An IDEAL art show: Damariscotta’s Rising Tide Co-op has been on a roll of late with art shows in its cafe featuring art by local students, starting with the Great Salt Bay Community School exhibit that I wrote about in this column in January.
Currently, Rising Tide is offering a refreshing and interesting student exhibit consisting of colorful, artistic wall hangings made from plastic trash collected at the beach by students in Lincoln Academy’s IDEAL – Innovatively Designed Education for All Learners – program.
“Students who participate in IDEAL are learners who are part of the LA special education program and learn best outside the normal classroom … In addition to academic subjects and career and technical training, IDEAL students spend significant time on project-based learning initiatives to help them build connections to the community,” says the artist statement accompanying the exhibit.
Last fall, the students went to Pemaquid Beach as part of a six-week learning block focused on studying the impact of plastic waste on communities. There, they cleaned the beach, filling five large trash bags largely with single-use plastic items and cast-off garbage from lobster boats.
The current Rising Tide show is the end result of those students’ work ridding the beach of trash and fashioning it into eye-catching works of art.
Creating artwork from select pieces of garbage is simply “reusing once-used objects for a different purpose,” IDEAL student Syerra Holmstrom was quoted as saying in the artist statement. Holmstrom’s intriguing “Lost and Found” hangs on the cafe wall facing Main Street.
On the same wall are Jacob Lane’s “Sunshiny Day,” a large wall hanging that includes a pair of found sunglasses and a bright-yellow plastic sand shovel, and the cleverly titled “Cap Emergency,” a small piece by Jake Davis featuring a number of plastic bottle caps arranged on a piece of thrown-away board.
Janna Civittolo’s “Today’s Catch” is a striking piece consisting of an array of small pieces of plastic garbage “caught” in a piece of orange fishing net.
Overall, the LA IDEAL art show is one well worth checking out before it closes on Saturday, March 30 – both for its artistic value and for the fact that these students took the time to clean up a part of the local community’s landscape.
As the artist statement pointed out, “This project gave students a perspective on how the materials we use without a thought take a major toll on our environment. Their awareness of plastic continues to expand, and we hope this exhibition will cause you to pause and expand your awareness.”
Rising Tide Co-op is located at 323 Main St., Damariscotta.
(Christine LaPado-Breglia has written about the arts in both California and Maine. She is the recipient of two 2018 Critic’s Awards and a 2018 Local Columnist award from the Maine Press Association. Email her at email@example.com or write her a letter in care of The Lincoln County News, P.O. Box 36, Damariscotta, ME 04543.)