Participants and Organizers Bios

Melonie Ancheta is the Director of Pigments Revealed International and a professional researcher, artist, and educator native to the Pacific Northwest. She has been studying Vivianite and traditional earth pigments for more than 25 years, with a focus on the relationships between pigments and cultural systems. Her innovative cross-cultural approach to research and restoration of traditional Indigenous pigments and paint technology has revealed important insights into the practical, spiritual, and ecological knowledge embedded in materials and Indigenous cultures. Through her research, she works to revitalize Indigenous material and cultural knowledge and practices that were lost or are currently endangered. Melonie is the founder and director of Pigments Revealed International, a nonprofit international organization focused on building a global pigment community and fostering pigment education and research. She is also the founder and owner of Native Paint Revealed, a research and consultation service for better understanding and caring for Indigenous artifacts, and Copper Woman Studio, which represents her personal art practice. Her extensive Vivianite pigment collection is part of Harvard’s Forbes Pigment Archive and her research has been published in The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indian publication,  American Indian Magazine, as well as UCLA’s American Indian Culture and Research Journal, and elsewhere. Ancheta is working on a book about traditional Northwest Coast pigment and paint technology and offers workshops, tutorials, and other learning opportunities.

Natalie Baloy is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Western Washington University. She uses ethnographic methods to study settler colonialism as enacted in contemporary urban spaces, human-environment management systems, and late-stage capitalist carbon economies in the Salish Sea region. As a white settler transplant from the US Midwest, Natalie is committed to critically reflexive analysis and action that is informed by scholarship in critical Indigenous studies, settler colonial studies, and interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary collaborations toward transformation in context and community. Natalie collaborates with colleagues across disciplines and institutions to design interdisciplinary curricula and research projects, including the Salish Sea Studies curriculum at WWU and the Ethics Project at the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California at UC Santa Cruz. 

Cynthia Camlin is a Professor of Art and Art History at Western Washington University. Cynthia Camlin’s recent paintings are inspired by unique wetlands in the coastal Southeast named “Carolina bays,” oval-shaped Sphagnum bogs, shallow lakes, and longleaf pine savannas that once numbered in the thousands. This work is an outgrowth of “Swamp/Garden,” a series that addresses the entanglement of social and ecological history, which received a Jordan Schnitzer Foundation Black Lives Matter grant and was exhibited at Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at WSU in 2021-22. Through abstracted forms and metaphors in paintings, drawings, and installations, Camlin has attempted to reckon with climate change for two decades, with imagery from dying coral reefs that recall a brain encrusted with plaque to dividing and cracking grid structures that resemble the collapse of both ice sheets and architecture. Camlin received a BA at Duke University, an MA at the University of Virginia, and an MFA in 2000 at the University of Texas at Austin.

Rachel DeMotts is a Professor of Environmental Policy and Decision Making, at the University of Puget Sound. Professor DeMotts teaches courses on the hidden histories of nature conservation, environmental politics, gender and natural resource use, and contemplative practice, including a course on environmental racism with Prof. Simms that was created through a participatory process with community activists and interdisciplinary campus programs. Her research focuses on the erasure and marginalization of rural communities in southern Africa that live with the challenges of extractive economies focused on wildlife conservation for tourism. She is currently building a new collaborative project with a small environmental NGO in Nepal focused on expanding their work beyond human-wildlife conflict into consideration of social benefits from conservation and the improvement of local livelihoods.

Dann Disciglio is an intermedia artist and educator currently based in Portland, OR. His research-oriented practice investigates contemporary ecologies through various technological apparatuses. He holds a BA from Hampshire College (2015) in art and media theory and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Sound Department (2019). Disciglio has exhibited work and performed throughout the US and Europe and has published texts in the Journal of Visual Culture (SAGE) and the Minding Nature journal. He is currently serving as the Visiting Professor of Digital Media at Lewis & Clark College.

