Art & Nature Center

Boy and Arctic Wolf

Art & Nature Center

Completely redesigned, the expanded Art & Nature Center showcases original exhibitions that investigate our interconnections with nature through contemporary art, memorable objects and interactive experiences. Designed for visitors of all ages, the new family-friendly center features changing exhibitions, hands-on displays and art-making spaces.

Changing Art & Nature Exhibitions

These revolving shows explore timely topics at the interface of human experience and the natural world.

Our exhibition, Branching Out: Trees as Art, opened September 27th. Come explore art inspired by and made with trees!

Check out all of our Past Art & Nature Center Exhibitions below.

Art & Nature Displays

Discover art and natural specimens from the museum's collection that reveal stories about our evolving relationship with nature. Interactive sculptures and exploratory stations also invite you to play and invent as you investigate your own connections with the environment. The Investigate! Zone, with its fun things to do and create on low tables, shows toddlers and preschoolers there's a place here for them, too!

Art-making Spaces

Exercise your creativity at PEM! Visit the Art Nook and Create Space for a wide range of drop-in programs and art-making workshops. (See the Events Calendar for details.)


Check out the latest blog posts about the center by Meg Winikates, Art & Nature Center Programs Coordinator at Connected.

Past Art & Nature Center Exhibitions

Beyond Human: Artist–Animal Collaborations
Beyond Human: Artist–Animal Collaborations
October 19, 2013 to September 7, 2014
Ripple Effect, The Art of H2O
Ripple Effect, The Art of H2O
June 18, 2011 to July 8, 2012
Eye Spy, Playing with Perception
Eye Spy, Playing with Perception
June 19, 2010 to May 22, 2011
Trash Menagerie
Trash Menagerie
June 20, 2009 to May 23, 2010
Polar Attractions
Polar Attractions
June 28, 2008 to June 7, 2009
Origami Now!
Origami Now!
June 16, 2007 to June 8, 2008
A Sense of Place, An Artist's Tribute to the Seven Continents
A Sense of Place, An Artist's Tribute to the Seven Continents
December 16, 2006 to June 3, 2007
Owls in Art and Nature
Owls in Art and Nature
October 1, 2005 to December 3, 2006
In Nature's Company
In Nature's Company
October 9, 2004 to September 18, 2005

Related events For families

Woodshop
Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 1pm - 3pm Studio Discoveries

Teacher, woodworker and jack-of-all-trades “Handy Tam” shows you how to hammer, clamp, saw and paint your own wooden creations.

 

Made possible by American Dental Partners

Let it Grow – School Vacation Week
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 10:30am - 4pm

Spread your branches to celebrate the return of spring and join our Earth Day festivities!

STORY TIME

The Leaf Men
10:30-11 am | meet at information desk

Who are the mysterious Leaf Men and can they save the backyard from the evil Spider Queen?

 

COLLABORATIVE ART MAKING

Bark Building
10:30 am-1 pm | outside the museum

Join Branching Out artist Kyle Browne to create a forest mural along the front of the museum.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Seedling Pots
11 am-2 pm | Create Space

Decorate a seedling pot and be ready to plant for spring! Early participants also get an evergreen tree seedling to take home.

 

ARTIST DEMONSTRATION

Tree Eavesdropping
1-3 pm, | outside the museum

Meet Branching Out artist and Maker Lounge Artist-in-Residence David Yann Robert and learn how to eavesdrop on the inner life of a tree, then create an original artwork.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Leaf Carpet
1-4 pm | Atrium

Compose patterns and original designs with laminated leaves, inspired by the work of Branching Out artist Joan Backes.

 


Let it Grow – School Vacation Week (cont.)
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 from 10:30am - 4pm

Spread your branches to celebrate the return of spring and join our Earth Day festivities!

 

COLLABORATIVE ART MAKING

Bark Building
10:30 am-1 pm | outside the museum

Join Branching Out artist Kyle Browne to create a forest mural along the front of the museum.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Leaf-Litter Paper
11 am-2 pm | Create Space

Get hands on with nature to create some beautiful paper made from natural materials.

