“It was so damp in the forest that I was painting inside a bubble tent to keep the canvas dry,” says Mellin. “I use gouache because it’s non-toxic, I recycle older canvases, and I use small frames so they can travel with me instead of needing to be shipped separately – this reduces the carbon emissions impact of my art.”
This spring, Mellin holds the 2023 Max Beckmann Distinguished Visitorship at the American Academy in Berlin. In the conservation space, she aims to continue honing her understanding of global biodiversity and advocating for a just and sustainable approach to conservation based on Indigenous rights and their ecological stewardship.
“Conservation is a zen activity because, if you do it well, it was as though you were never there – these places know best how to manage themselves, as they have done for millennia. It is an act of pointing, and of respecting, evolutionary biology,” says Mellin. “The wonders of the unknown appeal to me as an artist.”
Tania León is an internationally renowned composer/conductor and Dorothy Height Distinguished Alumni Award winner.
Carmen Fariña is the former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and Dorothy Height Distinguished Alumni Award winner.
Celebrated Native American visual artist Nadema Agard is the 2021 Dorothy Height Distinguished Alumni Award winner.