The Microbestiary Artist Residency is a pilot program sponsored by the Microbestiary and funded through the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). As we enter the final year of EPSCoR funding, the Microbestiary aims to synthesize the microbiological results of the grant through an artistic lens in order to show scientific results in an accessible way. This residency will provide three artists from across the United States with the opportunity to engage with all aspects of microbiology, from microscopy to genetic sequencing of microbes, and use their artistic practice to explore the thriving world of microbiology in new and innovative ways. Through their experiences at the University of Wyoming (UW), artists will learn the importance of the microscopic world and its inhabitants, and will be tasked with one of the more difficult, and most important, components of microbiology outreach: illuminating the invisible.
Artists will visit UW twice over the course of the Spring 2023 semester. During their first week-long visit, which ended on March 25th, 2023, they had the opportunity to tour University facilities, including the Microscopy Core Facility, the Genome Technologies Lab, the Soil Microbial Ecology Lab, and others, to learn about the microbiology happening at UW, and uncover scientific methods that they will be able to integrate with their artistic work and research questions. Residents were introduced to UWAM, the Pat Guthrie Special Exhibitions Teaching Gallery, and received a tour of UWAM’s collections. Other site visit activities included a public proposal talk by the artists’ about their respective project ideas and following discussion with panel of art and science faculty from UW, and an artist talk with Laramie High School art students.
During their second visit, which will take place in May of 2023, artists will have the chance to focus in on the microbiological techniques and questions that have most captured their attention, and engage with them on deeper levels. Depending on the artists’ research interests, they can opt to work with the Microscopy Core Facility on imaging microbes, sequence microbes, work on classical methods of culturing and studying microbes, etc. Each artist will also develop and lead a public workshop that relates to their artistic practice. Keep an eye on our blog to see what happens as the residency progresses!