Mocs Bend Nature & Art Festival planning comes together
Do you remember the first picture you ever drew not counting wall scribbles? Chances are it was an outdoor scene with a stick figure, a square house and gable roof. The green grass bottom supported several “stems” and colorful U-shaped tulip flowers under zigzag points. Above a lumpy “cloud” floated with several m-shaped flying “birds”. In an upper corner there was a big yellow sun shining. Was there a tree, a pond, a cat or dog, or more family sticks? This nature scene common to most young children shows our affiliation with nature and the understanding that we can connect to our world through art.
Now you might be thinking that nature art is only about drawing pretty nature scenes for us to enjoy, but there is much more to it. Art gives us a sense of who we have been and a view into what might be. It urges us to react and sense our connection to reality or alternative visions of life.
Some artists experiment with new technology making us think about applications for the future. Be its sculpture, paintings, crafts from natural materials, photography, video or film making, drama, dance choreography, music, writing, even food or fashion presentations, and innovative creations as yet unknown, art starts with nature and how we connect it to life’s struggles and resiliency.
The weekend of July 30-31, the Mocs Bend Nature & Art Festival (at 504 West Manning St.) will strengthen connections between nature and art. Since it’s the centennial of the National Park Service celebrating what Ken Burns titled “Our Best Idea”, the Friends of Moccasin Bend want to invite you to find your park, hike, bike, paddle and play. Tour with park rangers. Learn Native American and Civil War history and archaeology of Moccasin Bend or just enjoy nature’s beauty. View art, seek your own creativity, or dance to artistic sounds of musicians. The UTC Theatre Partnership will bring to the festival an outdoor play “Robin! Coming to a Forest Near You”. Dress as an animal and try playacting in this participatory drama.
“Art communicates through the senses the same way our environment does,” Jeannie Hacker-Cerulean, playwright for the eco-drama said. “If we fail to notice impacts on the natural world, we will fail to alter our relationship with that world. Art opens eyes and ears and hearts and minds. Eco-drama reveals our connections to nature, and place-based art connects us to the nature of a specific place like Moccasin Bend.”
Additionally, this year Cool Down Chatt Town joins forces bringing nature awareness and urging beneficial Earth engagement. Find out about sustainable actions you can do for the environment and slow climate change. To delve more deeply into a particular subject, there are exhibits, speakers and talking circles. There’s something for all ages and admission is free. This festival is a local grassroots effort so crowd funding helps. Go to mocsbend.launchutc.com to donate.
Many national parks have an artist-in-residence program. These artists give us a sense of nature and our ways of connecting throughout history. Those animal paintings on the caves in France or the just discovered drawings on the old Cherry Street building walls give us hints of what people thought about in the past and indicate ways of living that instruct our lives.
Come to the festival! Engage with nature, art and fun. Hang a ribbon on the climate tree. Participate in the play. Find Chattanooga’s own Moccasin Bend National Park and join Friends of Moccasin Bend. Inspect an electric car and solar panels. Talk with local artists. Relax as you watch a fractal projection on trees from Tree Dimensional created by Merrill Val Love. Celebrate!
Sandra Kurtz is an environmental community activist and is presently working through the Urban Century Institute. You can visit her website to learn more at enviroedu.net