Broad Brings Art to MSU Science Festival STEAM Virtual Events

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Photos courtesy of Morgan Butts, MSU Broad Museum.

MSU Broad Seeds of Resistance exhibit.

In partnership with the ninth annual MSU Science Festival, the Broad Art Museum is hosting three virtual events to showcase the intersection of science and art. To spotlight the ‘art’ in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), the events will explore the importance of protecting biodiversity and imagining better futures with the Seeds of Resistance, on exhibit now at the museum.

“Including the A for art in STEAM can hopefully illustrate how art is really entwined with these other fields and has its own significant contributions to the exploration of our world,” said Broad Museum Director of Communications, Morgan Butts. “Including art shows that, instead of being considered something that’s just in service of the other sciences, creativity is an equally significant part of the conversation.”

The Broad Museum and MSU Science Festival have worked together since 2014, proving the interconnectedness between art and science, something MSU Science Festival Associate Coordinator Katherine Hagman considers a natural partnership.

“Our methods and processes may differ, but I believe both artists and scientists are moved by a curiosity and desire to explore and examine the world around us,” said Hagman. “Exploring the spaces where artistic and scientific inquiry collide empowers us to think critically and creatively as we tackle societal challenges.”

This marks the first year the MSU Science Festival, the largest free science festival in Michigan, is completely virtual, including these three Broad events:

  • MSU Science Fest: Seeds of Resistance (Wed. April 21 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.)
  • Studio (in)Conversation: Dornith Doherty (Thursday, April 22 from 8 to 9 p.m.)
  • Night at the Museum (Saturday, April 24 from 7 to 8 p.m.).

Associate Curator Steven L. Bridges spoke to ELi about the first event, a Zoom panel. “This panel will focus on issues germane to the Seeds of Resistance exhibition using the well-known Beal Seed Viability Experiment at MSU as one central point, coupled with an invitation to imagine futures that restore our relationships with seeds, plants, the land, and broader ecosystem,” said Bridges.

One question to be discussed, according to Bridges, is, “how might these perspectives further frame our way forward in terms of care and preservation of the health of the planet?”

The second event brings participants into the working studio of artist Dornith Doherty virtually through Instagram Live. The tour provides a behind-the-scenes look at tools, methods, and the spaces used to create her art, which often celebrates sustainability.

“We’re hoping this event appeals to anyone who may have an interest in art and environmental issues, or anyone that’s potentially curious about what it’s like to be a working artist,” Butts said. “Attendees can expect an informal conversation with photographer Dornith Doherty about how she creates stunning images that spotlight ecological sustainability worldwide.”

The third and final event, Night at the Museum, is traditionally a staple contribution to the Science Festival. This year’s family-friendly Zoom session will include seed stories from artists and discussions on biodiversity. Attendees will be encouraged to think about the nature found in their yards and how to make at-home, natural-ingredient artwork.

“We’re hoping that participants not only see the interconnectivity of the arts and sciences, but they also feel a deeper appreciation for the ways in which both impact our daily lives,” Butts said.

All events are virtual and free. You can register for the Wednesday and Saturday event on the Broad Museum website. For Thursday’s Instagram Live, you can visit MSU Broad on Instagram during the event to watch the studio visit live.

MSU Science Festival events take place now through April 30. The MSU Broad Museum is open for face-to-face visitors Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Admission to the museum is free. Tickets can be reserved online.

This article was updated on April 19, 2021. The article initially said Dornith Doherty was a local artist when she is not.

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