Beautiful Beasties Exhibit Invades Ybor City Campus Art Gallery
Beautiful Beasties features fantastical, dynamic sculptures made from recycled materials that represent the life cycles of nature’s smallest aquatic creatures phytoplankton and zooplankton. Frequently considered the base of the food chain, phytoplanktons also produce half of the planet’s oxygen supply. Much controversy has arisen among oceanographers who have observed that populations of microscopic flora and fauna have declined significantly in recent years due in large part to pollution and climate change. The motivation for this art exhibition is to bring attention to mankind’s role in this vital balance in our environment.
Community Stepping Stones (CSS) is a nonprofit, out-of-school learning center where visual arts are used as a pathway to help at-risk youth gain the academic, social, and job-preparatory skills necessary to become successful adults. In preparation for this exhibition, teen participants from Sulphur Springs received several months of classroom instruction and field expeditions led by Dr. Bridgette Froeschke, a microbiologist and oceanographer at USF’s Florida Center for Community Design & Research. The challenge came when students were asked to turn lab drawings into artistic interpretation. Under the guidance of CSS’ arts education staff, assisted by USF student mentors and community volunteers, teens were involved in creating a colorful, artistic interpretation of a magnified underwater panorama of life among microbial creatures.
This exhibition is sponsored by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, the Steel Recycling Institute and Kimmins Contracting Corporation. Beginning July 16, CSS will be opening a second environmental art exhibition two blocks away at the Children’s Board. “THINK eARTh” features an Enchanted Forest of “up-cycled creatures” created by 6-12 year old children at the Tampa Housing Authority. CSS will host its own “gallery hops” on July 11, 16 and 31. Learn more about CSS at www.communitysteppingstones.org.
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