Video Observer: CSUF Students Collaborate with Arboretum to Create Environmental Art Installations

In the heart of the Fullerton Arboretum sits Invasive Species, a collection of 17 botanically-themed art installations made by fourteen CSUF Art students. On view to the public through May 21, the installations invite viewers to interact with the environment in new ways. Group installations range from oversized lemons to interconnected materials around a tree to a temporary shelter made of recycled textiles, clothes, and found materials.
All fourteen art students have been persistently planning, designing, and crafting their installations throughout the spring in collaboration with the Fullerton Arboretum. Since the galleries at Cal State Fullerton’s College of the Arts are currently closed, the students collectively chose to exhibit their art outdoors, working in coordination with the Arboretum’s Living Collections Curator, Gregory Pongetti, and Creative Photography & Experimental Media Professor Linda Kroff.
On Sunday, May 7, Invasive Species had its grand opening. Following strategically placed signs to “stay on the path for more art,” I entered the Arboretum and received a map that showed approximately where every student’s artwork was located. At each site, small signs provided information and contained QR codes, which visitors could scan with their phones to be redirected to the Invasive Species website for further details:
Proceeding through the cultivated collection, I first saw “Citrine Daydream,” made by Peyton Hill, Gigi Pineda, Brianna Murrillo, Gabriel Castillo, and Rodrigo Morales. Located at the intersection of the Arboretum’s cultivated, Mediterranean, and desert collections, oversized “lemons” made from cotton fabric and recycled paper hung from various trees. According to the group’s webpage, “the lemons have invaded the neighboring ecosystems, forcing their way among the plants and your cornea.”
Navigating to a back section of the Arboretum’s woodlands collection, I found the installation titled “Connected.” Constructed by Sarai MP, Benjamin Scharf, Grayden Fanning, and Andrea Rachel Quiroz, this piece consists of gypsum, brass, sequins, and string, all held in place by tiny hands emerging from the ground at the base of an expansive tree. According to the group’s artist statement, “All living beings are intertwined…in this expanded space of perceiving, we may find just how much in common we have in shared experience and how deeply connected all of us truly are.”
Over a river and through the forest, I followed a winding pathway that led up a small hillside within the woodlands collection to see “Habitat,” a hand-crafted shelter sewn together using recycled textiles, clothes, and found materials. Made by Aimee Novillo, Ashley Perez, Mike Sutch, Hugo Amarales, and Jacqueline Castellanos, this piece envisions an improvised house. Stepping inside the structure, there was a couch covered in blankets and positioned next to a shopping cart containing a small television within its basket. The TV ran green-hued static on a loop. According to the group’s artist statement, “Habitat” is intended to “explore the parallels of our modern-day homelessness crisis and an imagined post-apocalyptic scenario.”
The individual, collective, and collaborative Invasive Species art installations are on full display at the Fullerton Arboretum at 1900 Associated Road. Through this project, students explore self-expression, critical thinking within social and historical contexts, and their artistic visions through seventeen environmental site-specific installations. Viewing hours correspond to the Arboretum’s visiting hours: 9 am to 4 pm, Mondays through Sundays.


3 replies »

  1. You post the hours of the Fullerton Marketplace on your calendar as 4-8pm when it is actually 4-8:30pm, that’s when booths close and that is when the live entertainment finishes, 8:30pm. Please correct, thank you.

    • You call the Downtown Fullerton Market the “Fullerton Marketplace” when it is actually the “Downtown Fullerton Market”, that is the official location name as clearly listed on the City of Fullerton website. Please correct, thank you.

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