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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Santa Fe and Florida Museum of Natural History to hold virtual art showcase

<p><span>Molly Selba, a 27-year-old Ph.D. student studying biological anthropology at UF, drew two hominid relatives of humans with the Procreate app for the showcase.</span></p>

Molly Selba, a 27-year-old Ph.D. student studying biological anthropology at UF, drew two hominid relatives of humans with the Procreate app for the showcase.

Due to COVID-19, art in galleries is no longer within reach. However, Santa Fe College and the Florida Museum of Natural History will hold the second SciArt Showcase on June 19 virtually.

We feel a responsibility to keep going in whatever capacity that looks like,” Kyle Novak, Santa Fe College Art Gallery Manager said.

Three years ago, Santa Fe College Art Gallery and the Florida Museum of Natural History began SciArt meetups at the museum. Every two months in the spring and fall semesters, artists could roam the closed museum and create, Novak said. Last year, the participants presented their art at a gallery. The showcase this year, which is free and open to the public, will feature art from all ages and all skill levels. 

Through art, Novak expresses his awe of nature. For the SciArt Virtual Showcase, he created a piece of the Swallow-tailed Kites that he deems majestic. Novak hopes that the artists in the showcase can evoke reflection and conversation, with the theme, Inspiring People to Care about Life on Earth.” 

“If we take the steps and do the things that we can do, we could actually see regeneration and healing in some places on earth,” he said. “I think that art presents a really valuable way to get that message across.”

From professionals who have displayed their art in galleries to children who are publicly releasing their art for the first time, the gallery will display a variety of styles. According to Novak, the pieces from younger artists are both skilled and environmentally conscious.

“To see kids and teenagers kind of taking up the form of visual image making and using it to talk about important issues is really inspiring and very important,” he said.

Currently, around 30 artists have submitted one to three pieces each. Novak expects that more art will be displayed in the online gallery than in last year’s in-person showcase.

Molly Selba, a 27-year-old UF Ph.D. candidate studying biological anthropology, recreated the cranium of the Paranthropus boisei and the Australopithecus sediba, hominid relatives of humans, for the gallery. She described the Paranthropus boisei as a charismatic hominid and it is her favorite member of our family tree. With her iPad and the Procreate app, Selba shaded and blended their skulls. 

Around the age of 10, Selba walked to the Libby Museum in New Hampshire from her home once every week or two. There, she developed her love of archaeology and museums. Now, she misses them more than ever.

“As somebody who's always grown up around museums, I definitely miss having spaces being open,” she said. “So I think if we can have that, at least in some aspect, virtually, and still be able to kind of share our creations and you know, learn some things I think that that's wonderful.”

Originally drawn for teachers, Selba hopes her drawings can educate the viewers of the gallery about human evolution. Rather than manipulating the fossils or reading descriptions, the drawings are safer and more accessible, she said.

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“The fact that I can kind of convey this information about this really rare and priceless fossil without actually having to put it in jeopardy at all is I think really important,” she said.

Normally, Novak would curate the exhibition by arranging the pieces neatly on the wall. Through the website, viewers will click through a photo gallery. The art will be divided by the age groups, 1-12, 13-17 and 18+, with the name of the piece and the medium.

While the virtual form is not as immersive, Florida Museum of Natural History Educator and showcase organizer Chelsea Collison said she hopes families gather to watch and discuss the art.

With a mission of enlightening the public, they also aim to provide an inclusive space and creative outlet.

“I hope that by viewing our showcase, they can see how many different styles of artwork and how many different people and from different backgrounds all participated and can kind of feel like maybe this is something they can also do,” Collison said. 

The submissions are free and due by June 5. The showcase will be open to the public on the Florida Museum of Natural History website.

Contact Katie Delk at and follow her Twitter at @katie_delk.

Molly Selba, a 27-year-old Ph.D. student studying biological anthropology at UF, drew two hominid relatives of humans with the Procreate app for the showcase.

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Katie Delk

Katie Delk is a sophomore with a journalism major and an anthropology minor. For the Avenue, she writes about music, culture and the environment. When she is not writing, she is outside with the trees, reading a fantasy book or listening to Beach House.

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