MADISON – An innovative art exhibition titled “Paradise Lost? Climate Change in the Northwoods” features the work of 20 area artists commissioned to explore the specter of global warming in the Great Lakes region. But it doesn’t stop there. Interspersed among the art, visitors will encounter a fair share of science, too.

The exhibition opens Saturday, Jan. 12, at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave., Madison. The show, including an opening reception that starts at 10 a.m. on Jan. 12, is free and open to the public.

“Paradise Lost” is the culmination of a multidisciplinary collaboration that started in spring 2006. At a three-day workshop, the artists, seven scientists and six educators met for a teach-in about climate change. They also discussed the potential of artwork to engage the public and educate people about this complex topic. Since then, sub-groups have met periodically to socialize, make decisions about the direction of the exhibition and, most recently, to represent the group at exhibition opening events.

Visitors to this unusual show will find – among works of watercolor, sculpture and batik on silk – educational materials about climate change, data on Northwoods-specific warming trends and action steps for individuals interested in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Olbrich’s opening reception will feature a performance by Kanopy Dance Company, as well as talks by David Mladenoff, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of forest and wildlife ecology, and Scott Spak, a graduate student in the UW-Madison Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

For more information about the opening reception, visit
http://www.olbrich.org. For the main “Paradise Lost” Web site, visit http://www.wisc.edu/cbe/K12/paradiselost.html.

This project was funded by the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment and the Wisconsin Arts Board. It is sponsored by UW-Madison’s Center for Biology Education and the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology.