Zamora to lecture UI students on solar powered artworks in urban landscapes


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A garden full of giant lotus flowers and delicate tulips illuminate the night sky in an array of sizes and colors to create an atmosphere of tranquility.

The solar installation Night Garden, is one of nine pieces in Nacho Zamora's the Solar Artworks Project, which creates art in urban areas by using renewable energies.

Zamora will present a lecture at the University of Iowa about his entrepreneurial project in an effort to promote ecological global awareness at 6 p.m. Friday in 240 Art Building West. Admission is free.

The Solar Artworks Project, which is stationed in Dubai, was a result of a research project he worked on while attending graduate school.

He found there were designers around the world creating solar installations, but there wasn't information about the artists' work.

So, Zamora started the Solar Artworks Project in order to not only conduct research about the topic of solar installations but to also work with and represent the designers.

"We are working with public art and renewable energies, and we are talking about the education [of renewable energy] with new generations," he said. "In the future, public art won't only be something aesthetic but will also take an important part in our lives."

Currently, the entrepreneur represents eight international designers; their artwork can mostly be found in the Middle East.

It is in these areas where Zamora said the pieces have huge potential because a large amount of public art does not already exist, and it promotes the integration of solar power.

But for him, the most interesting part of establishing these pieces in the Middle East is the reaction they get from the people.

"The works of solar art is something that combines art, technology, and renewable energy, but in the end is translating an ecological message to the citizens," he said. "Solar power can be beautiful, and in cities and towns, it can also be an important part of [everyday] lives."

Zamora works on the expansion of these installations, and soon a major exhibition will come to the United States.

The Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance in Michigan is working with Zamora and local, national, and international artists to create a solar-artwork element for the state's Art and Sol Festival in October.

Diana Tomlin, the director of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, Art and Sol Festival, first came across Zamora's work while researching solar art.

Because Zamora was creating these pieces worldwide, Tomlin said, the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance people knew they wanted to collaborate with him.

"We thought his research included very compelling pieces," Tomlin said. "He had the ability to give us contacts with artists we wouldn't have been able to find ourselves, and he has brought a fresh perspective [to our team]."

This year, the alliance also wanted to add an educational aspect, so an intensive workshop was held for teachers to instruct their students on how to create simple solar-powered light projects.

From there, around 800 to 1,000 of these students will be a part of the festival.

Anthony Castronovo, a UI visiting assistant professor of sculpture, has been helping with the workshops in Michigan, and he is also interested to see what his UI students think of Zamora's work.

He hopes that Zamora's lecture introduces his students to what is possible in a different model of effective communication and a different model for how students can meet people and collaborate.

"The Art School is very interested in developing interdisciplinary projects and collaborations with the College of Engineering," Castronovo said. "[Zamora's pieces] show that art, technology, and the community can come together and make something really meaningful happen."

Nacho Zamora — visiting artist in sculpture
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: 240 Art Building West
Admission: Free

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