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Earth Illuminated

The Webb family brings Mother Earth to life through an immersive art experience

Article by Hannah Echols Grieser

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Parker Lifestyle

From the time we are born, the Earth sustains and supports us. Whether it seems like it or not, nature is in our favor. It is always working to achieve and maintain harmony that supports our needs. This delicate care has been attributed to a motherlike quality time and time again. In a month dedicated to mothers, you can visit an art exhibit all about Mother Earth—Earth Illuminated. Better yet, the exhibit was a collaborative effort by a mother, Heidi, and her daughters, Madeline and Mercedes (father Nate played an instrumental role, too).

Earth Illuminated is an accumulation of 14 years of work and several more years of forethought. In middle school, Heidi was part of a petition to return to reusable lunch trays when her school switched to Styrofoam. The passion was sparked both by an influential teacher and her grandmother. Her grandmother had a victory garden and instilled in her the ‘old way of doing things’ and appreciation for the environment into Heidi.

Nate and Heidi have been sculpting and creating art in different mediums as a husband-and-wife team since they got married. Their latest project is an immersive experience where the natural world and digital media merge to showcase the planet’s beauty from air, land, and sea in a 13,000 square foot space.

Heidi designed a lot of the exhibits (such as the larger-than-life ladybugs), and Nate brought them to life by modeling sculptures with recycled metals and steel from recycling plants. Mercedes creates paintings on a digital tablet that connects to a computer, and two of her designs, “Nature of Yin and Yang" and "Phone Home," are displayed in Earth Illuminated. She worked on the topiaries with her sister and created a coloring book as well.

Madeline worked on several exhibits, but her favorite is the umbrella photo wall because of what it expresses.

“It's meant to symbolize that no matter what happens on the outside, you can always find the light within,” she says.

Collaborating as a family proved to be challenging and rewarding for the Webb family. Mercedes was able to see new sides of each of her family members.

“I got to see my dad finally do the things he dreamed of without being told no or having to do them under someone else,” Mercedes says. “I was able to experience the beautiful creative side that my mom has and see the unique way my sister sees the world.”

Heidi was proud of her family’s ability to take on a challenge and persevere through the difficult parts.

“That's what art is: believing in the impossible. Then, you take what is possible and warp it in such a way that makes the impossible a reality.”

You can visit Earth Illuminated through the end of 2021 at the Denver Pavilions on Denver's 16th Street Mall Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at earthilluminated.com.

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