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Art Exhibit Unpacks 'Nature’s Toolbox'

Featuring a diverse range of artists and media, "Nature's Toolbox" was developed and managed by Art Works for Change (AWfC), an organization that creates contemporary art exhibitions inspired by critical social and environmental issues. By partnering with local host organizations in communities, AWfC harnesses the power of art to promote awareness, provoke dialogue, and inspire action. "Nature's Toolbox" was organized with support from The Nathan Cummings Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Adobe Foundation, and the Sprint Foundation.

The exhibit includes a mixed media kinetic sculpture, a tapestry with hand-applied Swarovski crystals, architectural renderings, photography, watercolor paintings, a sculptural wall installation with 25 individual pieces, and a video sculpture projected onto two balloons. Since its 2012 debut at the Field Museum in Chicago, "Nature's Toolbox" has traveled to The Leonardo in Salt Lake City, the Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita, and the University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art.

"Science provides facts while art tells stories," said Randy Jayne Rosenberg, curator of "Nature's Toolbox" and Art Works for Change executive director. "The stories at the heart of 'Nature's Toolbox' offer fresh perspectives and solutions, demonstrating that humanity is itself an essential piece of this system, and the salvation not just of nature, but ourselves."

Biodiversity is at the heart of the story told by "Nature's Toolbox." Interdependence among organisms and their environments sustain the conditions that all living creatures need for survival, including clean air and water, crop pollination, and pest control. However, the low value that many people place on biodiversity leads to the disappearance of species critical to those processes. Each lost species represents an irreplaceable missing piece of life's intricate puzzle. 

While addressing serious concerns, the artwork featured in "Nature's Toolbox" is often playful, optimistic, and educational, showing that humans are not just part of the problem but part of the solution. The exhibit serves as a reminder that humans can improve their quality of life by harnessing the power of nature's ideas and living in harmony with nature.

"Nature's Toolbox" runs in the AAAS Art Gallery through 1 May.