REFUGE is a collaborative visual arts and environmental advocacy project created by the Newburyport Art Association in partnership with The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and the Audubon/Joppa Flats Education Center.
The project is part of the NAA guest curator program, designed to bring new perspectives, new partnerships, and new artists to the NAA. The guest-curator for this project is Joe Donnelly.
The entire world has sought refuge this past year from a threatening virus that continues to take lives. People learned to adapt to pandemic isolation, with many finding strength in the beauty of nature, which inspired them to persist, stimulated their senses, and motivated them to create. Yet, while providing refuge for us, nature itself is experiencing its own threat; many of the special places near Newburyport may not survive this century. Artists are well attuned to this irony of seeking refuge from a source in crisis. REFUGE exhibits artwork created during the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting each artist’s personal relationship to nature, interpreting the fragility of the natural world around us, and exploring the complex relationships and responsibilities between people and place.
The project takes place across three venues, the Newburyport Art Association gallery shop, the Parker River National Wildlife Visitors Center Auditorium, and the Joppa Flats Education Center yard. Small two-dimensional and three-dimensional works will be exhibited in the NAA gallery shop. Larger two-dimensional works will be installed on the walls in the Visitor’s Center, where film/video/sound work may also be shown. Joppa Flats Education Center’s backyard will be home to an outdoor art installation created in partnership with a local school and students. The project will be complemented by a moderated panel discussion on the intersection of environment, art, and science in the Parker River Visitor’s Center auditorium.