 

ARTIST DEMONSTRATION

Tree Eavesdropping
1-3 pm, | outside the museum

Meet Branching Out artist and Maker Lounge Artist-in-Residence David Yann Robert and learn how to eavesdrop on the inner life of a tree, then create an original artwork.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Leaf Carpet
1-4 pm | Atrium

Compose patterns and original designs with laminated leaves, inspired by the work of Branching Out artist Joan Backes.

 


Let it Grow – School Vacation Week (cont.)
Thursday, April 23, 2015 from 10:30am - 4pm

Spread your branches to celebrate the return of spring and join our Earth Day festivities!

 

STORY TIME

The Great Kapok Tree
10:30–11 am | meet at information desk

Will the animals of the rainforest be able to save the Great Kapok Tree?

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Seed Balls
11 am–2 pm | Create Space

Get ready for the growing season by shaping a ball of local wildflower seeds to plant by tossing!

ARTIST DEMONSTRATION

Birch-Bark Art
11 am–1 pm | Atrium

Find out how Branching Out artist David Moses Bridges works with the properties of birch bark to create baskets, canoes and more!

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Leaf Carpet
1-4 pm | Atrium

Compose patterns and original designs with laminated leaves, inspired by the work of Branching Out artist Joan Backes.

 

WORKSHOP

Birch-Bark Etching
2–3 pm | Create Space
For ages 9 and up with an adult
Reservations by April 20

Create an original etched birch-bark panel with Branching Out artist David Moses Bridges.


Tree Tales
Sunday, April 26, 2015 from 2pm - 3pm STORY TRAILS

What could a tree tell us if it could talk? Meet Susan Coolidge, author of The Stories Trees Tell, create some tree-inspired art and find out more about the amazing world of trees.

ARTWEEK Boston
Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 1pm - 2:30pm Exploring Transformation

Create, play, explore and think with your fingers! This session, held in conjunction with ArtWeek Boston, includes a mini-talk by artist Beth Galston in Branching Out: Trees as Art, a studio workshop transforming tree materials into sculpture led by Galston, and a special meet up with Patrick Dougherty who is constructing an outdoor sculpture at PEM with the help of area volunteers, starting May 7.

Artweek

Polaroid Transfers
Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 1pm - 3pm Studio Discoveries

Learn how to transfer photos onto just about any surface alongside artist Michelle Rogers Pritzl.

 

Made possible by American Dental Partners

The First Drawing
Sunday, May 24, 2015 from 2pm - 3pm STORY TRAILS

Who created the first drawings on cave walls? What do they tell us about the way people lived long ago? Find out as we read The First Drawing by Mordicai Gerstein, then learn some charcoal drawing techniques and help us decorate our own art cave!

American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood
Saturday, June 6, 2015 from 10am - 5pm Opening Day

Thomas Hart Benton painted stories about American people and mined Hollywood for his signature style. Through music, film and conversations with the curators, discover how Benton played a leading role in 20th-century American art.

 

EXHIBITION OPEN

10 am-5 pm | Special Exhibition Galleries | Level 3

 

MUSIC PERFORMANCE

The Root Farmers
Noon-1:30 pm | Atrium

Enjoy traditional fiddle styles including Appalachian old-time, blues, bluegrass, Cajun, Irish and swing.

 

PRESENTATION

In Conversation with Curators of Art and Film  
2-3 pm | Morse Auditorium
Reservations by June 4

Join Austen Barron Bailly, The George Putnam Curator of American Art and exhibition lead curator, and film expert Matthew Bernstein as they explore the deep connection between Benton's art and Hollywood, as well as Bernstein's role as film curator for the exhibition. Bailly and Bernstein segue to an in-depth discussion of The Grapes of Wrath.

 

FILM

The Grapes of Wrath
3:30-6 pm | Morse Auditorium
Reservations by June 4

The Grapes of Wrath is director John Ford's classic adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel illustrated by Thomas Hart Benton. This film, starring Henry Fonda, captures the impact of the Great Depression on one representative family - the Joads. 1940, 129 minutes. Introduction by film expert Matthew Bernstein.

 

Made possible by The Lowell Institute