HEALING NATURE: The Aspen Maps (2022)



HEALING NATURE: The Aspen Maps (2022)

Photo credit: Solstream Studios

Friends of the Desert Mountains presents Paula Crown’s bold new painting series, HEALING NATURE: The Aspen Maps at Intersect Palm Springs. Consonant with a shared mission of wildlife conservation and sustainability, Crown’s work spotlights nature and its power to heal.

Crown’s work explores mark-making. Trails exhibit marks made by human movements in space and through time. Our imprints alter the terrain in positive and negative ways. Crown’s HEALING NATURE paintings explore nature and its relationship with human well-being. The pandemic was humbling, making evident how human behavior can alter the environment and affect its power to harm or to heal. For Crown, the outdoors were a source of nourishment even during the most challenging of days. The colors and organic shapes of the surrounding terrain soothed and improved focus.

Layered and abstracted, Crown’s painting language is sensuous, evoking human forms and sinuous topographies. Viewers immerse in fantastical landscapes and vivid color adjacencies that encompass both physical and psychological spaces.

“We are part of nature, not apart from it. The truth is that we need Mother Nature, Mother Nature does not need us. Her gifts are generous and make it possible for our human species to thrive collectively and individually. Implied is our shared responsibility to care for, and be mindful of, the earth’s fragile ecosystems. Human health and well-being depend on it. I enthusiastically share the mission of the Friends of the Desert Mountains to educate and conserve the beauty of the Coachella Valley and Desert Mountains. It is a pleasure to be partners on such important work.” —Paula Crown, Artist

“Paula Crown’s paintings offer a powerful way to consider our participation with the land. As stewards of trails in the Coachella Valley, we are inspired by how spending time in our natural environment can spark the imagination and lead to a greater understanding of its impact in our lives.” – Tammy Martin, Executive Director, Friends of the Desert Mountains.


The mission of the Friends of the Desert Mountains is to preserve land, to support education, conservation, and research in the Coachella Valley, and to act as the support organization for the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.

As Friends of the Desert Mountains, we are dedicated to building a community of support to help preserve the unique wildlife and scenic beauty of the Coachella Valley and our Desert Mountains. We acquire and preserve wildlands, promote stewardship of trails, conduct educational programs, and support ecological research.

To learn more, click here.

Paula Crown, Aspen Map (yellow), 2021. Acrylic on flex gesso linen. 60 x 48 in (152.4 x 121.9 cm.) Image courtesy of artist.

Paula Crown, Aspen Map (red), 2021. Acrylic and oil on flex gesso linen. 60 x 48 in (152.4 x 121.9 cm.) Image courtesy of artist.

Paula Crown, Aspen Map (green), 2021. Acrylic on flex gesso linen. 60 x 48 in (152.4 x 121.9 cm.) Image courtesy of artist.

Paula Crown, Aspen Map (orange), 2021. Acrylic on flex gesso linen. 60 x 48 in (152.4 x 121.9 cm.) Image courtesy of artist.

Paula Crown, Aspen Map (lavender), 2021. Acrylic and on flex gesso linen. 60 x 48 in (152.4 x 121.9 cm.) Image courtesy of artist.

Paula Crown, Fractal Blue, 2020. Oil on flex gesso Belgian linen. 79 7/8 x 59 1/8 in (203 x 150 cm.) Image courtesy of artist.

EMANARE Miami (2021)


What positive message do you want to emanate to the world today?

Paula Crown
Multimedia Installation
Dimensions Variable
Physical Installation: Miami, FL

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Miami, FL, 2021––During Miami Art Week, the New World Symphony will present EMANARE, an interactive installation by Chicago-based artist Paula Crown. Known for her multimedia practice incorporating cutting-edge technologies and social activism, this presentation, traveling from New York’s Rockefeller Center, will be EMANARE’s largest iteration yet. On view over two evenings, November 30 and December 1, 2021 from 7-11pm This participant-generated artwork will be projected onto the building’s famed WALLCAST®, and invites an audience from across the globe to activate the work by entering messages of positive intention and affirmation via QR-code, or through the artist’s website by answering the question, “What positive message do you want to emanate into the world today?”

