The Nature Connection Arts Lab (NCAL) offers transformative, outdoor experiences. NCAL programs foster gratitude, respect, and a renewed commitment to our ecosystems.
Nature contact is critical for human well-being, particularly in the areas of mental health and creativity. Studies by architect Robert S. Ulrich starting in the 1980s set important precedents for the application of environmental psychology to design. In the past 30 years, a substantial body of related research has also emerged in the fields of public health, psychology, landscape architecture, horticultural therapy, and occupational therapy. Various social science and medical findings have provided measurable evidence of the human health benefits of nature contact. In response to this foundational research, NCAL has identified the following research priorities:
-How can public art promote public health?
-What role do artists have in designing therapeutic nature experiences within existing urban infrastructure?
-How can ephemeral environmental art complement and expand upon the predominance of physical environmental design?
Though Ulrich and others paved the way for evidence-based healthcare that applies environmental psychology to architecture, few projects apply environmental psychology to art.
Urban designers and architects often focus on how to create new adaptations for the existing built environment in order to promote nature-based healing. These include things like hospitals with more windows and the installation of healing gardens. Though physical innovations are important, such design solutions are time-consuming and resource-intensive. NCAL uses immersive theater and urban intervention for immediate impact. The Lab’s tailored experiences operate nimbly at the scale of interpersonal social interaction.
Nature Connection Arts Lab’s designs intimate and creative encounters with nature in an urban environment. Participants begin to see the city in a different way by disrupting their assumptions about their surroundings. Improving human capacity to foster respectful relationships and deeper communication with nature also strengthens the long-term health of natural landscapes.
NCAL is dedicated to exploring the connection between non-human and human health through contemplative art and creative research. By engaging the mutual benefits of nature connection, NCAL supports a creative culture to resist climate crisis and ecological devastation. This project will also impact the community by raising awareness of the importance of preserving the environmentally endangered ecosystems like the pine rocklands, which are unique to South Florida.
NCAL is a new initiative seeking seeking institutional partnerships. NCAL will offer public programs in collaboration with local gardens, parks, hospitals, galleries, museums, and wellness centers.
As the initial step of this initiative, I’m offering a series of forest bathing walks in Miami. Go to this link to find out more.