New exhibit explores lake waters

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Nearly 50 jars filled with materials from Lake Champlain were displayed on the wall of an art studio.

Community members gathered at Burlington City Arts gallery for the opening “Of Land & Local: Watershed” opening and engaged in conversation about water issues in Vermont are on display through Jan. 14.

“Not every small city has a resource like Burlington City Arts as a unique department of the city and the art supporting community,” Mayor Miro Weinberger said.

Weinberger said the arts engage the community in many ways.

“Watershed is one of the fascinating concept which binds us to the whole Champlain valley,” he said. “The art community can do what no other medium can, in terms of opening our minds and giving us opportunity to think in a better way.”

The event drew UVM student Fiona Gao, an environmental science major, to the gallery on Church Street, Gao said.

“I’m pretty interested in the environmental issue that is happening in Vermont,” she said, “and I am planning to go to the Shelburne farm exhibition next weekend.”

Vermont is under pressure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the level of phosphorus in Lake Champlain because phosphorus had become the biggest challenge according to the state of lake report by Lake Champlain Basin Program.

This issue was first brought up by Middlebury college student Alexander Abarbanel-Grossman, who studied and examined the transformation of Burlington’s waterfront, according to gallery’s website.

In February, the state told residents of North Bennington, Vermont they should not drink water from private wells until the levels of toxic acid were tested by EPA, the website states.

BCA had been prepared for this exhibition for almost a year. The purpose of the exhibition is to bring up concerns regarding the water issue and human health, said Ashley Jimenez, gallery manager and assistant curator at BCA.

“Water issue is such a relevant topic right now and especially being the five-year anniversary of tropical storm Irene,” Jimenez said, “We had been doing this exhibition about environment for the past four years.

All the exhibiting artists are from Vermont and had been keeping touch with the studio, Jimenez said.