BAR HARBOR, MAINE – The MDI Biological Laboratory, located in Bar Harbor, Maine, has issued a call for applications from artists for its fifth annual Art Meets Science exhibit, to be held this coming summer. The 2016 exhibit, entitled “will celebrate the vision of George B. Dorr, one of the founders of Acadia National Park and a benefactor of the MDI Biological Laboratory.
A major element of the founders’ vision for Acadia National Park, which is celebrating its centennial this year, was to provide a home for scientists to study the natural world. They saw the park as an outdoor laboratory for the observance of nature. The title of the Art Meets Science exhibit is drawn from a quote by Dorr, who was responsible for establishing the the MDI Biological Laboratory in its current location on Mount Desert Island in 1921.
“A Fresh Field of Life” is based on Dorr’s remarks at a 1916 celebration of the proclamation creating the Lafayette National Monument, the original name of the park: “…what a splendid and useful thing it would be if we could provide down here, in a spot so full of biologic interest and unsolved biologic problems, so rich in various beauty and locked around by the cool northern sea, a summer home, however simple, for [scientists]…. They would come down to work on a fresh field of life, bird or plant or animal…”
Early naturalists were drawn to Mount Desert Island in part by 19th century landscape artists such as Thomas Cole and Frederic Church whose paintings of the island’s iconic scenery – its cliffs, rocks, summits and lakes — first drew widespread attention to the beauty of the island where the park is located. Today, Acadia National Park, which was the first national park east of the Mississippi, is ranked by some as the nation’s most popular and continues to attract artists and scientists seeking to study the natural world.
Many of those scientists are conducting research at the MDI Biological Laboratory, which—thanks in part to Dorr’s vision—has become a leading biomedical research institution dedicated to developing solutions to complex human and environmental health problems through research, education and ventures that transform discoveries into cures. The institution is focused on increasing healthy lifespan and harnessing our natural ability to repair and regenerate tissues damaged by injury or disease.
The organizers of the exhibit are seeking submissions from artists whose work is a reflection of observations of the natural world around us, from the stunning scenery of Acadia to the microscopic world of molecular biology.
“Science and art were more connected at the time the park was founded than they are today, when they are typically viewed as unrelated disciplines,” said Bonnie Gilfillan, director of the Art Meets Science program. “One of the aims of the Art Meets Science exhibit is to reflect Dorr’s vison by highlighting the similarities: how both disciplines share processes of observation, of discovery and of experimentation, as well as how both share the drive to communicate a deeper understanding of the natural world.”
The call is open to local, national and international artists, with applications from scientists who are also artists especially welcome. Twenty artists whose work best meets the exhibit’s goals will be asked to provide up to four pieces of work in any medium, ready to display or hang.
The exhibit will be held at the laboratory from June 20 through Sept. 30, 2016, with an opening reception on July 7. Tours of the exhibit and a series of Art Meets Science Cafés will be offered through September. Applications are due March 15, 2016.
For more information and to obtain application forms, please visit our Art Meets Science page or contact Bonnie Gilfillan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207.288.9880 x106.