Finding Art in Nature

Harlan Butt and David Taylor (Photo by Michael Clements)Two faculty members will gather inspiration from nature when they complete projects as fellows in UNT's Institute for the Advancement of the Arts in the 2014-15 academic year.

Metalsmith Harlan Butt, Regents Professor of studio art, and David Taylor, senior lecturer in English, will be granted a semester off from teaching duties to work on their projects full time.

The fellowship will allow Butt to work on a series of vessels with intricate lids that reflect his experiences hiking and camping at U.S. National Parks. He has created the vessels since 2003 -- including a tall, cylindrical silver and enamel vessel reminiscent of a cactus at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona and a short, rounded silver and enamel vessel with outlines of bears and a lid of leaves and blueberries at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

Taylor will take contemporary Texas musicians on 15- to 20-mile canoe trips down the Trinity and other rivers in the state to get their thoughts and musings on the "Texas River Song." The folk song, popularized by Townes Van Zandt and Lyle Lovett, mentions the names of 14 Texas rivers while telling the story of a man who lost a would-be girlfriend. Taylor will write a series of essays about the trips for a book.

The Institute for the Advancement of the Arts also named its artist in residence for the 2014-15 year.  Novelist Aleksandar Hemon, author of The Lazarus Project, will spend about five weeks throughout the year on campus to work with writing students and discuss his work. Hemon, who is from Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been nominated for a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award.

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