Amanda Leigh Evans is an artist, educator, and cultivator investigating the social-ecological interdependence of land use systems, site-specific communities, and deep time. Her work manifests as ceramic objects, gardens, books, websites, videos, sculptures, and long-term collaborative systems. Evans holds an MFA in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University and Post-Bacc in Ceramics from Cal State Long Beach.  Her work is rooted in design thinking, research-based inquiry, and long-term collaboration, often resulting in artwork that exists outside of traditional gallery spaces. For five years (2016-21), Evans was an artist-in-residence in an affordable housing complex in East Portland, where she collaborated with her neighbors to create The Living School of Art, an intergenerational alternative art school that centered the creative practices of their multilingual community. For eight years (2014-22), she was a core collaborator at KSMoCA, a contemporary art museum and social practice artwork developed with students in a public elementary school in NE Portland. Before that, she was a collaborator on the LA Urban Rangers (2011-13) and Play the LA River (2013-15), on projects making visible the history, politics, and ecology of the LA River. Currently, Evans and her collaborator Tia Kramer are developing When The River Becomes a Cloud (2022-27), a co-authored public artwork generated through a long-term artist residency at a PreK-12th grade public school in rural Eastern WA. Evans is a Visiting Assistant Professor teaching ceramics and social practice at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA 

Heidi Gustafson is an artist and ochre specialist who was born and lives in the rural North Cascades. Her highly collaborative and intuitive projects include an ochre sanctuary earthwork with over 600 earth pigments gathered from around Earth. Called the “woman archiving the world’s ochers” by the New York Times, and the “ochre whisperer” in American Craft, her work has been featured in several books and publications worldwide including the Dark Mountain Project, Kinfolk, Das Kunstmagazin, China Life Magazine, True Colors: World Masters of Natural Dyes and Pigment, Soil Keepers and many others. She is the author of Book of Earth : A Guide to Ochre, Pigments, and Raw Color (Abrams, 2023) More of her work can be found online at or by way of her educational platform @heidilynnheidilynn (41,000+ followers) on Instagram. 

Cleo Wölfle Hazard is an Assistant Professor at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington. Dr. Wölfle Hazard’s research informs two areas of thought: (1)  ecological and social dimensions of human relations to rivers and their multi-species inhabitants, and (2) how queer trans feminist thought can transfigure ecological science as it’s used by Indigenous and non-Native practitioners in river management. An activist and artist with formal training in ecology, geomorphology, critical social science, and feminist science and technology studies, he conducts collaborative research in partnership with Native nations, agencies, citizen scientists, and local community members. Wölfle Hazard and his students are currently working on the Duwamish River in Washington and the Klamath River in California, as well as in the freshwater-saltwater interface around Puget Sound. Their PhD work in the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley convened a collaborative of scientists and Sonoma County residents to experiment with storing and infiltrating winter rain to increase summer streamflow to benefit juvenile salmon and exploring the possibilities of collaborating with beavers to create cool refuges for coho. As a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz, ze drew this field experience together with queer, transgender, and Indigenous theory to theorize how river sciences could work against the Manifest Destiny logic that shape settler environmental governance in the Western US. His monograph Underflow: Queer Trans Ecologies and River Justice explores how a queer-trans-feminist approach can ally with Indigenous praxis to renew human-water-fish relations. Underflows will be published in January 2022 by the University of Washington Press, in the Feminism & Technoscience series.

Cricket Jergens (they/them) currently is a Lewis & Clark senior majoring in both Environmental Studies and Studio Art. They aspire to reflect land relationships and environmental co-collaboration in their work as a fiber artist. Raised in the foothills of the Yoat mountains of southern California, they now call Portland home and actively work to contextualize their being and practice within the PNW. Their artistic practice centers on the complexity of our human experience as a species grappling with a broken connection to the natural world. The maker aims to illuminate this dissonant relationship between humans and the Earth and acknowledge the ambiguous sense of loss we feel for her sickness.

Daniela Naomi Molnar is an artist, poet, and writer working with the mediums of language, image, paint, pigment, and place. She is also a wilderness guide, educator, and eternal student focused on issues of climate justice and climate grief. For her visual work, she makes many of her paints from pigments gathered from urban and wild public lands, combining these pigments with water from rain, rivers, hot springs, taps, and oceans. Her work was the subject of a recent Oregon Art Beat profile by OPB and a front-page feature in the Los Angeles Times. Her book CHORUS won Omnidawn’s 1st/2nd book award. She founded the Art + Ecology program at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and is a guide and founding Board member of Signal Fire. She can be found in Portland, Oregon, exploring public wildlands, or at / Instagram: @daniela_naomi_molnar 

