Our environmental art program provides opportunities to investigate, innovate, and interpret the nature of place. We incite curiosity and spark awareness of the natural environment, through presentations of outdoor and indoor art. Working collaboratively, we support artistic investigations of our environments and create spaces and opportunities for artists and audiences to creatively engage in ecological issues.

Founded in 2000 as an opportunity for artists and audiences to explore and interpret the natural world and current ecological issues, our environmental art program has brought hundreds of artists here. We offer new pathways to connect people and nature, and serve as a living laboratory for artists and audiences. Interpretively and programmatically, art exhibitions blend with our other core program areas (Environmental Education, Land Stewardship, and Wildlife Rehabilitation).

Art as Conservation

Our most recent art initiatives create working systems that remediate damage to the ecosystem, driven by our belief that the creative process can engage directly with our environmental systems and make visible their inter-relationships and impacts. Managing forests in the 21st century requires us to overcome numerous seemingly insurmountable obstacles: climate change, invasive species that strangle and crowd out natives, deer that overgraze our forest, erosion from increasingly large storms, and more. But these challenges present an opportunity to develop creative approaches that generate new outcomes. This is why we shine a light on art as remediation and restoration, calling upon artists to not only respond to the environment, but actively and beneficially interact with it. We aim to push the cutting edge and help to advance the field of environmental art.

This innovative art practice is also known as "ecovention" (a term coined by Amy Lipton and Sue Spaid as part of the�2002 exhibition), where artists collaborate with scientists to interact directly with the ecosystem. Projects such as habitat creation, remedial plantings, or water-control structures expand the boundaries of traditional art and maintain the balance of our ecosystems.

This new direction for environmental art at the Schuylkill Center grew out of a comprehensive re–envisioning of our environmental art program in 2012. The new vision aligns the environmental art program more fully with the Center�s conservation and education goals, by presenting projects that actually solve ecological problems. A separate website shared and facilitated the process.

You can learn more about environmental art by visiting our�resources page.

Program Areas

  • The�Exhibition�program is the only art program in the Philadelphia area which presents exclusively environmental installations.
    • Outdoor works�are installed on our trails. Artists create and install on-site in an environmental context, directly informed and inspired by the surroundings.
    • In the Gallery, in our visitor center, curatorial concepts explore and reflect on environmental themes that�relate to�local ecologies, or to the Schuylkill Center itself. We present four to five exhibits each year.
  • Our Artist in Residence Program supports longer term, in-depth art projects and activities. Visit the LandLab page to learn more.
  • Interpretive public programs, such as workshops, art-making instruction, lectures, and walks, give adults and families opportunities to engage in environmental art as learners and participants.
  • Arts-in-education programs for students use art as a tool to understand nature, and nature as a framework to understand the elements of art. Our Art in Nature lessons for visiting groups, offering a offer a fun, innovative, and effective paradigm for studying the natural world and visual language. More on our Field Studies here.

Art as Conservation

Our environmental art program is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.


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