DOINews: NPS-Biscayne National Park: Art Quilt Exhibit Highlights Impacts of Climate Change

Last edited 09/05/2019

Brewer - Wings-450
"Wings of Fire" by Melani Brewer is one of the 26-quilt exhibition at Biscayne National Park. See more photos here.

An exhibition of 26 art quilts highlighting the impacts of climate change, pollution and other anthropogenic impacts to national parks recently opened at Biscayne National Park.

"Piecing Together a Changing Planet" is a collaboration between the park and Studio Art Quilt Associates, a 3,000-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 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, the 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."

When the show closes at Biscayne at the end of February, it will move on to nine other NPS and NPS partner venues across the country for the two years leading up to and through the NPS centennial.

The national tour of "Piecing Together a Changing Planet"is made possible by Studio Art Quilt Associates 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.

Submitted by: Gary A. Bremen, park ranger, NPS

Jan. 12, 2015

Related Links:

The Morning Report
Bisscayne National Park

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