The beautiful and diverse single-celled algaes known as diatoms are the subject of the next show in Biscayne National Park’s Dante Fascell Visitor Center Gallery, on display from June 5 to August 16, 2015. Tropical Botanic Artists (TBA), a collaborative of botanical illustrators, has created In Deep with Diatoms in conjunction with scientists at Florida International University. The public is invited to a free opening reception to meet the artists and participate in a discussion of the intersecting worlds of art and science on Sunday, June 14 from 1-3 pm. The Gallery is located at 9700 SW 328 Street, 9 miles east of Homestead, Florida. The show is open daily from 10:00 to 5:00, and admission is free.
Diatoms are responsible for at least one-quarter of the oxygen we breathe, yet most people are not familiar with this group of plants that number over 100,000 species. Diatoms can also be used to assess water quality, and even serve as a record of sea level rise, work now going on in the laboratory of Dr. Evelyn Gaiser at FIU. “It’s important to communicate science through art, this exhibit allows us to do that and reach diverse audiences,” said Gaiser.
The seventeen artists represented in the show use a variety of media to interpret their diatoms, including watercolors and mixed media. This show marks the second time TBA has mounted a show in the Dante Fascell Visitor Center Gallery; in 2011, the group debuted “Macroalgae: Colors of the Sea,” at the park. It featured large algae including many documented in Biscayne National Park for the first time during the 2010 National Geographic Biolblitz. The show marked a distinct departure from the usual orchids, bromeliads and other exotic plants that the group is so well-known for.
In Deep with Diatoms is part of the park’s Community Artists Program, started in 1997 as an outlet for the works of artists who are inspired by the beauty of Biscayne National Park. The program is made possible by the South Florida National Parks Trust through the generosity of Sedano’s Supermarkets and the Miami-Dade County Division of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.
For more details about the exhibit, visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/bisc or contact park ranger Gary Bremen at 305-230-1144, x007. For regular updates follow the park on Facebook at www.facebook.com/biscaynenps, Twitter at www.twitter.com/biscaynenps or Instagram at www.instagram.com/biscaynenps.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.