'Can't You Sea?'

Alejandro Duran’s piece above is one of many featured in the “Can’t You Sea?” exhibit, on display this summer at the Myrtle Beach Art Museum.

Summer programing for children and adults at the Myrtle Beach Art Museum is entertaining, educational and important.

‘Can’t You Sea/Ocean Plastic Artifacts’ is an exhibition highlighting plastic waste and its subsequent pollution of the earth’s oceans, and is as visually compelling as it is informative.

The exhibit opened June 15 and runs until Sept. 8.

Children’s art camps, divided into two age groups, are inspired by the exhibit, and will teach children as young as 5-years-old how even they can help with the plastic pollution problem.

And the Adult Lecture Series - Planet or Plastic? - brings in speakers who suggest actual solutions to the increasing problem.

The Franklin G. Burroughs – Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum is at 3100 S. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach.

Closed Mondays, it’s open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

The website is www.myrtlebeachartmuseum.org and the phone number is 843-238-2510.

Admission to the museum is free, but donations are welcome.

Can’t You Sea/Ocean Plastic ARTifacts

Art made from discarded plastic? Indeed, and with a purpose.

“The exhibit is comprised of the work of six artists who are also activists who clean our oceans and beaches and use the plastic they find to create artwork,” said Tracey Roode, education and outreach coordinator at the museum.

“Plastic waste and its subsequent pollution of the earth’s oceans has drawn increasing attention in recent years,” said the museum’s executive director, Patricia Goodwin.

She said the ocean contains an estimated 150 million tons of plastic with 8 million tons added each year, which is equivalent to a garbage truck load every minute.

“Plastic ocean pollution injures and kills marine life, spreads toxins, and poses a potential threat to human health.

“This global environmental issue has been dramatically elevated over the past three years, and the Art Museum is proud to become a part of the conversation by bringing ocean plastic pollution awareness to Myrtle Beach and its summertime visitors,” she said.

The six artist/activists are Dianna Cohen, Alejandro Duran, Sayaka Ganz, Pam Longobardi, Aurora Robson and Kirkland Smith.

According to a press release supplied by the Art Museum, Dianna Cohen, who is based in Los Angeles, California, is the CEO and co-founder of Plastic Pollution Coalition who uses plastic bags as her primary material.

Alejandro Duran arranges the plastic debris he finds washed up on Mexico’s Caribbean coast into colorful, fantastical landscapes that he then photographs, the press release said.

Sayaka Ganz, a Japanese artist, calls her style 3D Impressionism, and creates marine sculptures with reclaimed plastic.

Atlanta, Georgia-based Pam Longobardi is the creator of the Drifter’s Project. Alone or with communities, she has picked up plastic from beaches all over the world, removing thousands of pounds.

She then re-arranges it “within the cultural context through her art, which ranges in media from painting and photography to sculpture and installation,” the press release said.

Aurora Robson is a multi-media artist known primarily for her abstract sculptural work made from discarded plastic.

“She found Project Vortex, an international collective of artists, designers and architects who also work with plastic debris in an effort to inspire others to rethink and reinvent plastic waste in innovative ways that promote creative stewardship of our global waterways,” the press release said.

And South Carolina native Kirkland Smith creates large-scale assemblages with discarded materials she collects.

“We look on this exhibition to raise awareness and to also be part of the global dialogue about the environment and health impacts of plastic ocean pollution, especially as it impacts our coastal community directly,” Roode said.

Art Museum Curator Liz Miller added, “Art is powerful. It has the ability to communicate important social, political and environmental issues in a way that is loud and unyielding in its resolve, and at the same time playful and beautiful in its approach.”

Kidsart Summer Camps

In conjunction with the ‘Can’t You Sea’ exhibition, Kidsart Summer Camp for ages 5-7 will hold its July session, The Upcycle of Life, July 16-18 from 1-4 p.m.

Children will tour the ‘Can’t You Sea’ exhibit and will work with recycled material, upcycling them into functional masterpieces inspired by nature.

For ages 8-12, Art in Action’s July session will be July 23-25, also from 1-4 p.m.

The participants will be encouraged to express powerful messages through their own art using plastic reclaimed from the ocean.

These sessions, which include daily instruction, supplies and a snack, are $50 for members and $60 for non-members.

“The children are our future, and we need to reach out to them at a young age to show them that these are issues that will affect them in the future, and that there are creative solutions we can come up with,” Roode said.

She said the children will be encouraged to help in their community through beach clean-ups.

And, in addition to the camps, every Saturday in July and August, children can visit the Art Museum’s second-floor studio between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. to work on an art project inspired by ‘Can’t You Sea.’

Those projects include making planters out of discarded plastic bottles and print making, also using discarded plastic.

The Saturday sessions are $3.

Lecture Series

A ‘Planet or Plastic? Lecture Series,’ also in conjunction with the ‘Can’t You Sea’ exhibit, will be held on Wednesdays in June, July and August and on one Sunday in September.

‘Planet or Plastic?’ lectures will be held at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront, in the Dunes Board Room Building on Springmaid Boulevard.  Parking will be available in front of the Dunes Board Room Building, along Springmaid Boulevard, in the main hotel parking lot or in the parking garages.  A map is available on the Art Museum’s website. 

Karen Olson, who retired last year after 18 years as special projects coordinator with the Art Museum, said participants will be “speakers of national notoriety as well as people in our own area who are active in solving the problem of plastic pollution.”

On Wednesday, June 26, author of “Plastic: A Toxic Love Story” Susan Freinkel will be the museum’s guest.

“When you read articles on plastic pollution, she is often quoted, and we’re thrilled that she will be opening our series,” Olson said about Freinkel.

Wednesday, July 10 will offer a panel discussion, “Aware and Active: Local Leaders in Looking for Plastic Solutions.”

“The local panel talks about local activism. They are people in our communities who are voluntarily engaged in addressing plastic pollution, and hopefully inspire all of us to take positive steps toward solutions,” said Olson.

Wednesday, July 24, founder and former executive director of the Coastal Conservation League and author of “A Wholly Admirable Thing” Dana Beach will be the guest lecturer. Beach has been, Olson said, active for more than 25 years preserving our beaches.

Wednesday, Aug. 7 will bring activist and author of “Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too” author Beth Terry from Maryland. Terry will be available to sign her book at the lecture.

Wednesday, Aug. 21, Linda Booker who is the director and producer of a documentary, “Straws,” which deals specifically with the issue of one-time use plastic straws, will present the short film and host a discussion.

Wednesday, Aug. 28 will be another panel discussion, this one titled “Working to Make A Difference,” with the panel consisting of local professionals affiliated with area universities and institutions studying ocean health.

And on Sunday, Sept. 8, Pam Longobardi, a professor of art at Georgia State University, founder of the Drifters Project and one of the exhibiting artists, will be the guest lecturer.

“Our summer exhibits are about more than just going to the museum and looking at the artwork; we strive to create an immersive and lasting experience that has the possibility of engaging viewers beyond the museum walls,” Olson said.

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I'm the assistant editor of the Carolina Forest Chronicle. I write news and business features. Have a great story idea? Please call me at 843-602-9306.

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