Flotsam, detail
Flotsam, detail

Michelle Lougee's innovative mash-up of tapestry and mosaic is composed of hundreds of small plastic debris. Up close, viewers can examine the qualities of each item, while from a distance the work reads as a vibrant abstract pattern.

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Flotsam, 2021
Flotsam, 2021

This photo gives a sense of scale of Flotsam as installed in Michelle Lougee's exhibition at the Boston Sculptor's Gallery in 2021.

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Free Film Screening
Free Film Screening

Join us for a free screening of Robin Frohardt's unique film, which uses humor, evocative puppets, and inventive settings to illuminate the problem with plastic -- it never goes away!

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Powder Magazine
Powder Magazine

The historic 1818 Powder Magazine building has been restored and is fully ADA accessible. Mass Audubon has signed a five year contract to establish it's newest urban nature center, bringing exciting new programming to Magazine Beach Park.

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IN CAMBRIDGE THIS SPRING:
MAGAZINE BEACH COMMUNITY TAPESTRY WITH MICHELLE LOUGEE say NO to single use plastic and YES to art, community & nature

Cecily Miller and Michelle Lougee are teaming up to create a new project for Magazine Beach Park in Cambridge.  Taking inspiration from FLOTSAM (pictured, left) -- Michelle's 2021 mash-up of tapestry and mosaic made of post-consumer waste -- we aim to create a new community-based work warning of the environmental dangers of single-use plastic. 

The finished tapestry will hang in Mass Audubon's new Nature Center in the historic 1818 granite Powder Magazine which gives the park its name.

We both live in the Cambridgeport/Riverside area and look forward to getting to know our neighbors better through this participatory project.  Everyone is invited to get involved!  Donate plastics collected at home or on a walk along the Charles River. Come to a free workshop and make part of the tapestry!

Take a look at our PLASTIC COLLECTION GUIDE. We'll have a donation box at Mass Audubon's Powder Magazine building.

TO GET INVOLVED, SIGN UP HERE

DONATE TO OUR GOFUNDME CAMPAIGN

UPCOMING TALKS & WORKSHOPS

Thursday May 19, 7-9 pm: Workshop

hosted by Gallery 263 (263 Pearl Street, Cambridge)

Learn more and work hands-on!  REGISTER

Sunday May 22, 1-4 pm: Workshop

hosted by Gallery 263 (263 Pearl Street, Cambridge)

Learn more and work hands-on! Stay the whole time or just stop by for an hour.  REGISTER

June: Drop In Crafting Sessions

at the Powder Magazine

We'll work outside if the weather is good, inside if it's rainy

RSVP so we know you are coming! RSVP

Tuesdays, 4 to 6 pm: June 7, 14 and 21

Sundays, 1 to 4 pm: June 5 and 12

OUR PARTNERS

Many thanks to community partners Magazine Beach Partners, Mass Audubon, Community Art Center's Teen Public Artists, Charles River Conservancy, and the Cambridge Community Center  who are helping to bring a spark of an idea to life!

BACKGROUND

Cecily and Michelle first worked together in Arlington, MA where Cecily is the Public Art Curator for the Arlington Commission for Arts & Culture. During Michelle's Artist-in-Residence project, she enlisted 100+ community volunteers to collect thousands of plastic bags and transform them into sculpture.  Entitled PERSISTENCE, this large-scale public artwork is currently on view along the Minuteman Bikeway near Spy Pond in Arlington, It carries a message about the dangers of microplastics. Plastic never goes away; it just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces until it is eaten by creatures who mistake it for food or inhaled by creatures who mistake it for clean air – including humans. The sculptural forms were inspired by the microorganisms that plastic impersonates as it pervades our world.

Michelle has been concerned about ocean plastic pollution since learning about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch 15 years ago and began calling attention to the impact of single use plastic through her varied sculpture and installation work.  Art New England had this to say about a recent exhibit:

"Lougee is a magician who transforms discarded materials into extraordinary aesthetic comments on the ecological disasters we're courting. Her captivating forms are inspired by ocean species that are hundreds of millions of years old, more ancient than humans, which are now threatened with extinction by plastic waste...we're reminded of the daily choices we make. Let's hope that our future progeny will not read 'Once upon a time...humans failed to protect...' It all depends on the choices we make." -- B. Amore

Learn more about Michelle's work at mlougee.com and follow her on insta: @michellelougee

SYSTEMIC CHANGE

We know that individual choices are important, but we all need to work together to demand systemic change.  With recycling rates as low as 6%, and impossible for so many plastic materials, we need radical action, including bans on single use plastic wherever possible. Plastic is creeping into everything -- our clothes, our furniture, construction materials, our bodies.  Microplastics are in our food, our water, the air we breathe.  The fossil fuel industry is powerful, and plastic is their Plan B as we work to transition to renewable energy sources.  We hope to weave options for action through our project, and welcome your suggestions and participation!  In the meantime, there is great material at BEYOND PLASTICS and work is underway to start a local chapter.

OUR FUNDERS

We received a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council which has gotten us started!  We are also still raising matching money from our community through tax-deductible individual contributions via a GoFundMe Campaign. MORE INFO ON HOW YOU CAN HELP

PAST EVENTS

April 23, 1-4: Mass Audubon Open House at Magazine Beach

Come and meet us!

May 3, 7-9 pm: Artist Talk & Mini Workshop

hosted by Gallery 263 (263 Pearl Street)

Learn more and work hands-on! Guest speaker: Eileen Ryan on the plastic crisis and what you can do.  REGISTER

May 10, 7-8:30 pm: Free Film Screening

Watch Robin Frohardt's magical film using humor, evocative puppets, and inventive staging to follow a plastic water bottle into a dystopian future (after "the Robot Wars") where it is carefully excavated and misinterpreted to be a precious artifact from a vanished civilization – ours!  Followed by an artist talk with Robin and Michelle on art & activism. View in person at Arlington's Regent Theater or live-stream at home. MORE INFO and TICKETS.