Friday, July 8, 2011

Guest Blog: Scott Artley joins in on July 8th

On the morning of July 8th, seven people stood at the FlatPak House on the West end of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, looking much like some of the other tourists wandering through the area. Only instead of capturing photos of artworks, they donned binoculars to catch a momentary glance of birds. Instead of maps filled with the names of public artists, they held pocket-sized plant identification handbooks and ornithology guides.
Abbie greeted us and explained the concept of phenology: the study of the natural world through the seasons, seeking markers of time and change. It’s a science requiring sustained attention to subtlety—an artistic eye is an asset to environmental inquiry. Abbie’s mantra during the excursion was simple: “What do you notice?”
Although I went to Open Phenology to learn about the natural world around the Walker Art Center campus, I found myself fascinated by the way this group became a community as we wandered over the Whitney Bridge into Loring Park. Although Abbie’s is the only Open Field project that engages with the world of science, it does demonstrate aspects familiar to other Open Field activities:
  • the facilitation of curiosity
  • an ongoing commitment of time and space to step out of the everyday, and
  • the ultimate outcome of sharing an experience together.
Thanks for inviting me along, Abbie, I’m looking forward to joining again.
--Scott Artley
Open Field Coordinator and Open Phenology guest blogger

Open Phenology print by Abigail Woods Anderson

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