The Forest Fire Exhibition opened on Friday, December 10 at the Truckee Community Recreation Center. This exhibit takes visitors on a 13,000-year journey through the captivating story of the Sierra Nevada forest’s relationship with fire and the surprising and essential role humans play within it. Guests walk through a simulated forest, learning how we affect our forests, our watersheds and our own health – as well as envisioning our future forests through the art and stories of 18 artists and writers.
With over 7,000 fires burning in California this year, the exhibition could not be more timely or relevant.
“Forest Fire shows us that at the core of science is creativity and that there are solutions to the ever-increasing effects of climate change,” Eliza Tudor, executive director of Nevada County Arts Council, said. “Through the work of our artists, our exhibition gives voice to real solutions from the science community, industry, federal, state and local fire and water agencies, and our tribal populations.”
The exhibition features the work of artists Sarah Coleman, Judith Lowry, Indigo Moor, Tahiti Pehrson, Sara L. Smith, Andie Thrams and others. (A complete list is here.)
“We hope that viewers take away a common understanding of the forest ecology, its relationship to fire and the human role within that relationship,” Michael Llewellyn, of Llewellyn Studios, Forest Fire’s curator and producer team, said. “We hope they will find ways to care for the forest that gives so much to us and is so critical in slowing climate change.”
The goal of the Forest Fire Project is to inspire a broad community conversation about catastrophic fire in the Sierra Nevada forest, and what can be done to become more resilient in the future. An important element of Forest Fire is local ecology education and art practice for children in the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District. A book, “Who Needs a Forest Fire” by Paula Henson, and an animated film, “A Fire for All” by Christopher Baldwin, have also been created for the Forest Fire Project. (Both can be viewed here.)
“Forest Fire was born from our desire as artists to engage climate change head-on. What could we do to serve our community in facing the coming challenges? What could we do to help our community figure out what to do about catastrophic fire and water insecurity?” Heather Llewellyn said. “After speaking with the science community at UC Berkeley – Sagehen Creek Field Station, we realized that they had solutions and that their solutions incorporated the perspectives of multiple forest stakeholders, including native tribes, foresters, timbering interests, land managers, etc. As artists, we had cultural avenues open to us that the science community does not. We felt the most helpful thing we could do for our community was to transform the empiricism of science into a story that was easily accessible to the public.”