Inspired by Buddhist prayer wheels, EMANARE, Latin for emanate, scrolls these positive messages in a ruminative, meditative fashion across WALLCAST®, pulsating with calming colors, and a soundscape developed for the artwork in collaboration with New World Symphony Fellows: Douglas Aliano, Amelia del Cano, Ben Fryxell, Zoë Merrill, Zachary Ragent, and Marcelina Suchocka. These messages layer, conjoin and merge into one another, transforming the work into a collection of each participant’s unique contribution, inspiring us to be present, consider others, and continue to spread positivity. More about NWS here.

“EMANARE, which invites anyone to become a co-author as well as an observer of art, is predicated on public participation, and how art, in dialog with audiences, can transform reality.  The desire to explore, display, and analyze the ways in which people interact with, but also build community, is in complete harmony with New World Symphony, whose rich and dedicated platform is a beacon.  Needless to say, I’m excited and honored to be working with NWS and their fellows to discover how to layer another art form, sound, into the synergetic sensorium that is EMANARE.”
–Paula Crown, Artist


As a project formed by contributions from various publics, EMANARE naturally invites collaboration. While installed at New World Symphony, Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach 2021, several groups participated in the project, providing focused messages that alternatively created platforms for art and exchange.


EMANARE is predicated on public participation, and how art, in dialog with audiences, can transform reality. During Art Basel Miami Beach, Paula Crown Atelier engaged six different organizations on their unique messages, featuring these emanations via EMANARE. Participating organizations: Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship, Surfrider. Foundation Miami Chapter, La Escuela de Teatro, Inc., Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator, Inc., Hued Songs, and The National YoungArts Foundation


During Miami Art Week Pioneer Winter activated EMANARE with two improvised movement jams. Inspiring others to continue the conversation and create new points of view is at the core of Paula Crown’s atelic practice. This intergenerational and physically integrated company is rooted in social practice and community, queer visibility, and beauty beyond the mainstream. They seek to democratize performance through the unexpected.

EMANARE at Rockefeller Center (2021)


What positive message do you want to emanate to the world today?

Paula Crown
Multimedia Installation
Dimensions Variable
Physical Installation: Rockefeller Plaza at 48th St., New York, NY, September 1 – October 18, 2021

Passions and sentiments not only stir the emotions, they charge the globe. Electrify the world by transmitting a positive note that, like a great novelist, thrills the spirit through the word.

Please use the QR code to add your missive to this prompt; it will later be displayed on the adjoining LED screens to form a collection of electronic message bottles. Over time, new lines will be added so that each participant’s unique mark not only conjures, but conjoins with one another’s.


As a project formed by contributions from various publics, EMANARE naturally invites collaboration. While installed at Rockefeller Center in New York City in Fall 2021, several groups participated in the project, providing focused messages that alternatively created platforms for art, health, humor, and exchange. 


Sometimes we all just need to laugh. Comedy, like art, can instantaneously change our perspective for the better. Plus laughter’s release of endorphins and dopamine, nature’s feel-good chemicals, helps us to cope with stress, find hope, and see problems in new ways. A talented group of NYC comedians, curated by Michael Cruz Kayne, contributed laughter-inducing messages to EMANARE, proving that laughter-inducing messages are pretty good medicine after all.  


Paula Crown Atelier collaborated with Urban World NYC, the premier youth literary arts organization and official director of the US National Youth Poet Laureate Program. For EMANARE, celebrated 2021 NYC Youth Poet Laureate Serena Yang and youth poets from the Urban Word NY Slam Team (tag on image) contributed poems to EMANARE adding their unique words to this artwork and sharing their voices with the world.  


Mental Health is Wealth. An accomplished group of doctors who refer to themselves as “psychiatrists who have your back” contributed messages to EMANARE. Their inspiring prompts remind us that small changes in perspective can leave us standing in the same place, but totally transformed. In support of mental health initiatives embodied by these doctors, Paula Crown Atelier made a donation to the Boris L. Henson Foundation, an organization that fights for mental health support in urban schools, reducing prison recidivism rates and increasing the number of African-American therapists.


