Art and the Environment

Feb 26 – Jun 12 2011
Main Gallery

Exhibit Reception
Friday, March 4, 2011
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.


Environmental art emerged in the 1960s as a movement to facilitate a sustainable balance between human nature and the natural world. These artists often employed a range of art forms and worked collaboratively with specialists from scientific communities to interpret human and social behaviors and their impact on the environment. Currents: Art and the Environment addresses such environmental and ecological concerns as climate change, soil, water and air quality and the impact occurring with the depletion and degradation of these resources. Featured are models, sculptures, photos, video and prints by artists and organizations whose work draws attention to local, national and international ecosystems. Projects by organizations working to clean up the environment include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Canary Project, Double Exposure and the Learning Barge, a collaboration between Crisman & Petrus Architects and the Elizabeth River Project.

Currents 2The Learning Barge was developed to clean up the Elizabeth River, one of the most contaminated estuaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Phoebe Crisman of Crisman & Petrus Architects took the project to the University of Virginia School of Architecture where multi-disciplinary teams of UVA students and faculty researched, designed and fabricated the project into the Learning Barge, a platform where citizens could learn about the processes of river sediment remediation and tidal wetland restoration in order to create sustainable human and ecological systems. Photos and models of the project will be featured along with the Learning Barge, which will be available for visitation on weekends from March 5-13 at High Street Landing. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation will also feature photos that capture both the pristine beauty and problems that threaten the Chesapeake Bay.

Photographs by Susannah Saylor, co-founder of the Canary Project highlight the impact of climate change studied by scientists around the world. David Arnold, a free-lance photo-journalist from the Boston Globe pairs his photos with those by Brad Washburn taken in the early – mid 1900s to reveal how dramatically the climate has changed over time.

Maya Lin, creator of the Vietnam Memorial has devoted her final memorial project to creating digital media that raises awareness of losses in biodiversity, habitats and species. Kim Abeles draws attention to the air we breathe in a series entitled Smog Collectors where she literally creates a footprint from the sky. From a painting by Anne Iott to living sculpture by Michele Brody, sculptures of natural materials by Brent Crothers and Steven Siegel and poignant glass work by Fred Wilson, the exhibit offers work that creates a physical poetry about our relationship with the natural world.

Lessons from the River

The Art of Jack and Judy Witt

Mar 4 – May 22, 2011
Entrance Galleries

Exhibit Reception
Friday, March 4, 2011
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Lessons From the RiverFor Jack and Judy Witt, the river becomes a source for renewal, introspection and creativity that provided a deeper bond in their creative visions. Each year, they return to slow down, and absorb their surroundings in order to reconnect with and learn from the natural world. Inspired by these visits, they have created sculpture, poetry and watercolors that resonate with the deep hues and tonalities of the forest. Hung in proximity to Jack’s bronzes, they form links between the natural and imaginary world. Judy describes, River life is change and growth, a process of tearing down and recreating, a reminder that as an artist I am a part of that transformative power.

Jack Witt received a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University and has continued to work in three dimensional art for nearly thirty five years. Judy graduated with Bachelor of Arts from Longwood University and continued graduate work at Old Dominion University. Both of their work has been featured in numerous exhibits and found in public and private collections.

Choosing Sides

Historic Performance and Activities

Apr 2, 2011

What was the political atmosphere in Portsmouth like during April 1861? What was on the minds of Portsmouth citizens? What was the discussion in the streets in the days and weeks leading up to the Civil War? These questions and many more will be explored in Choosing Sides, an exciting historical re-enactment.

Period music and games will be featured throughout the afternoon as actors portraying Portsmouth citizens in 1861 take to their soap-boxes, addressing crowds and arguing with one another over why Virginia should or should not secede from the Union.
Free and open to the public

400 High Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704 · 757-393-8543
Mailing Address: 521 Middle Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704
The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, housed in the 1846 Courthouse, is devoted to offering quality educational, cultural and aesthetic experiences in the arts through rotating visual art exhibits, lectures, classes and performances.

Copyright 2017 City of Portsmouth, VA
website by Arengee