Why art?

Our creation story starts with a big bang. Complexity arises, patterns emerge, things accrete and evolve. It’s a long story.  How do we tell it?


The poetry of the older stories seems easier to grasp: In the beginning there was light. Or Rangi and Papa, Heaven and Earth. Or Taiowa’s nephew and nine universes. Or Olurun, orishas and the baobab tree.  When we describe the emergence of life’s early molecules, or the evolution of living things, we are competing with these old stories. Science is self-correcting, so our stories keep becoming more nuanced and complex. It’s hard to find the poetry in them.

But I believe science must find the poetry in its stories. If we want to talk to anyone other than ourselves, we need to tell the important stories of science with more than just the facts. The stories of science are beautiful and strange, with plenty of material for sending a chill of awe up the spine, or coaxing a laugh at its absurdities.

Art, more than anything else, can make our stories resonate, explain difficult concepts, use the senses to make stories memorable.

Triptych of Darwin’s “predicted” moth and comet orchids it pollinates

 Creativity is our common ground.

Art and science actually have many things in common. Both seek truths in the world, require keen observation of the senses, explore new territory, generate new tools and techniques, and above all, require creativity.  Every day new partnerships are growing across the art-science divide. As we build these cross-disciplinary connections, we must keep a balance between the two cultures; it’s important that artists not just serve science, but also express their own artistic voice, without sacrificing scientific accuracy. The vision is to create a commensal symbiosis, like pollination, to the benefit of everyone.

It is my mission to bring artists and scientists together, to tell the beautiful stories of science. For more information, visit my ArtSci Consulting page or email me at

sciencecandance (at) gmail (dot) com

5 thoughts on “Why art?

  1. The Lost Pedestrian on said:

    hi nancy! it’s robert. yes, it’s me and not a spam robot. i really look forward to following your wonderful new blog as often as possible.

  2. Hi Nancy, I am an artist working at the interface of art and science, metaphysics, botany and entomology. My websites are outdated by over 1.5 years and the new work is far evolved..but at least the old websites can give you a hint. My work is made from the detritus of nature. I am on Linkedin and your profile came up related to someone I know…the photographer Joel Simpson.
    PEACE, Randi Ehrhart


  3. I was having a conversation about this with someone the other day. My take on it is that art generally deals with the human condition, while science tries to explain nature. But they’re not wholly different. A image from the Hubble telescope can inspire as much awe (perhaps even more) than the most famous artistic works. Both art and science, if it’s good, makes us realize things we’ve never understood or even thought about before. I mean, they don’t lump colleges of arts and sciences together for nothing. 😉

  4. Gabrielle on said:

    Great explanation how science and art are connected. This is a good way to explain how simple is to understand what is science.

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