If you’ve ever wanted to immerse yourself in both art and nature, you’ll have your chance this summer—from June 30 through Sept. 30–at a juried exhibition and sculpture park set across seven acres on the grounds of the Sandy Spring Museum.
“Artina 2016: Art in Nature,” a collaboration between the museum and the Washington Sculptors Group and juried by Netherlands art historian Martine Van Kampen, will showcase outdoor sculptures by 11 artists. The exhibition will feature artwork that balances both natural and artificial materials, and many exhibits feature recycled materials.
Some of the artists enlist visitors to assist them in their projects. From noon to 4 p.m. on June 25, visitors may help Fabiola Alvarez Yurcisin create woven baskets that will hang from trees with as part of the exhibit “Day/Night.” All ages are welcome, and no artistic ability or experience is needed. The Local Traditions Folklife Festival also will take place at that time, and will feature music, art and food. Visitors already helped Diane Szczepaniak build her river of sticks, said Allison Weiss, the museum’s executive director but others are welcome to add to it at any time.
Yurcisin uses cassette and VHS tapes, as well as luminescent tape, to create woven baskets to hang from the trees, and also to draw. “I’m interested in the notion of reflection, both in the act of reflecting on an image, but also reflection as looking at what we’re doing on this earth in regard to the environment and what we produce,” Yurcisin said.
Many of our inventions have become a “sophisticated form of trash” and, while Yurcisin said she thinks invention and innovation are important, she doesn’t think we’ve really considered their impact on the environment. Her aim is to make art with that in mind—and to use items in her work that already existed, like recording tape—and help people engage in that conversation.
“I hope that it’s fun and people think, ‘Oh, you can make art out of this material?’” Yurcisin said. She also hopes it helps to make art more accessible, and also hopes it helps people to talk about why the material is important and they can be mindful of how they are using and reusing things in their own lives.
In addition, Yurcisin expects that the exhibition as a whole will help people learn more about the Washington Sculptors Group. The group’s mission is to promote an awareness and understanding of sculpture and allow for the exchange of ideas between artists and the public. Weiss said there are several reasons Sandy Spring Museum decided to collaborate with the Washington Sculptors Group, foremost among them that the artists’ work is high-quality. She also likes that some of the artwork involves community participation, which she would like to have as much of as possible.
Finally, Weiss said, the museum has “a really beautiful property” that the artwork makes good use of. “I feel like even though there’s a lot of open space,” Weiss said. “I feel like people tend to be really disconnected from nature.” “Artina 2016” will help remedy that by encouraging visitors to explore the grounds, and to engage and connect with both art and the environment.
Learn more about “Artina 2016: Art in Nature” at www.sandyspringmuseum.org. An opening reception will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. June 30, with exhibiting artist Eva Hennessa performing an opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. To RSVP for the June 30 opening reception, go to https://form.jotform.com/61395490637161. To sign up to help create “Day/Night” on June 25, go to www.sandyspringmuseum.org/event/help-create-an-outdoor-work-of-art; those interested in helping create the baskets are welcome to bring old cassette, VHS and other recording tapes to the museum, or to email Yurcisin at email@example.com about donating them to her. Sandy Spring Museum, 17901 Bentley Road, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, but the grounds are accessible any time.