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Honors Art, Action & the Environment trip to Rio Mesa

Rio Mesa Honors trip

This semester, honors students from numerous majors across campus came together in Professor Wendy Wischer's class 'Art, Action, & the Environment'. A group of non-art majors, they recently visited the Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa for a weekend of ecology and art making in the red rock desert. Mostly using natural materials that the students found, such as stones and sticks, but also combined with string, fabric and in some cases, their bodies, the students created an image within the landscape. They also used the trip to write and have conversations as a source of inspiration for future artworks and research. Other activities included stargazing, nature hikes, and an archeological talk on site.


What students said about the experience:

"My experience at Rio Mesa far exceeded any expectations I had for the trip. Being able to go out and explore such a beautiful landscape, while also forming connections with classmates that I would not have otherwise, was a really special opportunity that I am so grateful to have had in my undergraduate career." -M.T.

"This trip was the best experience I've had, not only in college, but probably in the last 5 years of my life. I had the chance to form genuine relationships with people that I've known but haven't really understood for four months now, and I left Rio Mesa with friends. For the first time in my college career, I made real, actual friends. That's huge. But I can't quite put into words how infinitesimal Rio Mesa makes you feel. And not in a bad way. It's just you, the earth, and the sky. And that is the most beautiful experience I could hope for anyone to have. That's my Rio Mesa experience. Thank you so much for making it happen." -MB

"The weekend trip to Rio Mesa was an absolutely wonderful experience. As a college student who also works full time, I haven't been able to get out to ponder and appreciate nature in an atmosphere free from distraction in a long time. Rio Mesa not only provided that opportunity for me, but was also an excellent opportunity to adventure with great people and learn more about the region that we live in. Rio Mesa provides an excellent environment to learn in and discover how nature thrives a little farther from heavily developed areas." -TR

"Going to Rio Mesa with this art class was important and eye-opening for a number of reasons. Before this trip, I had been to various popular parks in Southern Utah a number of times but I’d never been to Rio Mesa. As a Utah native, I feel a lot closer to Utah because of exploring this new place and understanding all that Utah has to offer that isn’t necessarily commercialized as a tourist attraction. On top of this new connection to Utah, the photography assignment and bioregional questionnaire allowed me to be more observant of the wildlife and ecosystem in Utah. Overall, this trip was fantastic and I’ll always have a special connection to Rio Mesa!" -LB