The Intersection between Art, Environment and Culture


Fran Hardy


My work as an artist has always been about the magic and mystery of the natural world. I have felt that important sustaining influence throughout my childhood. The last four years of challenging economic times, and watching places in the natural world that I have loved changing beyond recognition, have made me want to find a way to speak up about what we can do creatively to preserve ecology and culture.


I have collaborated with my husband, filmmaker Bob Demboski, to create documentaries. The Earth Chronicles Project has taken us on a challenging, collaborative and rewarding trajectory into the worlds of environmental artists, people and groups that work within the realms of art, ecological sustainability and cultural preservation. In a world where there is a barrage of bad news, we focus on people and groups who are finding a way to make a difference in their world, instead of being overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand. Our aim is to inspire others to think about what they can do to preserve art, ecology and culture and to show how intimately intertwined they are.


Our Earth Chronicles Project, The Artist’s Process: New Mexico, takes the viewer across the state to visit fascinating people and places that make NM’s art, ecology and cultures unique. We received a grant from the New Mexico Arts Council. The project was also made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts and private donations.


The documentary features the work of artists across the state, who reveal what NM’s cultures and environment mean to them. It includes Toadlena Trading Post and the Navajo weavers of the Two Grey Hills region; The Nature Conservancy’s Gila and Mimbres Riparian Preserves; Irvin Trujillo, Chimayó/Río Grande weaver and NEA National Heritage Fellow; Bill Gilbert, environmental artist, Lannan Endowed Chair and founder of the Land Arts of the American West department at University of New Mexico; Catherine Harris, artist and landscape architect, faculty of UNM Art and Ecology program; Lauren Camp, fiber artist and poet; Rulan Tangen, founder of Dancing Earth Intertribal Dance Company; Stacey Kay Neff, founder and executive director of the Experimental Glass Workshop; Judith Phillips, writer and landscape designer who specializes in drought tolerance and xeriscaping; Rourke McDermott, landscape architect at the Valles Caldera National Preserve; and Michael Richie, journalist and photographer who has brought attention to the plight of ancient junipers in the Cejita Blanca badlands. My own art focuses on the native plants and trees of the places we visit in the documentaries.



To learn more about the Earth Chronicles Project and the filmmakers, visit: To follow their travels and the process of creating the documentary and exhibition, as well as to get in-depth information about the people and places in the film, visit: For more on Fran Hardy and her work, go to



The Earth Chronicles Project documentary and accompanying exhibition will be at the Santa Fe Art Institute (1600 St. Michael’s Drive) through May 17, 9 am-5 pm. In collaboration with the New Mexico Nature Conservancy, the still-in-progress documentary will be screened on May 13th at 6 pm. For more information, call 505.424.5050, email or visit




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