Monarch butterfly-inspired art on show at UAB Solar House

Art students from UAB partnered with art students from Hewitt-Trussville, Woodlawn and Mortimer Jordan high schools to create the works, which reflect on the monarch butterfly’s migration.

Per longstanding UAB protocol, members of the media must first receive approval from and/or be escorted by UAB University Relations to be on UAB property, including inside UAB buildings and outdoor campus property (e.g., Campus Green, parking decks).

migrations.3Works of art inspired by monarch butterfly migrations are on view at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Solar House through Dec. 15.

UAB students from the College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Art and Art History partnered with more than 90 art students from Hewitt-Trussville, Woodlawn and Mortimer Jordan high schools. Together the students illustrated and reflected upon the study of monarch butterfly migration.  

The “I_Butterfly” exhibition at UAB is a contribution to a nationwide, free-form bicycle festival, I-Butterfly, designed to promote monarch butterfly restoration. Though the idea started with the bicycle festival, people are invited to participate in whatever way they like. That inspired UAB’s Doug Barrett, associate professor of graphic design, and Douglas Baulos, associate professor of drawing and bookmaking, to get students in the department’s graphic design studio, BLOOM Studio, involved. The project is part of two UAB courses they teach, “Logo, Brand and Identity” taught by Barrett and book arts taught by Baulos. 

This exhibition is presented at the UAB Solar House in partnership with UAB Sustainability. Showings are offered by appointment from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday through Dec. 15. Make an appointment online to view the exhibition.

“BLOOM Studio is actively engaged in illuminating themes of ecology and social justice, and we are always thrilled to partner with them at UAB Sustainability,” said Bambi Ingram, Sustainability manager. “The collaboration with artist and filmmaker Cory McAbee’s I_Butterfly project started with students’ planting a monarch butterfly habitat on campus, and we have seen numerous monarchs this month as a result. This show is a beautiful reflection of the extraordinary journey the monarchs make, and we hope it will encourage others to learn and grow their own gardens.”

The monarch butterflies of the Americas are a unique and fascinating species, according to the I_Butterfly festival founders. Each year, monarch butterflies migrate from Canada through the United States to Mexico. In one of Earth’s great migrations, a single monarch butterfly will travel thousands of miles to their overwintering locations in central Mexico. In the spring, they will migrate from Mexico back to Canada.

Click here to make an appointment to view the I_Butterfly art exhibit.


Monarchs lay their eggs on native milkweed, and glyphosate — an herbicide often applied to agricultural fields to eliminate weeds — is lethal to milkweed. Without milkweed, the monarch butterflies cannot reproduce. Monarch butterflies contribute to the health and sustainability of our planet by pollinating a vast variety of wildflowers.

The festival features self-guided bicycle tours that follow the monarch butterfly’s paths during the summer and fall migration season. The three paths are the East Coast route stretching from Maine to Florida, the mid-America routes from Canada to Mexico, and the West Coast route from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean.