About the Wildlife Divide
The Wildlife Divide Project was started in Las Vegas in 2012 by artist and curator David Sanchez Burr. The program began as part of the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area art programing. The U.S Forest Service in conjunction with the Southern Nevada Conservancy and the Great Basin Institute, needed programming that would engage the public at large through the arts and have these activities serve as a vehicle to increased education and knowledge about the natural, scientific, and historic value of the area.
Given the unique landscapes and topography of the region in combination with the rapidly encroaching urban areas the Wildlife Divide was designed as a means to explore the threshold between these vastly different ecologies. Art programming in the natural landscape needed to address the increasing divide between pedestrian knowledge of the biological and natural systems that surround our city and the work of the scientists and researchers that study these areas. Art projects, workshops, lectures and exhibitions were designed to thread through the threshold of urban and natural environments, and investigate how these ecologies could someday connect in ways that are both sustainable and conscious of preservation. Although this project started in Mt Charleston it became increasingly evident that the Wildlife Divide could be useful anywhere where there is a need to build community consciousness towards preservation, ecosystems, art and science.
In the past two years the program has succeeded in providing 12 workshops ranging in themes like video production, sound art, condition reporting, sewing and drawing. The typical workshop consists of a naturalist and an artist teaming up to present a short talk giving the participants an opportunity to learn from local artists and scientists. The talks are followed by a workshop in an array of subjects and participants are encouraged to explore the natural are and bring food for a picnic. The workshops start at 11 and are often finished by 4pm and are typically attended by 10 to 30 participants. The demographic categories are far reaching and the program has had success in reaching youth and adult interest.
Exhibitions happen at the end of the summer season typically around October. The exhibition at Mt Charleston was executed by converting a shipping container to a gallery and hauling it up to the mountain. The Wildlife Divide also engages in urban areas proven by its 2012 exhibition at Emergency Arts in downtown Las Vegas. Future plans include mobile exhibitions that visit areas in Clark County where cultural activities are not easily accessible.