Dairy Arts Center

What is Permanent/Transitory?

Last week we were fortunate to work alongside CU NEST to host artist and researcher Nina Elder at The Dairy as she created a new mural for the outside facade of our building. On view on the front windows of our terrace, Elder created a new list mural with crowd-sourced responses from the community to the question, “What is Transitory?” while creating another mural at the CU NEST campus, with the question “What is Permanent?” 

This is made possible with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the “Environmental Futures” Sawyer Seminar at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Nina Elder

Nina Elder is a nomadic artist (residing between Albuquerque, NM and Alaska) who travels to research, experience, and bear witness to “humanity’s dependence on, and interruption of, the natural world.” Often focusing on large subjects such as time, ecology, gravity, or climate change, Elder’s work takes on many different mediums from hyperrealistic drawings to performative actions in the landscape. 

With a keen intuition for material and process, Elder’s works often use the event or landscape directly in the creation of the final art object. She has created drawings using forest fire ash, has ground down guns to use as material, and utilized detritus from pit mines to create responsive art works. Her website is also a wealth of interesting information, meandering lines of inquiry, and a fantastic look at her ever-evolving and rarely conclusive practice. Elder presents a natural curiosity about the world that is at one time uplifting and sobering. 

“Nina advocates for collaboration, fostering relationships between institutions, artists, scientists and diverse communities. Nina’s artwork is widely exhibited and has been featured in Art in America, VICE Magazine, and on PBS. Her research has been supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation, the Rauschenberg Foundation award for Arts & Activism, the Pollock Krasner Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation. She has recently held positions as an Art + Environment Research Fellow at the Nevada Museum of Art, a Polar Lab Research Fellow at the Anchorage Museum, and a Researcher in Residence in the Art and Ecology Program at the University of New Mexico.”


Nature, Environment, Science & Technology (NEST) Studio for the Arts is a network of faculty, students, centers and campus units that combine artistic practice and scientific research to explore our common and disparate ways of observing, recording, experimenting and knowing. A series of cross-campus initiatives allow students to directly engage with faculty mentors and inspire alternate modes of communicating with the public.

Find out more about the CU NEST Studio for the Arts here.

An Incomplete List of Things That Are Transitory/Permanent

Mural at CU NEST Image from Artist's Instagram

These public artworks utilize stream of consciousness list-making as a way to think through categories of information and concepts. The lists explore phenomenon, responding to the questions “What is Permanent?” for the NEST mural—CASE Building, Room W250, University of Colorado Boulder, 1725 Euclid Ave, Boulder, CO 80309—and “What is Transitory?” for the Dairy Arts Center mural—2590 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO 80302. The collected thoughts become large 2D artworks with the words meticulously hand-drawn onto the windows.

The lists are meant to be crowd-sourced to reflect the collective and eclectic reality of our community. The murals wer painted between September 17 and 26, and will be on display until December.

Scroll to Top

MARCH 2020

As of today, 3/12/2020, The Dairy Arts Center remains open and operational. Should scheduling changes occur, ticket holders will be directly notified by The Dairy Arts Center.

If you have a question about an event please contact the presenting arts organization. For films, Dairy Presents and all other questions contact the Box Office at 303.440.7826