The Writings on the Sea Wall: Jill Pelto Art

As science communicators, we are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to translate the ramblings of the ivory tower into a relatable and accessible public dialogue. In my experience, our strongest ally in this endeavor lies in the artists, musicians, and storytellers within our communities. “The Writing on the Sea-Wall” series seeks to highlight the skilled, artisans and projects that help us in our ongoing mission to connect people to science through tangible and impacting messages.

Art by: Jill Pelto

I recently came across this artist while attending one of my favorite west coast science conferences. One of the key note speakers was using Jill Pelto’s art as a gold standard in how we can communicate science to the public. Upon first glance the pieces are stunningly beautiful, but as you delve in closer their true efficacy comes to light. Each piece is crafted around a certain scientific trend from receding sea ice to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They are subtle, but impacting.

Art by: Jill Pelto

Pesto is the best kind of science communicator – a scientists and an artist. She is currently working on a Masters of Science at the University of Maine where she studies the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Jill expresses, “My love of nature and wilderness drives me to use creativity to communicate information about extreme environmental issues with a broad audience… I see nature as a work of art, and the origin of my observational skills.”

Art by: Jill Pelto


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One Reply to “The Writings on the Sea Wall: Jill Pelto Art”

  1. here’s a great lesson plan based on Jill’s artwork –

    “Hot issues, such as climate change may not be subjects of contention within the scientific community, but it seems clear that the science is not being communicated in a way that has the necessary impact. Although art cannot directly communicate science or change minds, it can create a space for dialogue around difficult issues.” (Kieniewicz)

    In this lesson, students will combine art and science to interpret and illustrate graphs in order to convey the ‘bigger picture’ of climate change.

    [Tags: climate change, graphing, data visualization]
    Authors: Joanna Chierici, Kathleen Couchon, Nancy (Harris) FitzGerald; EARTH 2016 (

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