Rachel Simmons is an artist-educator who teaches foundations, printmaking and book arts at Rollins College, an innovative liberal arts institution founded in 1885 in Winter Park, Florida. She started teaching there in 2000 after earning her MFA in Painting & Drawing from Louisiana State University. She specializes in book arts & printmaking, and her studio practice is informed by both environmental activism and personal narratives. In Rachel’s socially engaged art projects, she asks community participants to think critically and creatively about our relationship with nature.
Endlessly curious about the natural world and our relationship with it, Rachel often collaborates with scholars from other academic disciplines and members of her community to create new work. Current collaborative projects include the environmental graphic narrative Future Bear with historian Julian Chambliss, and The Aesthetics of Scale (Iceland), with geographer Lee Lines. She has traveled to Antarctica, Iceland, Namibia, the Galapagos Islands and many of the US National Parks to research environmental issues pertaining to these projects.
Rachel’s work is included in the Environmental Design Library at Berkeley, The Richardson Library Special Collections at DePaul University, the Bainbridge Museum of Art, The Jacqueline Bradley and Clarence Otis, Jr. Collection and many others. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally at venues such as The American Association for the Advancement of Science, in Washington, D.C. and at the Gullkistan Residency for Creative People, in Laugarvatn, Iceland. Rachel’s recent body of work, The Language of Watching, explores the particularities of our human relationship with birds as a symbol of nature and invites participants to become collaborators through an ever-expanding collection of prints called FLOCK.