Openlands: Engaging Art + Nature

The Midwest may not have steep mountain ranges to brag about, nor deep oceans to swim in, but our own subtle natural assets are certainly stunning. Our lakes, prairies, forests and beaches provide locals and visitors a sense of place and offer inspiration to everyone, including artists.

One local organization that helps encourage us to slow down, engage our senses, and experience our natural environment is northshore-based Openlands. As part of Openlands’ mission to establish a connection between people and nature, it integrates a multitude of art forms into open spaces, ranging from installations at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve to murals that grace area schools and community gardens. 


This fall, the charity will highlight critical links between nature and art, going beyond the usual vehicles of outdoor sculpture and landscape paintings. The Openlands 2014 Annual Luncheon on October 30 will focus on the capacity of public art to invite people into the natural landscape, inspiring and educating along the way. Openlands will honor photographer Terry Evans with its 2014 Conservation Leadership Award. Evans has photographed the prairies and plains of North America as well as the urban prairie of Chicago. Combining both aerial and ground photography, she delves into the intricate and complex relationships between land and people. Her work explores the virgin prairie, working steel mills, Greenland ice sheets, a small town in the Kansas Flint Hills and the oil boom in North Dakota. Evans collaborated with Openlands on two major projects, Disarming the Prairie about the former Joliet Arsenal, now Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, and Revealing Chicago: An Aerial Portrait, about the Chicago eco-region, which became both a book and an exhibition at Millennium Park. Evans is represented in Chicago by Catherine Edelman Gallery.

For more information visit openlands.org and edelmangallery.com