Student art to headline IonE’s Sustainability Symposium

by Hailey Colwell

To architecture senior Alice Yonke, watercolor paint is a “natural medium.”

“You have brushes that are made from animal hair and paints that are made from minerals,” she said.

This Friday, Yonke will share her natural art at the 2013 Sustainability Symposium on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus, where students from all levels and disciplines will come together to share research and creative work on environmental topics.  

For the first time, the event will feature student art as a way to learn about sustainability, said Beth Mercer-Taylor, education coordinator at the University’s Institute on the Environment, which is hosting the event.

“Our hope is that students use this as a launching pad,” Mercer-Taylor said. The symposium lets students test out their projects in a “friendly” place before presenting them at other conferences or schools, she said.

This year’s event will focus on widening students’ ability to communicate their work to a broad audience rather than just those in their field, Mercer-Taylor said.

Yonke, who attended the last symposium in November 2011, said projects that had a visual element were the most widely-communicated. Because of this, she said she hopes presenting her paintings at the event will show people the value of visual communication.

She also wants to collaborate with scientists, artists and designers to help them express ideas in different forms, she said.

“Water color is just one way that really shows that.”