Art That Matters To The Planet: Interconnectivity — Signature Exhibitions Open At Roger Tory Peterson Institute

This year’s signature exhibition at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, “Art that Matters to the Planet: Interconnectivity” is a celebration of trees.

Each year, the theme of the exhibition draws inspiration from one of more than 50 titles in the Peterson Field Guide series.

Forty-two years ago, Jamestown was one of the first places in New York state to be designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, honoring the community’s commitment to maintaining a greener, healthier city. The benefits trees bring to a community are numerous — cooler temperatures, cleaner air, healthier residents.

They can be a source of community pride. And, people can be emotionally attached to trees, as evidenced by the removal of the 80-foot-tall oak trees from West Third Street due to disease.

Trees can also bring a community together, such as when new trees were recently planted to re-establish West Third Street as a gateway into the city.

Inspired by emerging science and the insights of Suzanne Simard (“Finding the Mother Tree”) and Peter Wohlleben (“The Hidden Life of Trees”), “Art that Matters to the Planet: Interconnectivity” explores the underground network of tree roots, and how communication and nutrient sharing helps trees to thrive.

This connectivity of trees can serve as an analogy for interconnected relationships in creating strong communities.

With anthropomorphic roots, paintings of vibrant underground societies, and reflections on the important role of trees in people’s lives, the exhibition encourages us to discover connections between relationships to each other and with the natural world.

“We’re thrilled to bring an amazing variety of work by 25 contemporary nature artists from across the country, including three local artists, to Jamestown,” said Maria Ferguson, curator. “This exhibition features a wealth of different media, styles, and formats.

Besides the stunning aesthetics of the exhibition, the works are incredibly thought-provoking and informative. The connection among all of the artists featured is their passion for the natural world, and their desire to share that passion with us as viewers.”

“Art that Matters to the Planet: Interconnectivity” opens June 24 and is sponsored by Shults Auto Group and Cummins Inc. RTPI is connecting with its community to raise funds during the exhibition to plant trees in the neighborhood Roger Tory Peterson grew up in on the northside of Jamestown. The neighborhood is currently a target area for the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation’s Renaissance Block Challenge.

The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation will match funds raised during the exhibition to support the project.

RTPI will also open an exhibition by Jamestown artist Joseph Grice. In August 2022, Grice spent a week immersed in the Peterson collection as one of RTPI’s artists-in-residence. Joseph Grice: Taking Flight features work based on his research of the Peterson collection, as well as his insights into Peterson’s work and career.

“Grice’s stunning paintings of birds are directly inspired by Roger Tory Peterson’s life and work, and his close study of Roger’s style and technique. Grice’s skill with translating color, light, movement, and drama to canvas is evident-his paintings are imbued with his sense of wonder about the natural world,” Ferguson said.



June 23: Art After Five, 5 to 8 pm. Visitors can get a sneak peak of the new exhibitions while enjoying live music by Far Trio and small bites on the patio. The event is sponsored by Shults Auto Group, who will provide complimentary admission for attendees. Guests also have the opportunity to drive the all-new Subaru Solterra, Subaru’s first global all-electric vehicle. Admission is complementary, but registration is required.

June 28: Exhibition Opening, 6 to 9 p.m. Includes music by Norm Karin, charcuterie, and a cash bar. At 7 p.m. Sallie Lowenstein, one of the featured artists. Immediately following the talk, Lowenstein will be signing copies of her book, “Clothed in Bark.” The opening is free for RTPI members. For non-members, a regular museum admission fee is required.

For more information or to register for Art After Five or the exhibition opening, visit rtpi.org.


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