Thursday, August 18, 2016

Kid Friendly Sea-Saving Art

Get to the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C. by September 5th if you can. You won't be sorry.

As an artist I am drawn to beauty and I am good at mimicking it. However, I have the most profound respect for those artists who create beautiful work and pull together diverse threads of universal themes...and in this case make it an excellent educational experience for kids. I love this work. I love the idea, the colors and the venue.

Parrotfish, Washed Ashore
Seventeen sculptures of marine life created by Washed have been on exhibit at the zoo since May 27, 2016 (and leaving September 5th). Washed Ashore is a nonprofit dedicated to creating an awareness of marine debris and plastic pollution through art. The sculptures on exhibit were created from plastic garbage that washed up on a 300 mile stretch of west coast beaches. Eighteen tons of debris was collected by thousands of volunteers. These volunteers not only clean the beaches of debris. The materials they collect are sorted and  turned into art.

Angela Haseltine Pozzi, lead artist and Washed Ashore executive director said, "The National Zoo—America's zoo—has given us a global platform to present our art to educate a world audience about how plastic pollution is posing a dangerous and perhaps catastrophic threat to the world's oceans and sea life." The artist is interviewed in a short video clip at the end of this post.

This gives you a good idea of what kinds of objects were used to make the Parrotfish. You can see the shovel handles and recognize a number of other familiar objects from around the house or that recent vacation at the beach. 

To emphasize the point, each of the animal sculptures has a label that identifies the animal and provides information about how they are affected by plastic waste. This is Sea More, the sea lion pup.

Visitors learn that sea lion pups are curious creatures. They can get caught up in fishing nets and be trapped until they grow larger and the net tightens around them. Some of the objects used to make the animal are identified with a challenge to find them on the sculpture. Can you find any of these on Sea More?

A detail from Sea More's label
As sobering as this message is, there is also advice about how to make things better. On this label visitors are advised to not purchase plastic objects with loops or rings or to cut them before they are disposed.

This jellyfish was one of my favorites. It hangs from the ceiling in the Visitor's Center. It is made primarily of beverage bottles.

This vivid blue really caught my eye. Marlin are very fast swimmers. They cover hundreds of miles in their migration patterns, much inundated with plastic pollution.This endangers their health and well being.

Marlin Washed Ashore
Kids loved putting their hands into the shark's mouth. Photos on the Zoo's Flicker account can be enlarged to get a better look at the objects used to make each sculpture.

Shark   Washed Ashore

Penguin  Washed Ashore

                                    PBS News clip

Kudos to lead artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi, Washed Ashore and all of the artists and volunteers.

Your Favorites
Do you know other examples of art that educates? Share your favorites with us. Your feedback on our projects is very valuable.

iArt4Kidz develops apps for preschool children. Visit our website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

You can find our apps here.
Duck Takes A Ride:An Art Story and ABC.DC:An Art Alphabet

Bees Buzz & Lions Roar: Animal Stories in English & Spanish

I Can Do That: A Kids World Art Game

1 comment: