Starting in January, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is going to be hosting entries from an art contest focusing on the Chesapeake Bay. Organized by the author of a children’s book series about the Bay, Donna McCartney, and sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the contest has been wide reaching and, given some of the artwork, very inspiring. The kids who drew pictures for the contest come from all over the Chesapeake Bay watershed- Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, even West Virginia. They may have never actually seen the Bay in person. So, the concepts conveyed in their work are incredibly varied. For some, you can see a personal connection. Others know the Bay from driving over it. Even more are familiar with the Chesapeake through a classroom curriculum, but probably think of the Chesapeake as an extension of the ocean.
The one thing all of the work has in common is how beautiful, how thoughtful, and often, how funny or quirky it is.
A Matisse-style crab against a gorgeously murky background pleads for a cleaner environment.
A classic summer scene- an osprey; clutching a dead fish (we know it’s dead because of the crossed-out eyes), flies towards it’s channel marker home over a Bay full of animal life.
I call this one “Still Life with Snakehead.” Perhaps meant to evoke the flotsam carried on the top of the water by the current, the empty bottle and dead fish tell us this is not a thriving estuary. A cautionary tale.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge full of summer traffic, surrounded by sail boats and fishing vessels. No caption needed- this is the Bay we get to enjoy if we take care of it.
Many students have a concept of pollution as a thing that they can see- and trash is the most common way that kids can convey a source of contamination that comes from human use (or misuse). In this picture, trash is literally choking the animal life in the Chesapeake, represented by a gull with a plastic six-pack ring around its neck, and empty bags and discarded soda cans on the beach.
But some kids understand a bit more about the nuances of Bay pollution, or in this case, “pullution”:
Nutrient pollution from chicken farms, stormwater runoff, and an incredibly detailed toilet. I don’t know about you, gentle readers, but my 4th grade drawing skills had nothing on the very talented 4th grade young lady that created this trifecta of sludge.
You can’t help but marvel at the artistic imagination, the technique, and the advanced concepts addressed by these entries. If it’s the next generation of Chesapeake stewards we’re educating, it looks like the Bay and its tributaries is in very good hands, indeed.
To learn more about the contest and Donna McCartney’s work, click here:www.nauticalmilebooks.com
And for the next 3 months, these works and more will be on display for the public to enjoy at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. So come down and see what the Chesapeake has inspired!