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Lehigh Carbon Community College

By Suzy Alstrin

From Florida to California and across the Atlantic Ocean, Reinhardt’s Art Department Program Coordinator and Associate Professor Jym Davis spent the Fall 2023 semester focusing on his professional development. Renowned for creating masks inspired by nature and mythology, Davis also has a passion for conservation, otherworldly landscapes, and world folk customs. His new art created at California’s Pinnacles National Park and Florida’s Grayton Beach State Park reflects these interests.

During his sabbatical, he visited numerous state and national parks to conduct research and gain inspiration for his work, participated in art exhibitions, conducted workshops, created new artwork, and viewed other artists’ outstanding works. In addition to his travels, Davis completed his first book about mythical ancient water world creatures titled “Flood Birds.” Available on Amazon, it includes over 20 original watercolors along with narrative text.

Davis’ experiences equipped him to return to the classroom with new knowledge and experience to pass on to his students. Highlights of the sabbatical include showcasing his May Day festival art at an environmentally themed exhibition in Hastings, England, presenting his animal masks at an exhibition in Wyoming, and being a part of nationally juried exhibitions in South Dakota and New Mexico. Following an exhibition at the California Nature Art Museum documenting his time at Death Valley National Park, Davis went on created new works as he traveled along the West Coast.

Since 2016, Davis completed seven nature-focused art residencies, five of which were with the National Park Service. He has also taken independent trips and conducted workshops at various parks. Some of his masks are permanently on view in visitor centers, such as Lassen Volcanic National Park in California. He shared his experiences on campus on February 15, with a talk titled “Making Art in the National Parks.”