A few years ago I was offered a solo exhibition (INOPIA) by Jessica Turtle with the Natural Heritage Project.
It was a show that was meant to shine a light on the endangered species that exist in
Minnesota and Wisconsin. That show changed my life.
The research I did in preparation opened my eyes and shifted the focus of my art dramatically. Ever since then, my work has focused on the natural world,
ecosystems, climate vulnerability, and the beauty of the planet we inhabit.

In my work, I try to highlight the precious and beautiful qualities of the natural world and encourage curiosity.
I create art because I believe it has the ability to bridge gaps and start conversations that lead to growth and change.

My dream is that I will be able to travel to fragile environments, so that I can capture and communicate the realities of these (sacred/precious) places.
This work- this dream- it is what I feel deep down in my core...
This is the work I am meant to do.

Now, this dream is starting to come true.

On March 25th I found out that I had been accepted into an international artist residency in the Arctic Circle, in June of 2020!
I will be part of a team of 28 scientists and artists, doing collaborative research and personal work on a Barquentine vessel in the Arctic Ocean for three weeks.
Everyone on board has a passion for the environment, and is deeply concerned with the way our planet is changing.
The vision for this residency is that, by working together, artists and scientists can help translate the conditions of this vulnerable environment to the rest of the world.

It will be a truly transformative expedition.

The Arctic is one of the most fragile environments on our planet.
It is rapidly changing and the effects are visible.
During my expedition, animals will be migrating to the region and vegetation will start to bloom.
There will be 24 hours of daylight, and we will have the opportunity to go on guided expeditions to various research stations, glaciers, and islands to study and work.

Being chosen for this expedition is an enormous honor.
Hundreds of applicants from all around the world seek to win a spot on this voyage, and each year only 28 make it.

This trip is heavily subsidized, but not free.
So, in order to make it possible, I am humbly asking for your help.
I am inviting you to consider making this trip possible through the gift of financial support.

To learn more about the cost break-downs please visit my GOFUNDME Page.

By supporting this trip, you are making a dream possible, and empowering me to do the work that I believe I am meant to do.
Thank you for your support, and thank you for allowing me to live out my hope of seeing, documenting, and protecting the beautiful, fragile world we live in.

To learn more about the Arctic Circle Residency organization click the button below.



A solo exhibition about symbiotic relationships in the natural world.

Pen and Marker on Paper

by Sarah Nelson 


symbiotic adjective

sym·bi·ot·ic | \ ˌsim-bē-ˈä-tik

: relating to or marked by symbiosis:

a : characterized by, living in, or being a close physical association (as in mutualism or commensalism) between two or more dissimilar organisms

b : characterized by or being a close, cooperative, or interdependent relationship

  • Miriam Webster

Good For You is a body of work highlighting the unexpected symbiotic relationships found in nature.

As an artist, I am continually drawn to the mysterious aspects of our natural world. 

I seek to understand our natural environments better, and to share these beautiful realities with others. 

It seems that there are infinite lessons to be learned from the way that chemicals, bacteria, species, and ecosystems, interact. 

In an era that feels tumultuous and fractured, I have found comfort in the natural and beneficial relationships between species in all types of environments. It seems that if these species can empower one another, we as humans should learn to peacefully engage with one another as well.  

All three types of symbiosis (mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism) can be found in human relationships, and in our relationship with nature. 

This show focuses on mutualism, where both entities are benefiting equally. 

I have fused two personal artistic styles, allowing familiar creatures to be seen in a new way. 

I seek to demonstrate the seen and unseen efforts and benefits that come from working interdependently with the planet and one another.  

My hope is that humanity will learn to be in a symbiotic relationship with our planet. Learning more about our natural world allows us to know and love the incredible earth we have more deeply, and care for it more fully.

There are three different types of symbiotic relationships: 

Mutualism: both species benefit equally

Commensalism: one benefits more than the other but no harm is done

Parasitism: one gains while the other suffers. 

Earth Week 2019 // The Great Collaboration

For Earth Week 2019, I had the honor of teaming up with Metro Transit, and the University of St Thomas’ SCP Arts, Department of Justice and Peace Studies, and the College of Arts and Science’s SOLV Initiative!

