HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA – A juried show of twenty-six art quilts created by 22 Florida artists will debut in Biscayne National Park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center Gallery on December 5, 2014. The show, titled Piecing Together a Changing Planet, highlights a few of the many ways that America's 401 National Parks are being impacted by climate change, water pollution, air pollution and other human-caused phenomena. On display through February 27, 2015, the show then moves on to 9 other National Parks and National Park partner venues as part of the celebration of the National Park Service's Centennial in 2016. The public is invited to meet with the artists responsible for the exhibit at a reception in their honor on Sunday, December 7, from 1-3 pm. The Gallery is located at 9700 SW 328 Street, 9 miles east of Homestead, Florida. The show is open daily from 9:00 to 5:00 through November 30, 2014. Admission is free.
The artworks were all created by members of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), a 3000-member national organization dedicated to promoting the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development, documentation, and publications. Far from utilitarian quilts traditionally used as bedcoverings, art quilts focus on aspects not only of stitching and piecing, but also of layering, "thread-painting"and graphic design. The resultant pieces are often literally and figuratively three-dimensional: showy pink ladyslipper orchids pop off the forested background, putting the viewer IN Great Smoky Mountains National Park;icy glaciers melt down into an ocean of bleached coral heads, tying two drastically different impacts of climate change together in one compelling piece.
Maya Schonenberger, the exhibit's curator, said that "the artists' goal was to help open people's eyes to the beauty of nature that surrounds them, and share their concern for its loss." Melani Brewer, one of the exhibiting artists, hopes that "our art will serve as a call to action to for viewers to take steps to protect our planet."
Meeting in Copenhagen in October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that the "warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen." Many of these observed changes are especially apparent in America's national parks. "Stories of how artists have played a crucial role in environmental protection are legion," said Gary Bremen, a park ranger who helped coordinate the exhibit. "The arts convey beauty, fragility and urgency in ways that touch the heart and soul, thus opening the mind as well."
The national tour of Piecing Together a Changing Planet is made possible by SAQA and Biscayne National Park, with financial support from the National Park Service's Climate Change Response Program, the South Florida National Parks Trust, Les Bouquinistes Book Club and an Anonymous Donor. The South Florida viewing is part of the park's Community Artists Program, started in 1997 as an outlet for the works of artists who are inspired by the beauty of Biscayne National Park. The program is made possible by the South Florida National Parks Trust through the generosity of Sedano's Supermarkets and the Miami-Dade County Division of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.
For more details about the exhibit, visit the show's website at www.NationalPark ArtExhibit.com, the park's website at www.nps.gov/bisc or contact park ranger Gary Bremen at 305-230-1144, x007. For regular updates from the park, "like" us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/BiscayneNPS , or follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/BiscayneNPS. For more information about Biscayne National Park, please visit the park website at www.nps.gov/bisc, or follow the park on Facebook at www.facebook.com/biscaynenps, or Twitter at www.twitter.com/biscaynenps.