On March 14-18, area artist Adam Swanson will be working with Ordean East Middle School students to create a wall-long mural as an ‘invitation’ to the entrance of the school garden.
The project started before the pandemic, with initial funding for supplies provided by the Duluth Art Institute. Now, a few years later, the mural will be completed with the support of the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation.
Students currently enrolled in sixth grade art classes with Debra Hannu, and eighth grade art electives with Hannah Monson, as well as others who choose to participate during WIN and after school, will be working with Adam to facilitate the mural.
Art teacher Deb Hannu and technology specialist Breanna Shofner are working to make the completed mural ‘interactive’, with coded images that could open student-generated research well into the future. Some of the didactic topics include native species, pollinators, American Indian land, shipping, Lake Superior, three sisters, victory gardens, local music, and food production.
About Adam Swanson
I am a painter and muralist fascinated by the way science fiction posits a future for humanity that is transformed by major environmental changes and technological innovations. My invented landscapes ask viewers to consider unfamiliar places, such as the lines between true false, fiction and documentation, natural growth and urban development. I paint wild animals and scientific equipment to create poignant and sometimes humorous tensions between humans and the natural world.
In the early 2000’s I worked in Antarctica for the National Science Foundation where I developed my knowledge of important climate related experiments. Currently, I’m a member of the Twin Ports Art Science Collaborative so my work has been influenced by researchers from Lake Superior and the SPRUCE climate change project in the Chippewa National Forest. Now, more than ever, the implications of human actions in an ever-changing landscape are on the tip of everyone’s tongue. My recent paintings make scientific data such as this clearer and, most importantly, inspire audiences to learn what can be done to change course.
I’ve studied many of the modernist artists, especially the urban and bucolic landscapes by the Barbizon School painters and Jean-François Millet’s heroic peasant farmers. I’m also inspired by contemporary painters such as Alexis Rockman and Chris Austin whose imagery expands the conversation about important ecological issues. I’ve always had a strong interest in photography and film so the compositions of my large and medium-sized paintings are based on photographs. My studio is filled with my snapshots of landscapes, machinery and animals. I select, recompose, and paint the most interesting details so that my paintings may be comprised of more than a dozen study images.