Together we have made an interior and exterior train wrap possible.

It will be installed and on display running on the Green Line from April 21st-27th.

Illustrator and Art Director: Sarah Nelson (Artist, and SCP Art’s Artist-In-Residence)

Layout: Elissa Erickson (Metro Transit)

Coordinators of Partnerships and Logistics: Kelly Morrell (Metro Transit) and Maria Dahmus (Director of SCP Arts at the University of St. Thomas)

Investors: Metro Transit, SOLV Initiative, and SCP Arts


In partnership with SCP Arts and the Department of Justice and Peace Studies’ Leadership for Social Justice course at the University of St Thomas, Metro Transit collaborated with students to collect the rich stories of transit riders. These stories have been published in their book, Transit Transformations.

Students worked on the book cover art with SCP Artist- In- Residence Sarah Nelson. They felt the life cycle of the monarch butterfly was the best metaphor for the transformative effect public transport can have on communities.


In partnership with Metro Transit, SCP Arts, and the College of Arts and Sciences SOLV Initiative, at the University of St Thomas, local artist Sarah Nelson created an Earth Day Celebration Illustration.

The interior depicts Minnesota animals enjoying the outdoors and our wonderful cities. It is meant to remind us of our relationship to our natural environment and to inspire joy. It is detailed. It is fun.

The interior illustrations transition between the four seasons and through a full day cycle.

Golden || Ephratha Gallery



A solo exhibition celebrating pollinators and their fauna.

This series is focused primarily on native pollinators, created with colored pencil, pen and

marker on navy blue paper.

The color blue is widely considered to symbolize wisdom, intelligence, faith, and truth. Some

even say heaven.

Throughout art history, artists find themselves inexplicably drawn to this color, like Yves Klein,

who held it akin to a higher power.

Blue is proven to provide a calming effect, and also represents strength and power in corporate

and political spheres.

I am fascinated by pollinators because they are not what you expect. They are not only bees,

but beetles, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats. They may be small, but our reliance

on them is foundational.

They are intricate, intelligent, organized, and beautiful.

In recent years however they have begun to decline in population. They are vanishing.

These works are meant to present the beautiful and complex world of pollination in a new light.

They are placed on a color that is considered sacred and true. They do not fill the page. They

are off center, natural. Most of these illustrations are uncomfortably empty, leaving the subject

featured yet isolated.

These small creatures are vital. Throughout ancient religion and mythology they are symbolic of

life and death. They are golden. They are a source of life for all species. It is time to celebrate


It is time to value them.

It is time to actively protect them.

We will be better for it. The world will be better for it.

Other Facts:

Pollinators are vital to both corporate America and to every living individual. Over 30% of the

world’s food is dependent on pollinators. It is often said that every 3rd and 4th bite you eat, is

made possible by a pollinator. Yet, they are disappearing. They are threatened by pests,

fertilizer toxins, pesticides, urban and suburban sprawl, and extreme monocropping.

They are vital to our food source. They create and sustain employment in the agricultural

sector. They also create the food that feeds livestock and other domestic animals.

What can you do that makes a difference?

- Set out insect-accessible sugar water around your yard and home for pollinators to ‘refuel’

as they travel from plant to plant.

- As much as possible, buy from local, organic farmers.

- Plant diverse native flowers in your gardens and yards, and do not use chemical fertilizers.

- Speak to your local government officials, and ask them to actively work to protect


- Spread the word.

Good for You // Symbiotic Relationships


Good For You

Upcoming Solo Exhibition 2019

Good For You // Symbiotic Relationships

Symbiotic: adjective having an interdependent relationship

Symbiotic relationships exist in every major ecosystem in nature. Predators and pray, crustaceans and fish, birds and mammals, find a way to live in peace and interdependency. In a time where there is so much conflict, where reasons to not get along abound, these symbiotic relationships fascinate me. They could be violent but choose to be mutually beneficial. Ones that look dangerous but are in reality an incredible display of peace and life.

These relationships - to me are banners of peace and complexity made simpler in coexistence.

This is a part of a body of work for an exhibition in March 2019. More info to come.


pen and marker.