“What happens to the ocean happens to us.” 

— Cristina Mittermeier, Co-Founder of Sea Legacy & Only One

Art uniquely transcends language, politics and culture and has the ability to bring us together to solve the climate crisis. As part of 2021’s New York Climate Week, Paula Crown Atelier collaborated with Sea Legacy and Only One through EMANARE. For each positive message submitted to EMANARE, Paula Crown Atelier made a donation to Sea Legacy, a movement that brings together the world’s top photographers, conservationists, scientists, storytellers and strategists to lead a bold new movement to engage one billion people in ocean conservation.


For the last day of the project at Rockefeller Center, Paula Crown partnered with the movement-based practitioners of MOtiVE Brooklyn to explore EMANARE as a platform for physical expression. Five incredible dancers connected their positive messages about dance and movement with an improvised dance session in front of the installation. In the words of Jennifer Nugent, one of the dancers participating in this collaboration, “Movement is a source of joy and truth.”

EMANARE at Intersect 21 (2021)


What positive message do you want to emanate to the world today?

Paula Crown
Multimedia Installation
Dimensions Variable
Physical Installation: 73-811 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA 92260

“In these disorienting times, how can we utilize positive and contemplative intention to affect energy in the world? By engaging with affirmative ideas, I invite the viewer to add their positive emanation as an act of unity via collective activation – solo together.” Paula Crown

In EMANARE, Crown blends the haptic and the virtual creating an interactive experience inviting each of us to collaborate with the artwork.  Emanare, the Latin word for emanate, means to flow out, to send forth, and to emit. Known for asking “What’s not wrong today?” Crown believes in the power of positive intentions and the extraordinary goodness in the world. 

What positive message do you want to emanate to the world today? Your response to this prompt will be displayed on LED screens in Palm Desert, CA for socially distant in-person viewing and online for virtual viewing globally.  Layers of messages scroll against a backdrop of morphing colors from Crown’s paintings and local skyscapes. Over time, new messages will be added, accumulating and transforming the work as each participant’s unique mark joins in unison.

Inspired by Buddhist prayer wheels, Crown further transforms remnants of the space’s retail past with subtle light activations. The mysterious intervention visually connects with the empty retail space and prompts questions about the relationship between the totemic object and the scrolling messages in the window. 

EMANARE (2021) continues Crown’s practice of inviting viewers to interact and collaborate with her work. TRANSPOSITION (2014) installed in Miami’s Design District created a community nexus around Crown’s installation centered around her 25-foot PERforation sculpture. The public was invited to engage with the site, activating the space with music, dance, yoga, and performances.  During the unveiling of her monumental sculpture, JOKESTER 2 (2018), Crown partnered with The Surfrider Miami in a social media campaign that removed 1lb of waste from Miami’s beaches for each photo visitors shared on social media. FREEZING RAIN (2018) was exhibited at the 2018 AURORA biennial in Dallas where viewers activated the work as they moved around the installation. The site-specific sculpture is developed from hand-drawn individual rain droplets processed through digital mapping software and fully realized as a 3D installation. In #IamFor (2018), Crown invites visitors to write down what they stand for on a black sports ball before dropping it into an open atrium at the center of the gallery. These visitor-created messages populate the background of a billboard Crown created with For Freedoms in 2020 as a reminder that what we value does not change with each news cycle or political administration. 

The Nature of Women (2021), Art She Says


The Nature of Women (2021), Art She Says

“What if we ascribe to the philosophy that we are all interconnected? That there is an intelligence far greater than humans at work? What if the virus was actually an awakening from Mother Nature—a start to the decade so raw, so painful, so unforgettable, that it uprooted humanity from its mindless habits—galvanizing each individual to collectively reset, reflect, and sow the seeds of change.

