Cliff's notes, they build little chips that trap cells and give them various inputs in order to understand exactly how the cell works, because we still don't really know. It was amazing to talk to a scientist with such an interdisciplinary bent. What would he say to public audiences given the chance? Eat well and exercise, it can change your health. He owns and runs a farm in the highly contested area of Nashville called Bell's Bend, is obsessed with getting fresh produce to the working poor, and is interested in poking around at the point where faith meets science. We have big plans. I'm going to meet with him and the lab director, John Wikswo, next week, to talk about how to tell the story of their lab and its mighty slew of characters in the best way. I think it will be a perfect case study for how to merge disciplines in science, and by telling it, to step across the invisible line between academia and the public.

Flight Machine, Summer 2007

And third, I've been accepted to be the local Nashville "Science News Expert" on examiner.com. I'll be posting 3-4 articles a week detailing news on science in Nashville, a topic I feel has a huge dearth going on- I can't find a darn thing to please my palate at the Tennessean or City Paper, so I suppose I'll have to do it myself. Stay tuned! I get paid in proportion to my subscribers, so please sign up!

Bruni and Babarit, Fall 2009 and 2010