Science and art combine to tell a tale of fire

Art, like a raging wildfire, pushes boundaries. A new exhibit in Flagstaff combines science and art to showcase the ever-present threat of wildfires in the region and their impact on the landscape.

Fires of Change” was introduced this year at the Coconino Center for the Arts as part of the annual Festival of Science. The joint fire-science program and art exhibition, funded by the National Education Foundation, explores, through the eyes of the artists, the increase in severity, size, and number of Southwest wildfires and their effects.

“The whole idea of this exhibit is to use art as a novel media to not only bring science to a different audience, but to bring art to people that may otherwise not be exposed to it,” says Barbara Wolfson, NAU School of Forestry program coordinator and member of the Southwest Fire Science Consortium. “Bringing science and art together is not a new concept, but perhaps it is more important in our current worldview, considering the changes we face on a global scale.”

The exhibit, which runs through the end of October, features 11 different artists that participated in a week-long Fire Science Boot Camp last September. There, a team of fire scientists provided them with education and training on the impact of wildfire in northern Arizona. The “Fires of Change” exhibit showcases the artwork created over the last year as a result of what the artists learned.

Ranging from ceramics, fabrics, photographers, instillation artists and poets, the exhibition features a broad range of media.

The opening reception of the exhibit is from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Coconino Center for the Arts and is free to the public. More information can be found online.


NAU Communications