CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Center for Coastal Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi was proud to host their second Artist in Residence, Jeffrey Neel McDaniel, who stayed at the Laguna Madre Field Station (LMFS) Oct. 1-6. During his time at the field station, McDaniel used the beauty of the Laguna Madre to inspire several paintings.
When he’s not painting, McDaniel, a Corpus Christi native, works as a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in trauma and crisis counseling. McDaniel uses his time painting as a stress reliever which allows him to express his wonder, curiosity, gratitude and awe of the outdoors.
"Science, for a lot of people, can be dry and intimidating," said McDaniel. "I think art gives access to the purpose of science which is to improve the quality of life. Art is adored by people who may not otherwise be interested in science so I think there is good synergy there."
McDaniel paints images of the natural world around him, including the sea, its wildlife and vibrant sunsets. He has won multiple awards including two second place rankings and multiple best in show rankings at the Bay Area Art League annual art show.
“The Laguna Madre is one of the largest hypersaline lagoons in the world and has been recognized as a fragile ecosystem requiring study since the early 1980s,” said Captain Jay Tarkington, Director of the Aquatic Education Program at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “It is our goal that this program will blend the Arts and Biological sciences to foster collaboration between different disciplines on campus, and within the local, regional, national, and international community.”
The LMFS is located on a dredge reclamation Island near Intracoastal Waterway Marker 83 and is leased to A&M-Corpus Christi through a unique Educational Facility lease. Plans are in the works to display McDaniel’s completed artwork on campus in the Mary and Jeff Bell Library and at the Art Museum of South Texas, located in downtown Corpus Christi. McDaniel’s artwork will be available for purchase and part of sale proceeds will support the Artist in Residence Program as well as the LMFS.
“We feel that more people will gain an appreciation of this ecosystem through the eyes of artists and the paintings they will create,” said Captain Tarkington. “The artists who participate in this program will provide us with a creative tool to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the world around us, promote conservation and stewardship, and to creatively adapt how biological field stations fulfill teaching and research roles.”