Art of Nature, Blue Heron Nature Preserve’s annual art exhibition, is tapping “Into the Wild” this year.

That three-word phrase is the theme for the 2021 installation, which will include works from nine professional artists or groups, selected from 19 submissions, and one student group. Last year 14 pieces were submitted and seven were chosen. The in-person exhibition opens April 24, two days after Earth Day, and runs for six weeks.

“The works draw on the beauty and the power of nature and the preserve,” said Melody Harclerode, the preserve’s executive director. “I think it’s gonna be a phenomenal experience for preserve visitors, our guests.”

Steven L. Anderson, Blue Heron’s 2021 artist in resident and curator of the exhibition, added, “I’m pretty excited about it. There are several artists (who) I have not met or known their work before (and) a few artists I have known pretty well. We have a good range of two-dimensional and sculpture and even performance art this year. It’s a good range of art and artists.”

This year’s exhibition challenged artists submitting works to answer questions about the meaning of “wild” and how their art reflects that. Nineteen artists or groups submitted pieces and nine professional ones were chosen: visual artists Chloe Alexander of Hapeville; MFGoods (featuring Eddie Farr of Atlanta and Alice Lim); Dena Haden of Berkley, Massachusetts; and Roxane Hollosi, Corrina Sephora Mensoff and Sachi Rome, all of Atlanta; and Shannon Willow of Clarkston; and dance performers Erin Palovick of Atlanta and Mary Grace Allerdice.

Also, one student group from North Atlanta High School (featuring Eve Harclerode, Annie Kim, McKenna Weinbaum and Scarlet Wills).

Anderson, who specializes in drawing, painting, video and steel sculpture, with the latter being the medium used for a permanent piece he’s creating for the preserve, said he’s pleased with the diverse nature of the artists and their works. Each artist or art group is submitting one piece and will get an $800 stipend to create them. The works on view may be purchased by exhibition visitors.

“We’re really interested in the diverse nature of art and artists that are working with us this year, and we’re excited to see how the nature preserve can be a forum for artists to make works about the world and their role in it,” he said.

Harclerode added, “At Blue Heron, we are dedicated to connecting the public to nature through innovative initiatives, and we’re excited for Art of Nature to continue that mission. We believe in free access to great art in a great setting.”

The exhibition is open during the preserve’s regular hours. For more information, visit bhnp.org.

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