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Art and science meet in new salon discussion series at Tacoma Art Museum

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:06 am |
February 19, 2013 11:06 am
Lelavision. Photo: Peter Haley for The News Tribune.
Lelavision. Photo: Peter Haley for The News Tribune.

What happens when artists and scientists get together? You’ll find out at a new series of discussion salons organized by the University of Puget Sound and hosted at Tacoma Art Museum. The first is this Thursday; the next April 18; each will feature local artists and scientists presenting work and ideas in a fast-paced five-minute slideshow format similar to the broader-themed Pecha Kucha nights that have happened in Tacoma and around the world over the last few years. The Art+Science Salons will always occur on third Thursdays, the museum’s free admission night.

“It’s all about getting some connections happening between artists and scientists,” said Siddharth Ramakrishnan, the new chair of neuroscience at UPS, whose idea the series was. “We’re hopeful that people will be inspired by others’ work and decide to go out for a coffee and talk abut working together.”

That science and art have many collaborative possibilities has been shown already in Tacoma by the Vashon-based Lelavision, a husband-and-wife duo who combine physical theater, musical sculpture and dance to illustrate scientific ideas and theories such as epigenetics or flower reproduction. The duo, comprised of Ela Lamblin and Leah Mann, perform regularly at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass as well as festivals and schools in the Northwest and internationally.

Ramakrishnan echoes Lelavision’s idea of restating complex scientific ideas in visual or artistic ways that anyone can understand.

“Scientists get a lot of data,” he says. “What we need are people to visualize that data from a bird’s-eye perspective, and artists are very good at that. We’re hoping these salons will be one way to make that happen.”

The salons, held every few months at Tacoma Art Museum, will also be a chance for the public to hear and see new ideas in both fields. It’s organized by a committee of art, science and interdisciplinary faculty from UPS.

This Thursday’s salon runs 6-8 p.m. in the Art Resource Center on the third floor, and is free. Presenters include Amy Hamblin, Holly Senn,  Maria Jost, Peter Wimberger, Mark Martin, Michael Johnson, Jewel Castro, Janet Marcavage and Ramakrishnan himself. Wine and snacks will be served, with time for conversations afterward. Tacoma Art Museum: 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma. 253-272-4258, tacomaartmuseum.org

For more information on the Art+Science Salons, see pugetsound.edu/artsci.

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