Vermont
Profile Type: Artist
Artist
Rachel Sargent Mirus

While I appreciate making my own nature illustrations, my real passion is using art to teach life sciences. Originally trained in biology, I worked in research labs and museums across the country, and along the way I became interested in informal science education. Many people are intimidated by science, but art can be an easy and appealing hook for the sciences. I've worked with ages from kindegarten to seniors, mostly in informal education settings, often outside drawing and observing from nature. The traditional practices of natural history have been waning as modern science moves towards lab-based research programs, yet natural history still has a place. Growing concerns over "nature deficit disorder" show that people of all ages need to reconnnect with the natural world and I believe art can be that connection.

In my own art-making, drawing is always about looking deeper and learning more about my subject. I especially like up close and personal portraits of the very small or the uncharismatic, like spiders or worms. I'm most influenced by traditional natural history illustration from the days when scientists travelled the world and included an artist in their expeditions, although I've also taken aesthetic inspiration from pop culture or graphic design. I use a variety of media, but especially acrylic, watercolor, and graphite. I also work as a freelance nature writer, writing and illustrating together on a subject.

In recognition of my commitment to making science-inspired art accessible, I have a creative commons collection available on Flickr under the member name "Natural Curiosities".

Additional Links: 
An illustrated article on imagined animals from New England folk stories published with Northern Woodlands magazine.
An illustrated introduction to a few of the common groups of spiders in the northeast published with Northern Woodlands magazine.

I Have Worked With

  • September 2013 to June 2014

    Making curriculum and teaching as an Americorps intern. Additionally, I curated a three month staff and volunteer art exhibition.

  • February 2014

    Art exhibition of watercolor portraits of living fossils. Additionally, I hosted two "art nights" in collaboration with North Branch Nature Center where we provided specimens and art supplies at the café and encouraged the public to join us in making art.

  • February 2014

    The Nature Center supported my proposal to do nature-themed "art nights" at cafés that were showing my work. The Center would bring education specimens and a representative and I would provide art making materials.

Pages

  • Artist

Contact Information

First Name: 
Rachel
Job Title/Position: 
Nature Illustrator and Teaching Artist
Mailing Address: 
500 Scrabble Hill
Waterbury, VT 05676
Physical Address: 
500 Scrabble Hill
Waterbury, VT 05676
Last Name: 
Mirus
Phone: 
802-249-8838

About

Profile Type: 
Artist
Primary Discipline: 
Visual/Crafts - Illustration / Drawing
Additional Disciplines: 
Humanities - Science
Literary Arts - Non-Fiction
Visual/Crafts - General
Visual/Crafts - Painting
Populations Served: 
Adults
Elders
General Public
School Groups
Teens
Institution/Business Type: 
Artist (Individual)
Activities and Services: 
Arts Instruction / Lessons
Creation of a Work of Art (Including Commissions)
Curriculum Development
Exhibitions
Public Art Projects (In Free, Public Spaces)
Writing Services
Geographic Reach: 
State

Affiliations and Accomplishments

Professional Associations: 
New England Science Writers
Education: 
MA in Museum Studies
BA in Biology and Chemistry
I am on the following State Arts Agency Roster(s): 
Vermont Education Roster

I am a Teaching Artist

Teaching Settings: 
Afterschool Program
Arts and Cultural Center / Venue
Community Site / Center
School / University
Subject Areas: 
Arts Integration - Science / Technology / Engineering
Ages Served: 
Pre-Kindergarten-age
Elementary School-age
Middle School-age
High School-age
College-Age
Adults
Certifications / Training: 
Teaching Artist Academy
Americorps Museum Educator at the Fairbanks Museum
California Academy of Sciences' Educator Program
Harvard Museum of Natural History Gallery Guide Training