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NCHS Sociology Responds to The Canary in the Lake
Image: Peyton Carlock, Tornado Statistics: IL, 2021. SolarFast and mixed media on posterboard. Courtesy of the artist.
For The Canary in the Lake, Chicago-based artist Alice Hargrave addressed climate change-related loss of biodiversity and habitats, focusing particularly on birds and lakes. Her exhibition—which included photography, installation, video, audio, and sculpture—premiered The Conference of the Lakes, After Farid Attar, Hargrave’s collaboration with Dr. Catherine O’Reilly, professor of geology at Illinois State University. Hargrave and O’Reilly worked together to collect and revisualize climate-related data from freshwater lakes on all seven continents. Hargrave utilized these data to generate new patterns, which she combined with photographs, references to lake lore, and the surprisingly vast array of lake colors to create 20 self-described “lake portraits.”
Stefen Robinson, Tanya Scott, and Kendra Paitz developed a two-month project centered on Hargrave’s processes and themes. University Galleries staff members met virtually with Robinson’s sociology classes four times to conduct tours of Hargrave’s exhibition, discuss how to research environmental issues, demonstrate ways to find data, teach art-making workshops, brainstorm about students’ projects, discuss how exhibitions are created, and offer professional development about museum careers. Robinson mentored students as they analyzed their selected environmental issues through sociological lenses. Like Hargrave, the students conducted research and incorporated relevant data into their own artworks. University Galleries provided materials kits for the students—including dyes that develop color when exposed to sunlight, natural fabrics, transparency sheets, permanent markers, and safety goggles. The resulting exhibition features the students’ artworks and written project statements.
NCHS Sociology Responds to The Canary in the Lake is supported by the Town of Normal Harmon Arts Grant Program and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
- Monday-Thursday: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Friday: 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Saturday/Sunday: 12-4 p.m.