Beverly Naidus is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, workshop facilitator, and Professor Emerita of the University of Washington, Tacoma. She had an active career in both the NYC and Los Angeles art worlds before moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2003 and continues to exhibit her work and publish writings. She gives talks and leads workshops internationally. Her work has consistently straddled the socially engaged margins of the art world including juicy collaborations with community groups and activist organizations as well as a solitary, meditative creative practice. Her audience-participatory installations drew attention and recognition long before the term “dialogic art” existed. Topics that have emerged in her work typically came from trauma she witnessed or experienced as the result of systemic oppressions: they include work about ecocide and the climate emergency, healing body hate and the damage caused by patriarchy, responses to violence and war, and ways to process racism and celebrate difference. Her projects encourage dialog so that visitors can generate visions of the world we want to live in, sometimes catalyzing positive actions to embody those issues. She is a founding member of the international ecoart network and has written many essays about ecoart practices and pedagogy. She co-taught “Activist Art in Community” with her late partner, Dr. Bob Spivey at the Institute for Social Ecology in Vermont for over a decade, and post-retirement, during the pandemic she co-directed with Bob, his non-profit SEEDS (Social Ecology Education and Demonstration School) running online, international workshops. She is currently retooling to teach her socially engaged arts curriculum as an independent, both in-person courses in her studio and virtually.  Her book, Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame is being used internationally and inspired the FB group of the same name, now with 6100 members who engage in conversations about art and social change.,  IG @utopias4all

Ocean is a disabled and poet and novelist living in Olympia, Washington. His poetry, essays and fiction are known for their resuscitation of the mythic and their contribution to literary animism. He writes winding hypnogogic chronicles, ordeal fairy tales, pararealist poetry, postcards to no one, erasure novels, and abstract erotic literature.

Yixuan Pan is from the land of fish and rice, where she grew up speaking Mandarin Chinese. As an adult, she has traveled and moved frequently for education and work. As such, she has been long disconnected from her mother tongue, operating almost exclusively in a foreign language in her adult and professional life. Reflecting on her fraught experiences with communication and expression—the difficulty of getting a simple point across—she has decided to keep being confused about language. Pan’s lack of knowledge has become the creative fuel that powers her curiosity and explorations. Pan is the author of an artist’s book: It -A Skillful Amateur’s Records on Glass. She also runs a podcast about artists and their day jobs called Working Artist. Currently, she is a professor at the University of Washington

Sasha Petrenko (she/her) is an earthling, artist and storyteller. Her interdisciplinary practice blends, sculpture, theater, video and sound. Rooted in eco-feminism, rock n’ roll, and post-apocalypse studies, Sasha’s work functions as an invitation for audience members to collectively create soma sonic experiences. Petrenko has received residencies, and fellowships from Jack Straw Cultural Center in Seattle, the Headlands Center for the Arts, The De Young Museum, The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, University of California’s Sagehen Field Station, The Djerassi Foundation, CA, Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus in Germany, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, NY. Recent performances include Northwest New Works Festival at On the Boards, Seattle, Power of Language, Wesleyan College, CT, We Will Not Be Silent, Western Gallery, Bellingham, and Your Anomaly is my Normal at the Bellingham Alternative Library, a collaborative performance with students in Dance, Art and Music. Sasha is an Associate Professor of Sculpture and Expanded Media at Western Washington University in Bellingham.

Matt Reynolds is an Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Culture Studies at Whitman College. His book, Maya Lin, Public Art and the Confluence Project (forthcoming from Routledge Press) explores how the artist’s earthworks along the Columbia River call attention to the industrial infrastructure that has transformed the Plateau over the past two centuries. Originally commissioned to commemorate the bicentennial of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery expedition, Lin and her collaborators, including many representatives from regional tribes, expanded the scope of the project to provide greater historical recognition of the Indigenous communities and cultures encountered during the explorer’s journey. Lin’s artwork and the ongoing efforts of the Confluence organization seek to preserve the artwork and connect people to the history, living cultures, and ecology of the Columbia River system through Indigenous voices. Reynolds teaches courses on modern and contemporary art, experimental film and video, and architectural history at Whitman. 

Elise Richman is a Professor of Art and Art History at the University of Puget Sound where she teaches painting and drawing courses, an interdisciplinary course on the art and science of color, and a new course on art, ecology, and decision making. Richman’s work explores sites around the Columbia River Basin significant to salmon, river ecologies, stakeholders, and sovereign tribes. These landscapes represent stories, cultures, and lenses on history that will determine the future of the inland Northwest’s rivers, salmon, and the ecosystems they support. Richman has exhibited her work regionally and nationally at commercial, university, and nonprofit spaces. She was a recipient of a 2014 Greater Community Foundation Art Award, 2014 and 2017 Davis Teaching Awards, and was awarded a 2022-27 distinguished professor designation. Richman is part of the Northwest Artists Against Extinction network of visual artists committed to advocating to protect wild salmon and steelhead from extinction and restore them to abundance.

