Every summer the Institute welcomes biological field station students from the Institute’s consortium of colleges and universities. In the fall of 2004, the Institute created a partnership with a group of West Michigan colleges and universities called the Pierce Cedar Creek Consortium. Current members are: Albion College, Aquinas College, Calvin College, Central Michigan University, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Kellogg Community College, Valparaiso University (Indiana), and Western Michigan University.
The purpose of this series of blogs is to introduce each student and the research they are conducting at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.
Five Minutes with Laura “LB” Barrett
Hometown: Kalamazoo, MI
College Attending: Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, GA in the fall
Major: Illustration and Sequential Arts
Fellowship Type: Gordon Art Fellow
How did you hear about the Institute and the Gordon Art Fellowship?
Through my professor Beth Purdy at KVCC, who encouraged me strongly to pursue the Fellowship.
Describe your Fellowship project.
It’s called “Freedom in the Woods,” a series of illustrations looking into the relationship between people and nature. My main piece is a large stipple drawing.
Why do you love nature and art?
They are both excellent and healthy forms of escape as well as things that we as a species can communicate through across linguistic, societal, and cultural barriers.
How are you going to combine them in your project?
I will show in my drawing and paintings that many forms of interactions exist between us and nature. For example, I’m currently working on a piece that is contrasting the skin of a snake and the tattooed skin of another student here.
What do you hope to learn from the Fellowship?
I hope to gain a better sense of discipline, honing of skills without distractions, as well as seeing if I can really do this for the rest of my life as my life.
What can others learn from your project?
To take a second look, find a different perspective, about absolutely everything physical, spiritual, emotional, mathematical – EVERYTHING. To see the pain and beauty – or maybe the pain of beauty/beauty of pain – at our roots, in our souls and out in nature, where we originated and ultimately return to. If my pieces even just barely wedge open one eye of one person, I’ve accomplished something valuable.
What is your favorite location at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute?
I like the orange trail a lot. It has a lot of good sights and compositions. Also, when I first got here, I was amazed at all the clocks in the buildings, especially in the big open dining hall. I felt like I’d walked into a dream, or a surrealistic painting.
Check out more of LB’s work at: Instagram.com/aut0rock/.