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Art exhibit influences visitors to think about environmental cleanup

Posted at 8:01 AM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-10 08:18:11-04

NAPLES, Fla. — An art exhibit at the Baker Museum is making guests think twice about what’s happening in their environment.

It’s called ‘Ocean Gleaning’ by artist Pam Longobardi and its made from plastics found on beaches around the world.

"We’re not here alone and we’re not here to take everything.”

Along the sunny shores of Palm Pass Beach, you’ll find those enjoying its white sands. And less than a mile away at the Baker Museum a look at the reality of beach pollution.

“We have to clean up after ourselves," says Longobardi. "We have to think about the materiality that we produce and what happens to it, where it goes, and who it impacts.”

For Longobardi, findings along beaches are the inspiration for her work. Her latest exhibit could not come at a better time as clean-up efforts take over Southwest Florida beaches.

"No system in nature is based on wasting anything," she says. "That’s why we’re coming into his really problematic phase of human evolution, really, where we have to rethink our relationship to material things and the rest of the living world on the planet.”

It’s a harsh reality. One that can really only be realized when you take a look at Longobardi’s art.

“I always say it’s like a gut punch to then be drawn in by this beauty and then to realize the ugliness," says Courtney McNeil, museum director and chief curator. "The ugliness about humanity that this artwork embodies and sheds a really unflinching light on.”

McNeil says having the exhibit is changing the mindset of visitors… even some of its staff.

"In thinking about the types of programming I’d like to see at the museum, I feel that we are doing our best for the community when we’re presenting artwork that allows a broad swath of the community to come together and engage on a topic that is relevant to everybody and that possibly helps them to see the world around them in new ways.”

Just as Longobardi intended her work to do…

"They have the power to change things and they don’t have to go along with the status quo," she says. "It’s a powerful feeling when you understand that about yourself.”

'Ocean Gleaning' will be on display at the Baker Museum until July 24. You can learn more information about the exhibit, and Longobardi's work, online right here.