Wednesday, October 1, through Wednesday, October 20
Putnam Museum & Science Center, 1717 West 12th Street, Davenport IA
Turning to nature for solutions to life's modern problems is the subject of a new and fascinating touring exhibition hosted by the Putnam Museum & Science Center, with the Davenport venue, from September 1 through October 20, treating patrons to the wonders of the world in ExhibitsUSA's Nature's Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art & Design.
In an age of complex environmental challenges, why not look to the ingenuity of nature for solutions? The forms, patterns, and processes found in the natural world – refined by 3.8 billion years of evolution – can inspire our design of everything from clothing to skyscrapers. This approach to innovation, called biomimicry, is becoming increasingly popular. Nature’s Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art & Design brings together art and design with environmental science using artifacts and photography, as well as interactive learning stations.
Biomimicry is not a novel idea, as Gaudi and Da Vinci both took inspiration from nature. Modern science and technology, however, are rapidly expanding the types of materials and systems we can create. Bird wings. Rainbow Trout. Spider webs. These have inspired design improvements that enable faster travel, more effective wind turbines, and safer bridges. Similarly, biomimicry in art is a process that entails exploring the material properties, cycles, and dynamics of nature, and how whole biological systems are structured – and putting that into works of art. Designs that are rooted in the laws and forms of nature can address pressing issues, such as conservation, sustainability, and environmental justice. They can also spark an interest in, and connection with, nature. The Putnam's new touring exhibition is aimed to encourage discourse among audiences of all backgrounds as our understanding of the natural world can lead to some extraordinary creations that improve lives and reduce our impact on the environment. Nature’s Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art & Design is an adaptation of the High Desert Museum’s Innovation Lab: Design Inspired by Nature, and is produced and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.
As stated by Rachael Mullins, CEO/President of the Davenport venue, "The Putnam is the first stop on this exhibit’s national tour and we’re honored to be selected for its premiere. Our ability to host this exhibit – our first traveling show since before the pandemic – speaks to the Putnam’s resiliency and the many ways that the Quad-City community has supported cultural institutions during this difficult period in history. We are so grateful to our community and can’t wait to show a bit of our appreciation through this wonderful new exhibit. Nature’s Blueprints is an intriguing exhibit that will be of interest to all ... especially in light of our very own I-74 bridge construction that our community has been fascinated by for so long. The way this exhibit and our own Putnam curators have been able to connect nature and modern technology is fascinating."
Nature's Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art & Design will be on display at the Putnam Museum & Science Center from September 1 through October 20, with regular museum hours Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. Exhibit entry is free with $8-9 general admission, and more information is available by calling (563)324-1933 and visiting Putnam.org.