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Science, art combine for beautiful 'Symbiosis'

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Artist Allie St. Paul presenting her interactive neuron canvas. St. Paul’s canvas was the only piece that was unfinished and interactive. Artist St. Paul presenting her interactive neuron canvas. St. Paul’s canvas was the only piece that was unfinished and interactive. 

On November 7th, “Symbiosis” was held in the ENR2 building, and throughout the first floor were images that brought biology and art together.  The Department of Neurological Sciences and Cognitive Sciences hosted the annual event to display the artwork of University of Arizona students and their passion for anatomy, as well as an expression of life. 

“This is our fourth annual event," said Neuroscience and Cognitive Science senior program coordinator Becca Van Sickler. "One of our students a few years ago, who also worked for The Daily Wildcat, was covering an art show over astronomy and she immediately came back and said, ‘We need to do this with neuroscience!’ and so we went ahead and did it.”

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Van Sickler noted that this year's event was the largest yet, straining the capacity of the event space. “The last two years we have had about 60 to 70 submissions, but this year we received more than 90. So, it is growing and I think we may have to move to a bigger venue next year.”  

The giant lecture halls were lined with biologically-themed art, which included work that featured anything from the heart, to the brain to the veins, as subjects not easily visible to the naked eye. All of the art pertained to life, human or not, in some form or another. 

The event has expanded to include work from more than that of UA students; there were a handful of submissions from middle school students across Tucson.

“I one day want to be a Wildcat, and so do a lot of my friends. I think this is a good way to feel like I’m already part of the Arizona community,” one of the middle school artists said. 

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“I wanted something to represent the event 'Symbiosis' that was science-based from the NSCS Ambassadors," said artist Allie St. Paul. "I love neurons and I study neuroscience. I love the idea of fingerprints and neurons together because each fingerprint and each neuron are unique to themselves.” 

St. Paul’s canvas was the only piece that was unfinished and interactive. “I like the opportunity of interacting with my audience, and it’s cool because I get to keep this for the rest of my life,” she said. 

“Symbiosis," which may be in a new location next year, has combined life and creativity to innovate a new way to channel art, science and education into one experience, on display for the local community. 


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