About       Events       Exhibitions       Contact

Artists, Architects, Scientists 
& Poets in the Garden

Natural Discourse: Artists, Architects, Scientists & Poets in the Garden is an ongoing series of symposia, publications, and site-specific art installations that explores the connections between art, architecture, and science within the framework of botanical gardens and natural history museums.

Natural Discourse began as a collaborative project between the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley (UCBG) and a multi-disciplinary group of artists, writers, architects and researchers who were invited to spend time in UCBG’s extraordinary collection of plants, engage with the horticulturalists and develop new site-specific work. The resulting exhibit was on view in the garden’s collection from July 2012 to January 2013. From 2012 to 2017 six day long Natural Discourse symposia combining artists and scientists have been held at UCBG, the LA County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, The LA County Natural History Museum, the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. In 2016, the exhibit Digital Nature: An evening of Techno-Botanical Art in the Garden was held for two nights at the LA County Arboretum.








Shirley Alexandra Watts

Curator, Natural Discourse

Shirley is an artist and designer, principal of sawattsdesign, an award winning design build firm that creates gardens all over the Bay Area. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, studied at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and Tyler School of Art in Rome. Her work has been featured in many publications including Garden Design Magazine, Sunset, the SF Chronicle, New Garden Design by Zahid Sardar, The New Low Mainenance Garden by Valerie Easton and Stephen Orr’s Tomorrow’s Garden.

Shirley is curator of the ongoing project Natural Discourse a series of symposia, publications and site-specific art installations that explore the connections between art, science and the humanities within the framework of botanical gardens and natural history museums. Natural Discourse began with an exhibit of site-specific installations on view at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden from July 2012 to January 2013. Shirley has organized six daylong symposia at the Berkeley Botanical Garden, the LA Arboretum, the LA Natural History Museum and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. On October 21 & 22nd 2016 she curated the exhibit Digital Nature at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

Advisory Board
Dr Marie Csete, MD PhD, President and Chief Scientist of Huntington Medical Research Institute, Ann Hatch, Arts Advocate and Supporter, Founder Workshop Residence, Mia Lehrer, FASLA, Mia Lehrer + Associates, Dr Rosie Mills, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Associate Curator of Decorative Arts & Design, LACMA, Daniel Matarozzi, Principal Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders, Richard Turner, Editor Emeritus, Pacific Horticulture Magazine










© 2017, Natural Discourse
 Email Us      Donate      ︎     ︎