Introduce Vaughn Bell’s Biosphere Built for Two and
Land for Adoption. Have students ponder what it
would feel like to really experience one of these artworks. Ask, “What do you see, hear, smell, taste, and
touch?” “How do you feel about being so close to the
plants and soil of this miniature landscape?” Remind
students that the artist gives miniature biospheres for
adoption, along with adoption papers, or “rules” for
caring for them.
Suggest that students continue the artist’s work
with members of their family or school community.
Have students brainstorm ways that they, too, might
invite other people to experience and care for the environment. For example, students might create a large
aquarium-size biosphere for display in their school,
along with their own detailed, close-up drawings of
individual plants. To encourage participation of the
school community, students might invite others to
create similar drawings to add to the display.
Maya Lin www.mayalin.com
Lynne Hull www.eco-art.org
Vaughn Bell www.vaughnbell.net
Skip Schuckmann avant-guardians.com
Ecological Art www.greenmuseum.org
Anderson, Heather. Art and Eco Awareness.
Worcester, MA: Davis Pubications, 2011.
Ecology Looking & Learning
Like artists Maya Lin, Lynne Hull, Skip Schuckmann,
and Vaughn Bell, who draw inspiration from environmental concerns, have students take a look at recent
local and global events and generate a list of issues.
Consider events like the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf
Coast. Students may have personal recollections that
connect to the classroom dialogue.
Have students work in groups of two or three and
select one environmental issue in which they are personally invested. Students will create a video raising
awareness about this issue, using a digital editing program. To house their video projection, students must
assemble a mixed-media sculpture that speaks to their
theme. For example, if students focus on landfills,
they might create an assemblage of non-biodegradable
waste on which to project the video. By journeying
through this artistic process, students will realize
how they can use their creativity to heal the earth and
raise awareness about the treatment of our planet.
Developed by the Kutztown University Looking and Learning Team, with Dr. Marilyn Stewart and graduate students
Amy Ahn, Zoe DeHart, Amanda Deibert, Cassie Langan,
Jennifer Low, Ellen Pados, and Katherine Schneider.
Lead Author, Ellen Pados, teaches art at Harrison Morton
Middle School in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Maya Lin, Colorado River (detail), 2008, cast 1 of 3, edition of 3 + 2 APs. Silver,
60 x 58 x ¾" (152 x 147 x 2 cm). ©Maya Lin Studio, Inc. Courtesy the Pace Gallery. Photo by G. R.
Christmas/courtesy the Pace Gallery.
Additional Digital Images
Visit the Davis Art Images
website for ten additional fine-art digital images
to support the concepts
discussed in Looking and
Eric Tillinghast, Water Series #67, 2005. Water, steel.
© Eric Tillinghast, Photo courtesy the artist.