Join us for a fascinating discussion about the intersection of art and the environment between sculptor Robert Chambers, biologist Hilary Swain, PAMM Curator Rene Morales, artist Michele Oka Doner, and AIRIE Creative Director Deborah Mitchell.
Born Miami, FL 1958, Robert Chambers is best known for his large-scale sculptures and installations, which bring together whimsy and humor with scientific, mechanical and industrial acumen. His most recent project, SEREPENS: Serenoa repens, for The AIRIE Nest, was funded by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and is currently on view until April 12, 2019.
Chambers has work in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL; Museum of Contempo- rary Art, North Miami, FL; Museum of Science and Industry, Tampa, FL; Tufts University, Medford, MA; South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, Miami, FL; and Sugabus at The Laumier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, MO.
He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Florida International University, Miami, and serves as a Visual Arts National Selection Panelist, as well as the Visual Arts Co-Director at YoungArts Miami.
Michele Oka Doner
Michele Oka Doner is an internationally renowned artist whose career spans four decades. The breadth of her artistic production encompasses sculpture, design objects, furniture, jewelry, public art and video installations.
Michele Oka Doner's work is fueled by a lifelong study and appreciation of the natural world, from which she derives her formal vocabulary. Her work encompasses materials including glass, bronze and silver and in a variety of scales she mirrors the world around her – from the small and intimate to the large and magnificent. Michele is well known for creating over 35 public art installations throughout the United States and in Europe, including Radiant Site at New York's Herald Square subway (1987), Flight at Washington's Reagan International Airport and A Walk on the Beach at The Miami International Airport (1995-2010) which features 9000 bronze sculptures inlaid over a mile and a quarter long concourse of terrazzo with mother-of-pearl – it is one of the largest public artworks in the world.
Born in Canada, 1965, Deborah Mitchell is a Miami Beach based artist whose practice explores man's extremely precarious relationship with nature (think alligators, pythons, water rights, and flamingoes). The experience-based works highlight the beauty of our natural resources while igniting curiosity for our cultural history. A decade of facilitating cultural outreach projects has provided Mitchell with numerous contacts both in the environmental and art communities, enriching her ability to bring to unify the voices of artists (and sometimes scientists) in the diverse communities of South Florida and beyond. A decade of her work is documented in a book entitled Everglades Field Guide: From Reality to Memory, and can be seen in Dr. Laura Ogden's book Swamplife, University of Minnesota Press.
Mitchel served as Executive Director of Artists in Residence in Residence for 6 years prior to shifting to Creative Director early in 2019. In her new role, she continues as lead curator of the AIRIE Nest Gallery, liaisons with artists in residence for the program and develops creatice programming for AIRIE that brings to life its mission.
Dr. Hilary Swain
Hilary Swain has been the Executive Director of Archbold Expeditions since 1995, directing activities at Archbold Biological Station and the MacArthur Agroecology Research Center (MAERC). She works with a staff of 50 involved in long-term research, environmental monitoring, science education for K-12, undergraduate and graduate students and the public, as well as land management and conservation programs. Dr. Swain's research interests are in the application of conservation biology to preserve design, land management, and planning for natural communities and endangered species.
She plays a key role in extensive liaison with local, state, and federal agencies, and private landowners on the Lake Wales Ridge and in the Northern Everglades region, helping to build a bridge between government agencies, private landowners, and the environmental communities in Florida.
Dr. Swain is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is past President of the Organization of Biological Field Stations. Among other appointments, she currently serves as: Board member for the National Ecological Observation Network, Inc. (NEON); Board member for NatureServe; Chairperson of the Babcock Ranch, Inc. Board of Directors; and member of the Natural Resources Advisory Commission (NRAC) for Highlands County, Florida.