1 Amherst Street
Lake George, NY 12845
Phone: (518) 668-2616
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Courthouse Gallery Snails & Trails exhibition: August 18 - 25.
Opening reception:  Saturday Aug. 18, 4 - 6 pm

Above: Paintings by Reet Das (left) and Ashely Haggerty (right).

Snails & Trails is an Art & Science collaboration with biologist Dr. Sam Bowser, underwater archeologist Joe Zarzynski, the Lake George Arts Project, and a team of artists including Reet Das, Ashley Haggerty, Sarah Haze, Chris Moran, Susan Nowogrodzki, Gina Occhiogrosso, and others. The project traces the trails of life -- from microbial, to animal, to human -- exploring how art and science can merge to create more sustainable living.  In addition to the works of participating artists, a collection of modern-day trash recovered from the lake by a team of scuba divers over the last 2 years will be on display. The trash has been sanitized, stamped, recorded and counted, and will be offered free to visitors of the exhibition as either art objects, or for proper disposal, recycling, or even re-use.
 

Snails and Trails Project Statement

Diving in the waters of Lake George, one is struck by the quantity of debris accumulating on the lake bottom. Cigarette butts and crushed beer cans; boat debris and party favors; golf balls and sunglasses; fishing line and plastic, plastic, plastic. This trail of human debris, spawned by accident or thoughtlessness, is a major theme of Snails and Trails.

Humans perceive the world with a range of senses, keenly attuned to our scale of terrestrial existence. But digging a little deeper, using microscopes, scuba equipment, or spacecraft, we can break through our limited scope and explore the impact of human activities at multiple spatial and temporal scales.

Snails and Trails is a visual response to organisms comprising lower levels of the food web that must navigate the human trail of debris in Lake George, leaving behind their own macro- and micro- trails. In this exhibition, we:

• document the trails made by snails and unicellular amoebae through pottery, painting, and photography;
• present a central installation piece to view the human trail through the microscopic “eyes” of a testate amoeba;
• question the environmental impact of plastic particulates;
• show videos that acknowledge the various temporal scales that surround us;
• Remember Carl Sagan’s response to the image of Earth captured by Voyager 1.

Together, these artworks remind us of our place in this slice of time – inhabitants of a tiny, idyllic blue dot slowly meandering through the inconceivable expanse of the universe.

Humans race along the water’s surface, oblivious to the presence of our submerged trash. Only at a snail’s pace do we understand its impact. As fortunate inhabitants of this “blue dot,” we have the responsibility to care for our future, and for that of our companions at all scales.
 

Writing Workshop with Naton Leslie:
"Finding the Stories Behind the Trail of Trash"
Aug. 25, 11 am, at Wiawaka Holiday House
FREE/Registration required: (518) 668-2616

As a popular tourist destination, Lake George has remained remarkably pure, but it has also suffered from people discarding things overboard: Everything from food packaging to personal items, and more. Each of these things made a journey to the bottom of the lake, and this workshop will aim to help writers discover those forgotten histories and stories. Brainstorming activities will result in free-writing exercises designed to trigger the stories behind lake-bottom detritus collected over the last two years by scuba divers. You will be as surprised at what you discover when you hitch your imagination to the items lost and discarded in this otherwise pristine body of water.

Author Naton Leslie has published well over three hundred poems, stories and essays in literary magazines and reviews over the last 25 years, including publications in widely read anthologies, such as The Best American Essays and McGraw-Hills' 75 Readings. He has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has published seven collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, and a narrative nonfiction book on second hand culture titled That Might Be Useful. Leslie earned his B.A. in English at Youngstown State University, M.A. and Ph.D. from Ohio University. He is a professor of English at Siena College, where he teaches creative writing.

Snails & Trails divers participated in the
Keep the Queen Lake George Clean Up Day on August 6, 2011
Above: Scuba divers collecting modern-day trash from Lake George, NY.

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