A few days ago,my two little girls were captivated by an extraordinary man with a gentle demeanor and a twinkle in his eye. This person was renowned underwater photographer Ernest H. Brooks II. As the girls and I watched a slideshow of his photographs of seals, kelp forests, and light shining through ocean depths, we listened to him relate the incredible importance of taking care of "Our Blue Planet". His words and his images put this intense feeling into simple, understandable terms. No wonder the seals are drawn to him.
This week, I was also moved by conversation with artist Dorothy Kerper Monnelly. She shares her intimate familiarity with the seasons of the salt marsh through her photographs, shot with a large format camera. I purchased her book, For My Daughters, which couples her nature photographs with the poetry of her mother, Dorothy Darling Kerper. I am looking forward to pondering these poems and images in the coming weeks.
Both artists' work is presented in the exhibit Fragile Waters, on display in the main gallery at Massillon Museum. Brooks's and Monnelly's photographs are woven into the flow of the exhibit alongside work by Ansel Adams. The exhibit is curated by Jeanne Falk Adams and is organized by Photokunst.
The educational display which complements the main gallery exhibit in Massillon Museum focuses on watersheds. This exhibit was a great source for me to accomplish this week's touch-nature challenge: "Read about the history of your local watershed". I learned about how watersheds nest within one another. I examined the intricate maps of our watershed, prepared for the museum exhibit by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. By comparing maps on display, I was able to find exactly where our family lives, where the creek close to our home flows into the Sandy River, and where the water goes from there.
Detail of one of the maps in the educational exhibit, created by Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District
I even got to help Heather Haden, Massillon Museum’s Education Coordinator, initiate the interactive EnviroScape for the first time at the Museum. Heather creates “rain” with her spray bottle, which in turn mobilizes several types of pollutants (represented by colored liquid) to enter streams and rivers. This interactive model demonstrates how different pollutants enter the water supply. The EnviroScape is on loan to Massillon Museum from Stark Parks.
Although as Event Coordinator I don’t generally have the opportunity to contribute to our exhibits, I was fortunate to be invited to write a text panel about the history of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. The text panel accompanies historic photographs of dam construction from the 1930s, and it is located in the 2nd floor gallery of the Massillon Museum.
So I guess I’d done my homework for this card before I drew it. The research for that text panel, along with viewing the lower level education displays have helped me just begin to understand the interactive complexity of how water moves through the land we inhabit.
I’ll leave you with a detail from a recent painting, a poem, and some sounds I recorded while learning about the watershed around my home.
detail, Reverberations, Oil on Canvas, 2014
Next week's challenge: "Install a low flow filter in one faucet in your home."