Announcing this year’s recipients of the Science in Studio Award

Winter 2015

In 2013, NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Northwest College of Arts (PNCA) embarked on an unlikely partnership. The federal agency and Portland, Oregon-based Arts College joined forces to advance a shared vision: bridging environmental science and conservation with art to create social change. The idea is to reach individuals in a new and innovative way—showcasing through art how our cumulative actions affect the health of marine and freshwater resources, and actions people can take to protect them.

The 2013 collaboration culminated in an animation about the importance of nearshore habitats to salmon recovery and what landowners can do to support healthy habitat on their own property. PNCA students, Beryl Allee and John Summerson, developed the dramatic animation as a public awareness piece—seeking to describe degraded habitat conditions impacting salmon and what actions are needed from private landowners to adequately protect and restore threatened salmon runs.

The success of the pilot project highlighted the value of this collaboration, which has since expanded to include the Environmental Protection Agency and the establishment of the Science in Studio Award. The inaugural Science in Studio Award 2015 will focus on water quality and the impact of toxins on our landscape. We are pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Science in Studio Award: Protecting Our Waters from Toxic Pollutants.


Esteban Camacho Steffensen

Esteban is an international muralist with commissioned artwork in Costa Rica, Spain, and the United States. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from PNCA in 2010, with an emphasis in Public Art. His subject matter is environmentally focused, bridging biology, education, and fine art. Most of his artwork has been produced in public spaces, such as universities and city institutions, where he works with community leaders during the design process and involves local youth and students in the painting and production.

As a recipient of the Science in Studio Award, Esteban seeks to create an artistic and educational design for a large poster that focuses on protecting watersheds from stormwater runoff. The poster’s composition will be designed with a dual purpose: First, it can be mass-produced and distributed as a full color poster; and second, it will serve as the blueprint and instructional guide to facilitate the making of individual murals out of the poster itself.


Stephanie J. Fogel

As a senior at PNCA, Stephanie is an interdisciplinary artist focused on promoting community awareness and environmental responsibility. She has designed a multi-media campaign as part of her Science in Studio Award that centers on clean watersheds, highlighting the presence of pharmaceuticals in our natural water sources and the subsequent effects on salmon and aquatic resources.


Grace Murphy

Grace Murphy is an illustrator working in Portland, Oregon. She specializes in digital illustration and is currently studying animation design with the intention of transitioning into the animation industry following her time at PNCA.

As a co-recipient of the Science in Studio Award, Grace will team-up with Beryl Allee (biography below) to launch a social media campaign around clean water. Grace will utilize scientific and creative research to produce three illustrations depicting toxins produced in urban landscapes. Each illustration will speak to one of three themes: roads, homes, and lawns. They will depict each environment, the source of toxins, the impacts on the watershed, and simple behavioral adjustments people can make to limit the effects.


Beryl Allee

As an animation student, Beryl understands that animation has a unique ability to communicate with the world. Beryl is interested in investigating ways to effectively appeal to a wide range of audiences through the moving image, and uses art to reach out to the world. Her animation crosses into the disciplines of illustration and painting, and most recently she has developed digital 2D animated short films.

Working with Grace Murphey as co-recipients of the Science in Studio Award, Beryl will develop three animations to convey how particular human activities impact the health of local watersheds and simple, solution-based actions we can take to keep toxins out of rivers, streams, and local water sources. Over the course of several months, Beryl and Grace will distribute their works over social media sites, including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Tumblr, to spread the messages far and wide.

This award is part of an ongoing effort to give voice to student artists in the realm of science and policy. As part of the growing Art + Science Initiative at PNCA, students are encouraged to help shape the discourse and investigate the complex dynamics at the heart of many of the environmental and social-economic challenges we face as a community.

The recipients will showcase their final work during a public artist talk in May and we will be sharing their art publically thereafter.