Art, Science Meld in Elizabeth Demaray’s Environmental Projects

Pensacola – Artist Elizabeth Demaray recently presented her talk called “Art and Science: Transdisciplinary Collaboration” at the Pensacola Museum of Art.

The event was part of the Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series presented by the University of West Florida College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities. The lecture also served as the keynote speech of STEAM 2017, which culminated with a colloquium March 4 at the Pensacola Museum of Art.

STEAM2017 was a five-week-long program of lectures, workshops and talks with artists and scientists. Activities explored how art could be added to the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math to examine issues related to water and the preservation of a clean environment.

Demaray’s art projects explore boundaries between art and science and often concentrate on biotropes, which are environments where multiple species overlap and interact. She also has an interest in the intersection between manufactured and natural environments.

She grows lichen on the side of skyscrapers, designs housing for hermit crabs, makes listening stations that play human music for birds and fabricates robotic supports for potted plants. These supports allow plants to roam freely in a domestic setting in search of sunlight and water.

“Artists use science and technology in unusual ways,” Demaray said.

Demaray is an associate professor of fine arts and the head of the sculpture concentration at Rutgers University-Camden. At the New Brunswick, New Jersey, campus of Rutgers, she is a work group advisor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and a co-founder of the DigiHuman Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science, which supports artistic practice in the fields of computer vision and machine learning.

“When artists and scientists collaborate, wonder and whimsy get added to weighty environmental issues and open the door for discussion,” Demaray said.

Demaray earned a bachelor’s degree in cognitive psychology and a master’s in fine arts from University of California, Berkeley.

Among her honors, Demaray received the National Studio Award from the New York Museum of Modern Art/P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture, the California Artist in Residency Award at the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Art Omi Residency Award and the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art Emerging Artist Award. In 2014, she was the featured artist at the Association of Environmental Science Studies Symposium “Welcome to the Anthropocene.”

The Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series promotes the role of liberal arts in contemporary life by showcasing outstanding scholars of national prominence who illustrate the essential role of liberal arts in building and sustaining contemporary culture.

Ron Finley will present the next lecture, which will focus on the community garden movement, on March 29. Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central Los Angeles in an effort to grow a nourishing food culture for healthy eating. For more information about Finley’s lecture or the Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series, visit