Last Sunday US Arts & Design Irvine had a field trip up to Silverado Canyon –– a wonderful riparian woodland here in the adjacent Santa Ana mountains. The trip was for our older students (middle school and high school age), and was designed as a advanced engagement with complex concepts at the intersection of nature and contemporary art. We had a robust turnout, and where lucky to have great weather that day; sunny but cool.
The day began at the US Arts Irvine campus, with a series of lectures about nature as a subject in art, given by our instructors Brian Kinnaman and Christina Lee, who led the field trip and shaped the curriculum. We then got into our bus and left for the mountains (approx 30 min away). Brian acted as our “local tour guide” giving information of the native species of plants and animals, pointing out things as we drove to the Maple Spring Visitor Center, in Silverado Canyon. Our accomplished instructor, Jason Hu, and our director, Whitney Sheu, also accompanied us, assisting the students as we clambered off the bus and went on a wonderful hike through the shady canyon. Students were able to identify different kinds of trees, like live oaks and sycamores, and common species of the sagebrush habitat, like white sage and Artemisia Californica. A refreshing stream babbled alongside our trail, and we stopped to draw at a place where the stream made several little cascades through a bend full of boulders and rocks.
The students who participated in this field trip are also going to make project based on the experience. We will be considering what nature means to us, and letting fresh inspiration take us to creative new ways of expressing the many feelings and ideas that nature inspires. Later this Spring, we are going to organize an exhibit for our artwork –– with teachers and students both showing together! We will keep you updated at this exciting project continues to develop.