If we just paused for a moment to observe the world around us, we would not be able to ignore the damage we are incurring on our planet. Melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and scorching heatwaves are already driving many species to extinction, and these damages are only increasing over time. The silver lining is: if human influence is the cause of climate change, we can also be the drivers of reversing it.” –  Claudia Cheng, Curator

Paula Crown Atelier is pleased to participate in Art She Says newest online exhibition “The Nature of Women” from March 8 – April 8, 2021. Premiering on International Women’s Day, this exhibition features 9 sensational artists whose works explore the ways in which women relate to Mother Nature. These works weave together the human psyche, the female identity, and our place in nature, revealing the interdependence between us and our planet. Perpetually evolving, growing, protecting, cultivating, expanding, and unifying: women are the threads of our social fabric, and we have the power and the responsibility to save our planet.

This exhibition will support The Nature Conservancy, one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations working to create a world where people and nature can thrive.

Link here to view this exhibition and learn more.

Sculpturally Distanced (2020-2021), Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Aspen, CO


Sculpturally Distanced (2020-2021), Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Aspen, CO

Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Aspen, CO

Paula Crown Atelier is pleased to participate in Anderson Ranch Art Center’s public art exhibition opening Summer 2020 and installed through September of 2021. This interactive outdoor sculpture exhibition, curated by Lissa Ballinger, is comprised of 17 sculptures by local, national, and internationally-acclaimed artists, including two works from Crown’s CLOUDY Series. 

CLOUDY represents a portion from an original drawing that has been transformed into 3D-depth studies. The marks are direct, made while moving in time and space, connecting the intimacy of that experience to the sublime expanse of the horizon. The surfaces reflect the surroundings and allow space for visitors to locate themselves within the present moment.

These works are for sale, all proceeds benefiting Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Click here to view the exhibition website and view the works. 

INSIDE MY HEAD: A Contemporary Self-Portrait (2020), Hebrew University Arts Website, Jerusalem, Israel


INSIDE MY HEAD: A Contemporary Self-Portrait (2020)

Hebrew University Arts Website, Jerusalem, Israel

“I think of it as painting with tools of technology” – Paula Crown

The self-portrait is among the most prevalent subjects in art history. Typically, it involves using a mirror to capture the surface information which is then selectively conveyed to the audience. With any luck, the artist’s internal life will shine forth from these external details. Of course, no objective portrait exists. The artist’s perception always colors his/her view of the subject, and the viewers’ perceptions color their interpretations.

The multimedia work INSIDE MY HEAD: A Contemporary Self Portrait (2013) began with MRIs of Crown’s brain. Beset by migraines since childhood, she animated these high-tech images of her internal landscape and projected them on concave screens. The piece is a self-portrait rendered from the inside out, an intimate view of her personal topology. Altered and viewed in an alternative scale, the images evoke the cosmos and its starscapes, from which we evolved.

This virtual exhibition includes an animation made from Crown’s MRI scans. Initially, the imagery appears to be abstract patterns. However, upon closer observation, these images, with their pulsating accumulation of shapes and forms, reveal the workings of the artist’s own brain, documented via a magnetic resonance image (MRI). As Crown states, “I view them as abstract forms and topologies that could be micro or macro in size.” Although Crown has said that landscapes capture her attention and she researches topologies and maps, there is not narrative or symbolism to her work. It’s the various shapes and patterns that interest her. My work is “just a connection between what is happening in our bodies and what is happening in the larger world,” she says.

The animation is accompanied by an audio track composed specifically for this piece, replacing the original hammering noise of the MRI scanner with a soothing violin, a musical interpretation of the activity of Crown’s brain. As the shapes change so does the music. “The music is my brain’s anatomy that was literally put into a software program and converted to sound,” Crown explains. “Then a violinist played to the animation of the brain scans.”

paula_crown_--_inside_my_head-_a_contemporary_self-portrait_1920x1080_1280x720 vimeo play

#solotogether (Messages for the City) (2020), Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC


#solotogether (Messages for the City) (2020)

Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC

Messages for the City
The M
int Museum
Charlotte, North Carolina
Fall 2020

Throughout the fall of 2020, The Mint Museum will present Messages for the City, artist-made images and animations that recognize and celebrate the work of frontline and essential workers during the COVID pandemic, on the Wells Fargo screen located on the Levine Center for the Arts in Charlotte. Originally created for Times Square Arts in NY, these artist-designed PSAs remind us of the ways in which our solitudes can be unified.

