What comes to mind when you think of a wastewater treatment plant? I would bet it’s not a LEED Platinum rated building housing a science center and award-winning education programs. The LOTT Clean Water Alliance in downtown Olympia is pretty unique, and is recognized internationally as a utility of the future. This means we pioneer innovative technologies and cutting-edge practices, with a focus on resource recovery, efficiency, sustainability, and community engagement.
This spring, I partnered with LOTT Clean Water Alliance to create an engaging and educational art piece about water for the WET Science Center. I teamed up with LOTT and more than 1,200 Thurston County students and adults to create the new piece titled “One Water – The Infinite Journey” that debuted as part of Spring Arts Walk on April 22 at LOTT’s WET Science Center. The result of this project is not just an art installation; it is a story of water.
Located in the wetlands exhibit area at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, this installation creates the illusion of being inside of a wetland while interpreting the important function of wetlands and the necessity to limit the use of plastic bottles. Visitors are immersed in this beautiful and solution-based piece in a setting where they can view and connect to the animals that are affected by this issue. The experience leaves them more open to taking tangible action to conserve wetlands and reduce their use of plastic bottles.
As part of my Artist Residency at Sherman Elementary School, in Tacoma, we created this Student Collaborative Art Project. During the project, students created hundreds of shimmering Pacific herring from up-cycled Capri-sun pouches. The school of herring is suspended in the shape of two harbor porpoises. Stabilized by student created clay shells that are native to the region, this artwork looks closely at the relationship of plastics and how we impact the earth.
The Plastic Whale is a 32-foot long gray whale made of plastic bags and other plastic trash. It was created during the spring of 2013 by over 900 youth and adults in Thurston County as part of an education and outreach project about plastic bags. The project engages the public in learning about plastics in our environment in a creative way. They learn about options to reduce the use of plastic bags in our county.
When I think about People's Uprisings, I always see hands. Hands raised in solidarity. Hands raised in defiance. These hands defy those that would oppress them. They say "Yes! I am alive and you cannot hold me down!" But it can be difficult to raise our hands. We need to find our voice - find our power - and unlock it. For some, they have never had a voice and don't even know where to begin. We must move through many layers of fear, of doubt and uncertainty. We need our friends to stand with us. The power of these movements is not so much in the individual as it is in the collective force of the masses coming together for a common goal.
I have been struggling with the content of the Peace Dove Project. What is it really about? The doves are merely canvases for images that will portray the content of this project. It has always been about giving voice to the voiceless and about bringing struggles to the forefront of our experience. About bringing about positive change with art. But does it address a certain struggle? A certain people or place?
The other day I was papering one of my Peace Doves while watching the news. Revolution is in the air. People are dying, and fighting for their rights, and loving, and peacefully protesting everywhere from Wisconsin to Bahrain, from Libya to Algeria. And I am sitting in my house, constructing a dove. People are dying for what they believe in and I am making a Peace Dove? There is something wrong with this picture.