Integrating the previous years’ investigations, KEEPING WATCH on HABITAT (2017) explores the fragile coexistence of nature and humanity within the built environment. Loss of habitat, often as a result of human action, is the greatest threat to wildlife in the United States. Recognizing that biodiversity is crucial to human well-being, KEEPING WATCH on HABITAT seeks to connect us to the natural world, offering new ways of seeing and experiencing the miraculous diversity of life on Earth.

As our cities have grown, the pastoral has been pushed outside of the urban environment, and today the tension between wildlife habitat and human habitat is a fundamental part of the larger question: how do we survive what we have built? There is no way to return to Eden, but there are ways we can enhance our relationship to the complex system that sustains us.

Engagement – with community and with nature – is a key element of KEEPING WATCH. This spring, area sculptors who work with natural materials will join our staff to teach targeted community and student groups to create temporary earthworks both in their local outdoor environments and inside the gallery. Gallery installations will change on a monthly rotation. Community partners include Urban Ministry Center’s ArtWorks 945 program and Nevins, Inc., center for developmentally disabled adults. University partners include the Office of Sustainability and UNC Charlotte Earth Club.

In addition, the UNC Charlotte Center for STEM Education is leading local elementary school teachers in implementing curricular activities with their students to study habitat and create art pieces from those investigations.