This Sunday, March 1, from 2:00PM to 4:00PM, the University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach will be hosting a Family Day not to be missed, where children can learn about the profound and moving biology behind native California plants and their pollinating partners, bumblebees, by walking through the immersive underground nest installation in Jessica Rath’s A Better Nectar and participating in plant-based art projects.
Jessica Rath’s A Better Nectar, is a truly sensorial experience for the lucky viewer, with “Resonant Nest,” a sculptural, life-sized acoustic installation of a bumblebee’s underground nest, accompanied by the human voice interpretations of bee communication, performed by the CSULB Bob Cole Conservatory of Music Chamber Choir and created by Los Angeles-based composer Robert Hoehn.
Think of Alice in Wonderland’s “All In a Golden Afternoon,” where a flower-sized Alice is serenaded by a chorus of colorful flora in perfect pitch and harmony, except, instead of the whimsical playfulness associated with the famous Disney scene, think of a more contemplative look into a bee’s life, an open door into the day-to-day activities of a creature our livelihoods depend so heavily upon, whether we realize this or not.
Christina Alegria, Interim Curator of Education at UAM, said, “We have already toured hundreds of children through the exhibition who were totally engaged in learning about ‘buzz pollination’ and being enveloped in the world of the bumblebee.”
She continued, “We saw them enter our gallery with a fear of bees and exit the space having reached an almost meditative experience as the sounds of ‘Resonant Nest’ in the main gallery washed over them.”
Lisa Novick of the Theodore Payne Foundation will give a lecture on native California plants at the start of the festivities at 2:00PM, while Jessica Rath will host a walkthrough of the gallery at 3:00PM with digital designer Elise Co of Aeolab, who helped create “Bee Purple,” an enveloping interpretation of bee vision. Guests can shrink down to the size of a bumblebee and imagine, if not for just a moment, what ultraviolet light patterns a bee must see when traveling from nest to flower.
Family Day activities will include a photosensitive plant art project for children, led by the UAM docent council, where participants can arrange objects and cuttings of leaves and flowers on photosensitive paper, leaving a silhouette-like image of the flora and fauna as a work of art. Lecturer Novick will be selling seeds, native California plants, books and T-shirts from the aforementioned Foundation.
The City of Long Beach Sustainability Office will demonstrate sustainable planting techniques and provide information on soil, plant and container options, while CSULB American Indian Studies will provide an Interactive Ti’at Restoration workshop. Members of Grow Beach University Garden, Associated Students, Inc. and Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, CSULB will be sharing their knowledge of the two green spaces and providing family-friendly activities as well.
Alongside A Better Nectar, Consumed, the CSULB Museum and Curatorial Studies graduate program’s group exhibition on mass consumption will also be on display, along with the Permanent Collection exhibition, MOCA 8, which showcases the UAM’s first edition prints of the famed portfolio “Eight by Eight to Celebrate The Temporary Contemporary,” gifted to the museum as part of the Gordon Hampton collection.
Free parking will be available for the event on Sunday.
Photos by Asia Morris.
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