An inspiring alternative to being sequestered indoors because of COVID regulations is to bring arts education outside! There are so many ways that outdoor art can engage students through ecology and nature based learning. ArtistInspire has a wealth of artists who specialize in creating works of art in the environment and outside spaces.  

Some remarkable projects we’ve brought to life include Sunnyside Elementary’s beautiful outdoor mural project in the Eastern Townships, where a shipping container was transformed under the guidance of artist cj fleury.  The project is now a permanent art installation at the school.  

Visual artist Jessica Houston also focuses on ecology and sustainability by creating art with communities and students at the intersection of art, ecology and environmental justice. One such example is Land Art, in which she explored the human effect on land in Baffin Island, leading students to work directly with the land, creating visual art using found materials like stone and seaweed. Closer to home at St. Mary’s Elementary School, Jessica and students envisioned what they would like to see in the future in a 15 foot mural. Titled ‘Future Landscapes’, their collective vision of the future features an Arctic with ice, biodiversity, wind and water energy, mountains with minerals left in them and zero energy architecture. 

At the Grosse-Ile School in the Magdalen Islands, Louise Campbell guided students on field recording expeditions which culminated in a radio play describing a devastating local storm which had impacted their community.  Louise instilled an understanding of the relationship of natural sound, music making and art inspired by one’s environment.  The theme of connecting to place through sound and story deepened the students’ understanding of their community, and ultimately strengthened their relationship to it. 

Bringing arts education outdoors allows students to express their love and appreciation for the environment, both local and global, and increases their engagement and understanding of the issues faced by the world today. If you are a teacher curious about arts education outdoors and exploring ecology or nature-based learning with artists, please contact us – the possibilities are endless!

More on cj fleury: https://artistsinspire.ca/sunnyside-elementary-school-in-eastern-townships-sb-cj-fleury/

More on Jessica Houston: https://artistsinspire.ca/artists-in-education-jessica-houston/

More on Louise Campbell: https://artistsinspire.ca/ace-lessons-learned-the-benefits-of-art-for-relating-and-understanding/

http://louisecampbell.ca/wp/en/2019/05/

Link to radio play November Storm: http://louisecampbell.ca/wp/en/2019/05/

Artist cj fleury worked with students at Sunnyside Elementary in Stanstead to beautify their school yard by painting this shipping container, used to store student’s bikes.

“Future Landscape”, a project led by Jessica Houston at St. Mary’s School in Longueuil.  The 5 meter long mural was inspired by the students discussions around ecology and sustainability.

Grosse Ile students in the Magdalen Islands capture field recordings of the sea, guided by Louise Campbell.