John James Audubon was America’s first painter of international stature. He was also one of America’s first important nature writers and most accomplished travelers, crisscrossing the continent, from Labrador to New Orleans, from the Hudson to the Missouri River. No one had seen quite as much, and no one was equally talented as a writer and as a visual artist. Audubon’s life-sized paintings of Birds of America not only changed the tradition of natural history illustration, but they also had a lasting impact on the development of ornithology and bird conservation. As a nature writer, Audubon deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with writers more securely anchored in the canon of American nature writing such as Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Rachel Carson. Full-time K-12 teachers, school librarians or administrators who want to find out more about Audubon are invited to apply to a Summer Institute at Indiana University Bloomington, Picturing John James Audubon, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Institute takes place from Monday, July 6 through Friday, July 31, 2009, on the beautiful campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, close to some of the sites where Audubon began his lifelong journey to paint and describe American birds and animals. Assisted by internationally known experts, the director of the Institute, Christoph Irmscher (English, Indiana University), and core faculty members Alan Braddock (Art History, Temple University) and Joel Silver (The Lilly Library, Indiana University) seek to inspire teachers with a variety of backgrounds (English, History, Art, Biology) to incorporate American art into their curricula, to stimulate them to pursue research on their own, and to further their career goals. The program of the Institute also includes trips to the Audubon Museum in Henderson, Kentucky, and the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois.
Participants selected for the Institute are eligible for a stipend. For further information, check out the Institute’s website http://sites.google.com/a/indiana.edu/picturing-john-james-audubon/Home/application
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