Art & Nature

In a recent article, we discussed the importance of nature in art and how various artists use nature to inspire them. For this article, we explore how art and nature can be purposeful and sustainable throughout time. These ideas can allow individuals to be inspired while impacting the natural environment that they are in. We also list museums and outdoor places with art in nature or are inspired by this combination.

Sustainable art

Over time, industries and organizations have started to adopt eco-friendly practices to help the environment around them, and this idea extends to artists. Sustainable art can reflect ecology, social justice, and many forms of democracy. It is a movement that aims to ignite discussion and have individuals adjust their perceptions about the way we use our resources. Sustainable art seeks to make us think more deeply about our lifestyle choices’ impact on the planet. This might involve artists using land art, upcycling, and bio art techniques. More information can be found here about land art, and more information about bio art can be found here. Many forms of materials and items within nature could be used for sustainable art, and the life span may depend on the art itself. The art may also provide opportunities for wildlife. For example, the fairy garden pictured below may alter as birds or other wildlife take parts to use for their wellbeing. You do not have to be a scientist to do these kinds of art, and it could help you learn about your environment on a deeper level.

Homer Lake in Champaign County – Photo was taken by Sam Iwinski

Artists for Conservation

We also see that artists can work together to support nature through their artwork. Artists for Conservation (AFC) is a group of artists who, in various ways, support nature through their artwork. They have members from over 30 countries, and their mission is to “support conservation and environmental education through art that celebrates nature.” Some of their activities and initiatives include: maintaining the world’s largest gallery of nature-inspired art and leading online initiatives in support of conservation, supporting art-science field research expeditions to study endangered species and threatened habitats, and producing art exhibitions, special events, educational workshops, and publications in support of conservation. They also facilitate member art sales to raise money for conservation! These individuals show that art and nature can be impactful on all levels within the society and how we need to work together to support the environment. To view their website for more information, click here!

Museums and Outdoor Places with a Passion for Art and Nature

The Nature in Art Museum and Art Gallery is located in the United Kingdom and is devoted entirely to artwork inspired by nature. They have an extensive collection of artwork covering 1500 years, representing over 60 countries and cultures. As discussed on their website, “together they provide opportunities for inspiration, learning and, perhaps most importantly, discovery.” Other places, such as Allerton Park and Retreat Center, have one-of-a-kind gardens and art that can transport you from your daily life. John Gregg Allerton once said when discussing Robert Allerton, “He created a picture in the garden. Yes, he painted with vegetation instead of oil and canvas.” He created art outdoors for all to enjoy and allowed room for other artists to join him. To learn more about Allerton and its many gardens and artwork, click here! These places display how people can work together on their passions and that there are many ways to view art in nature.

Photos were taken by Sam Iwinski

How can you view art in nature?

Below are places around the United States known for their art within nature!

Meadowbrook Park – Urbana IL
Allerton Park & Retreat Center – Monticello, IL
Morton Arboretum – Lisle, IL
Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park – University Park, Illinois
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park – Grand Rapids, Michigan
Michigan Legacy Art Park – Thompsonville, Michigan
Brook Green Gardens – Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum – Lincoln, Massachusetts
Glenstone – Potomac, Maryland
Art Omi – Ghent, New York
Olympic Sculpture Park – Seattle
Desert X – Coachella Valley, California
Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden – New Orleans

Why should we think about art and nature?

Nature inspires a wide variety of people. It can be from a flower petal falling on the ground, an eagle soaring in the sky, or even the different seasons. Nature and art are constantly working together and can influence us daily. We want to end this article with a quote from an individual who answered the question, “Why art is a nature?” They said, “The connection between Art and Nature has existed since early humans scratched their first tableaus on cave walls, and has been an important part of the history of art. For the wildlife artist, the kinship with Nature is much more than just having a subject to paint; it’s a lifelong relationship.”


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