Crown’s work, #solotogether (Messages for the City) (2020) explores the duality of our human existence, as soloists in an expansive orchestra, where each action affects the collective whole. During this global pandemic, we must embrace the truth. Our societal fabric is only as strong as the individual threads of which it is composed. We need to be as unflinching and clear in our understanding of how every action ripples through our interwoven ecosystem. Our front line workers remind us in the most beautiful way that we are never alone. Solo and together we can find our way to healing.

This is America | USA Today (2020), Kunsthal KAde, Amersfoort, NL


This is America |USA Today (2020)

Kunsthal KAde, Amersfoort, NL

This Is America | Art USA Today, on view from September 26, 2020 – January 03, 2021, brings together almost forty American artists addressing current issues like identity, city culture, climate change, and ‘Trump’. Included in this exhibition is Crown’s work, Thoughts & Prayers, which was originally commissioned by For Freedoms as part of its 50 State Initiative in 2016. It is s both a confrontation and a call to action.

To learn more about this exhibition, visit Kunsthal KAde’s website here.

#iamFOR (2018), Fort Gansevoort, NY 


#iamFOR (2018) 

Fort Gansevoort, NY 

Paula Crown’s solo exhibition, I am FOR, was the inaugural exhibition for the For Freedom’s 50 State Initiative at their working headquarters Fort Gansevoort, NY. The exhibition explored themes of social activism, racial taxonomy, and political factionalism through large-scale sculpture and installations activated by viewer participation. Each of Crown’s works confronts the trajectory of our legacy and challenges us to reconsider. 

Included in the exhibition, a number of works explore the historical idea of the “blackball” often used by a club or authoritative body to register a negative vote against a person, existing as a symbol of faceless rejection.  The exhibition invites viewers to consider their responsibility for and implication in systems of oppression. Working with symbols that have been laden with negative, divisive meaning throughout history, Crown recontextualizes and seeks to invert images we take for granted. 

In keeping with For Freedom’s spirit of engagement, the central work of the exhibition invited viewers to reflect on what they stand FOR in this moment, rather than a divisive vote against, and to add their voice to the exhibition. Here, Crown inverts the historical use of a black ball to cast a negative vote and instead accumulates ideas of the future that we are FOR. Gallery visitors penned their own supportive statements on these black balls and then dropped them into an open atrium from the roof of Fort Gansevoort into the gallery’s interior space. The performative gesture challenges us to take a stand and speak up. 

Created at various scales, Crown also transformed sports balls to upend the historical meaning. Works on display included Crown’s ENtitleist, an enlarged, 3D-milled, alabaster golf ball, made imperfect through natural aberrations in 3D scanning and by the material’s irregular and fragile disposition. By purposefully showing these scars and cracks, the artist highlights the injury and pain of being excluded by others. In Crown’s words “in a binary system of 1s and 0s… we are all 1s.”

Full Press Release Here

I am FOR interactive installation, 2018

Participant dropping a ball with message into I am FOR installation, 2018

NOT, 2018 on display at For Freedoms HQ in NYC

Installation view of I am FOR at For Freedoms HQ in NYC, 2018

ENtitleist (alabaster), 2017

ENtitleist (suspended), 2018

Installation view ENtitleist (alabaster) and ENtitleist (1)  2018

ALPHABRAVO (white sky), 2018

detail ALPHABRAVO (white sky), 2017

ALPHABRAVO (night sky), 2017

NOT (mirror), 2018

Humble Hubris: Don’t know what you got (till its gone), 2013

kinematic.earth, 2018

Humble Hubris: Don’t know what you got (till its gone)(bench), 2018

Paula Crown and Hank Willis Thomas observe ENtitleist (1), 2018

Paula Crown, Hank Willis Thomas, Eric Gottesman, and the For Freedoms & Fort Gansevoort teams

ENtitleist (alabaster), 2018

Paula Crown tosses the first black ball into the atrium at For Freedoms HQ in NYC

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