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Sarah Bird '83 Develops Tree Project as Visiting Artist

Sarah Bird '83 spent the week of October 2 – 6 as a Visiting Artist working in and among the students in the Richmond Arts Center. During her residency at Loomis, Sarah undertook a project creating a life-sized portrait of a pecan tree that currently grows near Longman Hall on the Loomis Chaffee campus.

Sarah says her contemporary style of artwork is difficult to categorize. Classically trained in sculpture, Sarah says she still considers herself a 'sculptor' but her work incorporates many types of media and materials, including photography, drawings, and written word, all "in service of some idea," she explains. Sarah is also an accomplished film-maker.

"I'm a little obsessed with trees of late," said Sarah whose art subjects have been varied throughout her career. According to her website, Sarah's work "explores relationships between human systems and natural systems, invisible phenomena, cartography, and ecology." Examining the relationship between humans and trees as well as the structural beauty of trees has been an inspiration for some recent projects, Sarah explained.

Sarah went on a "tree-walk" around campus courtesy of Steve Morse, Loomis' grounds crew tree specialist, as part of her research and preparation for the project. In addition, Sarah met with Karen Parsons, school archivist before selecting the tall pecan tree positioned near the road between Longman Hall and the Heads House for her project.

Benefitting from unseasonably warm and sunny weather for her visit, Sarah photographed and measured the tree and explained that she hoped to create a full-sized "portrait" of the tree using drawing techniques and photographs in a three-panel format. She shared her ideas and gave a slide presentations to students during class time on Thursday, October 5.

Sarah said she really enjoyed being back on the Loomis campus, and noted how the school's exceptional environment is an inspiration for all kinds of creative expression. As an art history student at Loomis, a seed of interest was planted for Sarah to pursue art as a vocation, she noted. Sarah earned a bachelor's degree at Amherst College and a master's degree in fine arts from California College of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited at many galleries, and her solo show "the fullest measure of you, Is you" was recently exhibited at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, a curatorial project space in Oakland, California.

For more information about her art and film work, connect to Sarah's website.