If you visited UMBS during summer 2019, you likely met artist-in-residence Cathy VanVoorhis.
You may have attended one of her popular drawing workshops in the dining hall or Chatterbox gazebo. Or perhaps joined her in the audience of an endowed summer lecture. If you are a researcher, you may have even stumbled upon her in the woods and wetlands surrounding UMBS, working diligently to capture a favorite field site.
Now, thanks to VanVoorhis’ generosity, two of those immortalized landscapes are returning to UMBS for good.
“I deeply cherish the time that I got to be at UMBS. The warm sense of community, interesting lectures and conversations, beautiful setting, earnest students, the fun of discovery -- it all made it one of the best experiences of my life,” says VanVoorhis.
“I asked (Associate Director) Karie (Slavik) to choose two paintings to donate to UMBS, and she chose Green Star Meadow and Lile Pond.”
Both sites are historically popular -- and likely, recognizable -- among UMBS students and researchers. Lile Pond, nestled close to Douglas Lake on the East Branch of the Maple River, is a century-old byproduct from the construction of a now defunct dam. Greenstar Meadow, just across Riggsville Road from the main Biological Station entrance, is an “old field” -- once farmland, now abundant with perennial grasses and herbaceous plants.
“Cathy created a welcomed space for art in our research community, and gave us another wonderful way to see and understand the habitats we study,” say Slavik. “Look for these paintings on display the next time you are at the station. In the meantime, you can see all of Cathy’s UMBS collection here.”
As for the artist herself, she sees the donation as a gesture of gratitude for her special time at UMBS.
“When I returned to teaching at the Stamps School of Art & Design, I had a new determination to promote the sense of community that I experienced at UMBS. I realized how precious it is. I spoke about it at our all-faculty/staff meeting that fall.”
In winter 2020, VanVoorhis' entire body of UMBS work was on view at the North Campus Research Complex in a solo exhibition called Forest and Shores of Northern Michigan – A summer at the University of Michigan Biological Station.