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By Julia Bradshaw
The Hopkins Demonstration Forest was the setting for The Creative Forest Project, a School of Arts & Communication collaboration that brought together students from art, music, theatre and new media communications, to work creatively in a forest setting, in partnership with OSU Extension forestry faculty and educators. For two Saturdays during spring term, students and five faculty traveled to the 140-acre privately-owned forest near Oregon City.
On the first Saturday, the students spent time in workshops led by faculty in Art, Music, Theater, and New Media Communications exploring the many creative ways in which they could engage artistically with the forest.
The next week, self-directed groups of students completed their own collaborative projects within the forest setting. One group of students created an audio environment using organic sounds collected from the forest. Another group wrote, directed and filmed a dramatic performance in a forest setting. Other groups of students created sculptural interventions into the landscape responding to the trees or the streams: one group highlighted the shape and water flow of a stream by covering it with plastic sheeting, and another group emphasized the intensity of the green mossy trees by using colored string to create shapes between the branches. Projects involved sound capture, acting and directing, video documentation and video art, as well as drawing and sculpture.
The Creative Forest evolved from the Extension Reconsidered partnership between the College of Liberal Arts and the OSU Extension Service. This spring, a similar collaborative program of courses focused on the Oregon coast will be offered, titled the Creative Coast. Information on that program will be available soon.