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2017 Conference Keynote Speakers


Greg Mort


Greg Mort is a widely recognized American contemporary artist whose unmistakably modern creations have the classic feel of the Dutch Masters juxtaposed with startlingly modern designs. His signature images combine his twin passions for science and nature.

Mort’s artwork is in many prominent collections including the Smithsonian, National Gallery of Art, Boston Museum of Science, Delaware Art Museum, Farnsworth Museum, Academy Art Museum, Portland Museum of Art, Brandywine River Museum and the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.  The United States Department of State’s Art in Embassies program has selected many of his paintings for their cultural diplomacy efforts including an ongoing exhibition at The White House.  Mort’s artwork has been exhibited in over one hundred museum and gallery shows around the world. Current exhibitions include “Lunar Attractions” at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA and “Starry Skies of Art” at the Serlachius Museum in Mänttä, Finland.

Deeply fascinated with astronomy and the universe Mort’s life-long interest in science is frequently reflected in his artwork. He has been

a commissioned NASA artist since 1983 and serves on the board of the Lowell Observatory.  In 2010 his painting “ZERO-G Apples” was one of six paintings juried into “The First Art Show in Space@” aboard the International Space Station.  A skilled astro-photographer and telescope builder Mort is a sought after speaker on the intersection of art and science.

Throughout his career Mort has recognized the power of imagery and used art to share his passion of promoting environmental awareness.  In 2007 he established The Art of Stewardship Project, a family foundation that supports and inspires ecological consciousness through the arts.  The Art of Stewardship Project works with arts and educational organizations to build partnerships and collaborations reinforcing the artist’s role in preserving our fragile Earth.  Leading by example Mort is a Clinton Global Initiative Partner offering his artwork to support the goals of Circle of Blue the international organization of top journalists and scientists providing relevant, reliable, and actionable on-the-ground information about the world’s water and food resource crises. CircleofBlue.org

Mort is a self taught artist, passionate amateur astronomer and enthusiastic competitive archer. He counts among his collectors former President Bill Clinton, Secretary Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, the Bush family, American and foreign diplomats as well as scholars and scientists from around the globe.  Recently Ann Druyan, wife of the late Dr. Carl Sagan commissioned him to paint Dr. Sagan’s portrait.  This painting has been acquired by the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center’s permanent collection.  During the winter Mort lives and paints in rural Montgomery County Maryland and in summer on the rugged Maine coast in the fishing village of Port Clyde. GregMortCollection.

“Greg is a master at helping us to see our planet as a gift to be treasured. His Art of Stewardship program highlights the role of the citizen artist – to create more than a concert on a stage, or a framed image on a wall, but to create a call to act – using art – in a way that makes the world better for all.”

 John Schratwieser, Executive Director Maryland Citizens for the Arts

Stacy Levy

Stacy grew up at the edge of the largest urban park in the world. She played in the waterways of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia: creating dams and floating stick boats with particular relish after rain storms— when the streams were bursting their banks.  Little did she know that this was her first foray into her relationship with storm water.

Stacy has been working with all types of urban water: from illustrating the life forms in puddles to the picturing large scale watersheds.    She has been making large outdoor and indoor installations that capture rain, show the wind currents, create bird habitat and explore hydrology.   Her knowledge of natural processes was kindled as an undergraduate at Yale University, where Stacy combined a major in art and many classes in forestry. Upon graduation this combination of art and woodland ecology became her first design job of urban forest restoration: bringing native landscape forms back into disturbed landscapes.

Her artworks reveal the natural processes that are present on the site, creating visual metaphors for visitors to understand how nature works. Many people do not understand how nature works and do not spend enough time observing nature to see its slow or less visible changes   Stacy’s works are created to show change over time and to create new ways to visualize natural processes

Stacy has built projects across the United States: in Scottsdale, Arizona; Seattle, Washington; Philadelphia PA Pittsburgh, PA;  San Antonio, Texas and in Toronto, Canada and Niigata, Japan. Her work has been published in Orion Magazine, Landscape Architecture Magazine, and Transmaterial and Sculpture Magazine.  She has created work for multiple nature centers and parks as well as schools, arboreta and transportation structures. Her works have been awarded an Excellence in Estuary from the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Best Outdoor Classroom in Philadelphia and a Potomac and Maryland Chapter Merit Award with Biohabitats Inc.

Her projects always show how nature works, but also create artful solutions to site issues. Stacy’s projects have created new ways to promote the infiltration of storm water, and she has explored evocative methods to treat types of water pollution such as Acid Mine Drainage and Nutrient pollution.  Stacy works in teams of engineers, ecologists and landscape and building architects to find new ways of addressing site issues. As an artist, Stacy is most interested in the new role of artists to work between different disciplines to seek new solutions to old and persistent problems inherent to the meeting of nature and the built environment.