The intersection of art and science workshop at Rio Grande Farm Park on Friday

Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Catterson Dr. Holly Barnard (left) and Jocelyn Catterson (right) will lead the Water Art + Science workshop from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, July 21, at the Rio Grande Farm Park in Alamosa. Participants will learn about groundwater in the San Luis Valley through art and a hands-on art activity.

ALAMOSA — The creative and scientific minds of Del Norte artist and environmental educator Jocelyn Catterson, and Dr. Holly Barnard, Professor of Geography, University of Colorado Boulder, will present the workshop, Water Art + Science on Friday at Rio Grande Farm Park in Alamosa where they will discuss groundwater in the San Luis Valley.

The two will explain scientific data affecting groundwater in the region, and the science of how agricultural irrigation traverses through soil and recharges the aquifer.

Catterson, who has a science degree from the University of Montana has been busy at work creating artwork which is a visual representation of data that will guide those in attendance to an understanding of the dynamics of Valley hydrology.

“The Coloradoans and our Shared Environment in Times of Challenge and Change,” exhibit currently at the Colorado Capitol, includes Catterson's artwork, "Making the Invisible Visible: Groundwater in the San Luis Valley” that she made with the assistance from Barnard at the University of Colorado. The wood painting features graphs that represent groundwater pumping and aquifer storage data over time.

"This is part of a larger project for me, I was awarded the Colorado Art Science and Environment fellowship this year. I chose groundwater and partnered with Dr. Holly Barnard out of CU Boulder, and we worked to condense scientific data and interviewed 15-20 people in the community," said Catterson. Through these conversations and working with Barnard, she has been able to articulate the science of groundwater and how it is affecting the Valley into a visual work of art.

 "On Friday, this will take the concept of using art as a way to represent data, understand complex environmental issues, and communicate those. Dr. Barnard will lead a hands-on science activity to help participants understand the way water moves through soil. With that scientific understanding, we will then look at specific data related to the farm park, the irrigation ditches near the farm park, and data tied to groundwater in the Valley. We will then take all of that understanding to create a piece of art that helps to communicate the science and data," according to Catterson.

When asked to elaborate on the thought process and the intersection of art and science, Catterson said, "Ultimately, when I am trying to translate a scientific process or a data set into a piece of art, I'm thinking about the general public. For me, it is about educating people. I'm not necessarily thinking about if my representation is 100% scientifically accurate. What I'm thinking about is if somebody knows nothing about this and looks at it, are they going to have a basic understanding of this process?"

Making the Invisible Visible: Water Art + Science workshop is from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, July 21, at the Rio Grande Farm Park in Alamosa. Register for the workshop under programs/workshop on the website of the farm park at: The suggested donation is $10 to $15.

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