Conversation with Laura Cunningham at The Brower Center

The Long Now Foundation will be co-presenting a conversation with artist and naturalist Laura Cunningham on Wednesday, December 5th as part of her fall 02012 exhibit at the David Brower Center’s Hazel Wolf Gallery. Cunningham’s background in paleontology, wildlife biology and natural science illustration coalesce in her beautiful book “A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California,” which depicts scenes of California ecology as they would have appeared centuries ago – what she calls Old California. She ventures even deeper into the past in some cases, such as in her painting “40,000 Years Ago on the Franciscan Valley,” which portrays Pleistocene megafauna grazing the valley floor where the San Francisco Bay now sits.

In October 02011, Laura Cunningham presented the talk “Ten Millennia of California Ecology” as one of The Long Now Foundation’s Seminars About Long-term Thinking. Stewart Brand’s summary of her presentation shares some of the insights provided by her work:

Only 300 years ago the whole Bay Area was grasslands, routinely burned by the local Indians. There were oaks in the valleys, redwoods in the Berkeley Hills, and extensive oak savannahs inland. The hills were greener more of the year than now, with fire-freshened grass attracting elk, and native perennial grasses drawing moisture with their deep roots.

To see this imagery beautifully illustrated, visit her exhibit or one of the related events this fall at the Brower Center in Berkeley:

Laura Cunningham: Before California

The David Brower Center
Hazel Wolf Gallery (Fourth Annual Art/Act Exhibition)
Exhibit dates: September 13 02012 – January 30, 02013


  • Opening Reception: Thursday, September 13. 5:30-8:00 pm
    • Artist talk from 6-7
    • Wine reception 7-8
  • Field Sketch Class: Saturday, September 15, 1pm – 4pm
  • Great Animal Orchestra: November 8, 6:30-9:00pm
  • A Landscape Flux: Wednesday, December 5, 6:30-9:00 pm
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