NMSU’s ‘Big Tree Ideas Salon’ Invites the Community to Discuss Resilience


LAS CRUCES – The Parisian salons of the 1920s and 1930s included prominent figures in literature and art, such as Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway. They would come together to enjoy each other’s company and learn more through conversation.

Three friends from New Mexico State University hosted a fair in 2019, inviting a group of people to exchange views at Ilana Lapid’s home under a large tree.

“We hosted the first Big Tree Salon on art in my backyard,” Lapid said. “It was 45 people, and the theme was light. We had an artist, a photographer, a scientist and a healer. Everyone shared their work with the light for about 10 minutes.

With pandemic restrictions lifted this spring, Lapid, a professor at NMSU Creative Media Institute, Julia Smith, visiting professor, and Allison Layfield, a poet who also works in fundraising for NMSU, have revived and expanded their concept. They will host a “Big Tree Ideas Salon” with refreshments for up to 80 people from campus and the greater Las Cruces community from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 8 at Pete’s Patio at the Corbett Center Student Union. The flash talks of four speakers will begin at 5 p.m. The subject: resilience.

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“Speakers will approach resilience from the ground up,” Layfield said. “We have a plant science professor talking about plant resilience, we have a government professor talking about democracy and resilience, we have a representative from a local non-profit organization talking about community resilience, and we have someone from astronomy. We approach it from the very micro level to the very macro level, and hope that the audience will be able to make connections between all of these different beings and levels of resilience.

Allison Layfield is a poet and literary scholar who also works in the NMSU Corporate and Foundation Relations Office at the NMSU Foundation.  Her creative, research and fundraising work often crosses disciplinary boundaries, which inspired her to join this team to create more informal opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

The four speakers giving lightning talks at the show are NMSU Government Professor Neil Harvey; Karen Kinemuchi, Apache Point Observatory astronomer; Rachel Gioannini, NMSU assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences; and Diana O’Brien of Jardin de Los Niños, a Las Cruces-based nonprofit organization.

Diana O'Brien, director of development and community engagement for Jardin de los Niños, a nonprofit in Las Cruces, will be among those giving a six-minute lecture on resilience at NMSU on April 8.

Each of the four speakers will have six minutes to share a key insight on resilience from their own research or area of ​​interest. The organizers felt that resilience would be a relevant theme at this point in history, as the situation in the world has compelled us to cultivate resilience.

Neil Harvey, a government professor and head of department at NMSU, is one of four who will give six-minute lightning talks on resilience on April 8 at NMSU.

“Ilana, Allison and I are three career-focused women who have come together and have this kind of shared feeling to create communities where we can come together, not just academically, but lead people to break down these boundaries by understanding this knowledge. really comes from different places, like where we come from, who we are and what we do,” Smith said. “We hope this fair can allow people to fully express themselves as we connect through these shared ideas and create dialogue relevant to our community, our university and our lives. We want to foster understanding of interdisciplinary differences, but also recognize and celebrate our human differences. »

Karen Kinemuchi is an astronomer at Apache Point Observatory.  She is one of four people who will give a six-minute lightning talk on the topic of resilience at NMSU on April 8.

The program is sponsored by NMSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Art and Creative Media Institute, whose department head Amy Lanasa has championed the project. The installation at Pete’s Patio will allow members of the public to use microphones to participate and share their thoughts with each other and with the speakers.

Rachel Gioannini, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, is one of four speakers who will deliver six-minute lightning talks on resilience on April 8 at NMSU.

“One of the nice things about living rooms in the 20s and 30s was that you had people from all kinds of different knowledge disciplines coming together,” Layfield said. “This April 8 event recognizes that knowledge is created in many places. And it’s a place for us to not only hear about other disciplines in the campus community, but also other places where knowledge is created in our community. We hope that people from the Las Cruces community will feel comfortable coming to campus and experiencing this.

Julia Smith is a Visiting Assistant Professor at NMSU.  She has a doctorate.  in English from Purdue University and an MA in English Literature and BA in English from NMSU.  Her research includes critical theory and cultural studies with a focus on women's studies, gender and sexuality.

RSVP for the event at https://www.eventleaf.com/e/bigtreesalon.

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