Monday, November 12, 2012

New York Aquarium Hit Hard by Sandy

Karsten Moran for The New York Times
The New York Aquarium in Brooklyn will be closed indefinitely because of the severe damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. Throughout the buildup to and the duration of the storm, I kept thinking of the Aquarium and wondering how they would manage to keep all 12,000 fish and marine mammals safe, especially the walruses who stole my heart last summer. Fortunately, the only victims were 150 koi carp who were outside in temporary holding tanks because their exhibit was being renovated. The staff worked tirelessly to ensure that all of the other fish and sea mammals survived the flooding and power outages.

In June, Art for Water was the visiting artist for the Aquarium's first art exhibition – Amaze-ing Water. Christine Badalamenti, Noel Greiner, and I spent 3 days working with hundreds of Aquarium visitors to create Wave of Words for the group art exhibit. We were stationed in the Ocean View room, a magnificent second-floor open-air setting overlooking the beach, the walrus tank, and surrounding the top of the main fish tank. What better place to write about water with the breeze carrying the smell of salt air? We lucked out with perfect weather and an enthusiastic crowd.

I can only wonder what the future might be for the New York Aquarium housed right along the historic coastline of Coney Island. Art for Water had the memorable experience of sharing its message and exploring the significance of the relationship between saltwater and freshwater with the visiting patrons and local community. Now it appears that relationship is ever more tenuous and important to consider as the ocean recedes and locals clean up after Sandy. Will there be a New York Aquarium on the boardwalk at Coney Island? What should the Aquarium do as Climate Change threatens to bring the tides even further ashore? We are grateful that Art for Water could participate in the first art exhibition at the New York Aquarium on the boardwalk of Coney Island, hopefully it will not be the last.

Click on the link above to see how you can help the New York Aquarium.

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