Renee Simms is an Associate Professor & Leadership Team Member of African American Studies, and the Race and Pedagogy Institute at the University of Puget Sound. Professor Simms teaches courses on the Harlem Renaissance, African American literature, Africana research methods, Black feminist theory, creative writing, and she co-teaches Environmental Racism with Professor Rachel DeMotts. Her latest work explores the second generation of the Great Migration in relation to race riots, urban renewal, and other radical transformations of land in Detroit. She received a National Endowment of the Arts literature fellowship in 2018, a Bartanen Research Award in 2021, and she was nominated this fall for participation in the Artists in the Archives program with Tacoma Public Library and Tacoma Arts Live.

Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman is an Assistant Professor in Socially Engaged Art, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Western Washington University, and currently a Visiting Professor at the Institut für Kunst im Kontext, Universität der Künste Berlin (2023-24). Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman constructs interventions, plays, films, installations, social and public projects, and poetic texts and text objects, often in collaboration with other artists and specific communities. His contributions establish difficult situations for durational contemplation and vernacular rites, manifesting a quiet language of intense proximity over time by radicalizing accidents, anxieties, and memory. His works include the performance archive Lost in Jüdischer Friedhof Weißensee (2016-19); the film Night Herons (2020-21) created with Joanna Rajkowska; the public project Wierzba Estery / Esther’s Willow (2018-ongoing) created with Katarzyna Sala and Marta Sala in Chrzanow,; السماء إلى الصعود بيان Flight Manifesto (2019-ongoing), a serial walk on the Noxwsʼáʔaq River created with Cascadia Deaf Nation, Dirar Kalash, and many others. These and other projects were supported by institutions such as Chinati Foundation (US); FestivALT (PL); House of Taswir (GE); Institut für Kunst im Kontext (GE); Irena and Mieczysław Mazaraki Museum of Chrzanów (PL); Jewish History Museum of Tucson (US); Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (PL); NeDiPa: Negotiating Difficult Pasts Project (PL); Ontological-Hysteric Theater (US); and Steirischer Herbst (AT). Sniderman’s poems, art criticism, essays, and project documentation appear in publications such as The Hopkins Review, Traversals: A Folio on Walking (2023); The Laurel Review, Contemporary Jewish Poetry Folio (2023); Zachęta Online Magazine (2021); Paranoia TV (2021); and Sa’ed Atshan and Katharina Galor’s The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis, Palestinians (2020).

Banu Subramaniam is a Professor and chair of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College. Professor Subramaniam received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Madras, India, and a Ph.D. in Zoology and Genetics from Duke University. Originally trained as an evolutionary biologist and plant scientist, Subramaniam’s pioneering research in Feminist Science Studies has helped shape the field of Feminist Science and Technology Studies. Explores the philosophy, history, and culture of the natural sciences and medicine as they relate to gender, race, ethnicity, and caste, Subramaniam’s research rethinks the field and practice of botany in relation to histories of colonialism and xenophobia and explores the wide travels of scientific theories, ideas, and concepts as they relate to migration and invasive species.

Cara Tomlinson (she/her) is an Oregon-based artist and educator who works at the intersection of visual art, poetics and biology. Her abstract paintings, drawings, and sculptures focus on ecologies and relationships between human and non-human bodies. She holds a BA from Bennington College in Painting and Literature and an MFA in Painting from The School of Art and Design at the University of Oregon. Tomlinson shows her work nationally and internationally and has been supported by numerous grants and residency awards. She teaches traditional and experimental art practices, with an emphasis on art as an ecological practice. She has taught at Dartmouth College, University of Iowa, Syracuse University and is currently an Associate Professor at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Her most recent work investigates mycelium as a sculptural collaborator and inspiration for rethinking pedagogy.

Willa (they/them) is a recent studio art graduate from University of Puget Sound. Their work centers around asking the question “what is storytelling”? This question guides them into material centric portraiture wherein the individuals story informs the mediums used. This practice has lead to different projects and explorations : biodegradable paintings of Tacoma’s own Viet Huong community garden, as well as a journey to Timzlit, Morocco in which they learned from generations of Indigenous women on what it means to be woven together through place. Currently Willa resides in their home town of Minneapolis, MN where they are in the midst of navigating the desire to ask questions and make art while living in a society that values productivity above all.