Community Artist & Educator
Tell us about what you're currently working on.
I lead outdoor skills and nature programs for youth through a non-profit called Camp Fire (which, yes, used to be the Camp Fire Girls). I work with groups of mostly 3rd-7th graders, doing fire safety, camping skills, archery, foraging, amateur naturalism, science experiments, and so on, but I also do a lot of art projects. Andy Goldsworthy is a favorite.
I'm currently working on projects that the kids can do at home, in their yards, or in their neighborhoods, to keep them interested in learning more about nature. Hence the videos.
Has your work shifted in response to the pandemic? How?
Yes. My whole job was getting kids to put their screens away, and, like, appreciate a bird or something. But now it's all about using technology as a tool to connect us and get us all through this thing. And I don't mean by the end of May. The whole world is irrevocably changing.
How do you think art making can help us confront our "new" reality?
Creativity is always helping us confront reality, all the time. So it's not new or surprising to see that people are responding by making and sharing things, especially with all this free time a lot of us have suddenly found ourselves with. It's critical that we keep connecting and expressing ourselves, i.e. showing our vulnerability and offering to help others, because it's not like there's going to be a day when we all just end our Zoom calls and go back to life as it was. And so we're going to need communities of support to weather the storm(s).
Eric Imhoff is an educator living in Austin, TX.