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BW sustainability grads make a statement with and about invasive plants

Art and the natural world are intersecting in a bold new way this spring for a Baldwin Wallace University alumna who earned degrees in both sustainability and studio art in 2010.

Taking inspiration and materials from Mother Earth, artist Emily (Bryant) Katzin '10 has created works that sound a warning about the environmental impact of invasive species.

Her natural collages, depicting insects and animals, make up the very first exhibition at the Cleveland Botanical Garden's new Ron and Lydia Harrington Perennial Playspace.

BW alumni team up

In fact, Katzin produced the series with the help of another BW sustainability grad, Mark Warman '13, whose expertise is in aquatic invasive plants.

"Mark and I reconnected through a BW Sustainability alumni event in 2020 after knowing each other as students," Katzin explains. "During the meeting, Mark brought up collages I had made in the past out of pressed invasive plants, which inspired me to ask him if he would like to collaborate together on new artwork."

Fulfilling a dream

Mark Warman and Emily Katzin collecting raw materials for her art installation.The pair ventured into several different local sites in the Cleveland Metroparks that Warman visits as part of his aquatic invasive plant research, gathering materials that Katzin used in a new series of collages. Through an open call for art, the Cleveland Botanical Garden selected Katzin's work to display.

"This exhibition wouldn't have been possible without Mark's knowledge and support. I used the specimens we collected together in 9 of the 10 new works on display," Katzin says. "For more than a decade, it has been a dream of mine to exhibit my art at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, and I'm thrilled with how the space looks."

Catch it while you can

You can catch the exhibit in the Perennial Playspace on the second floor of the Botanical Garden through June 26. Katzin's work is also available for purchase.

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