Marine Debris Art
Provincetown, the home of the Center for Coastal studies at the very tip of Cape Cod, has been known for its creative artist community for hundreds of years. In recent years, many artists here and around the world are exploring a new type of artistic expression.
In the hands of an artist, debris washed up onto a beach can become a beautiful, evocative reminder of the role humans play in stewardship of our natural resources.
Each year, the Center for Coastal Studies works with students and artists to exhibit compelling art created from marine plastic debris. Our friends at From the Bow Seat hold an annual student art contest which yields remarkable art concerning the issue of marine debris and ocean health, from middle and high school students around the world.
Our own Education Department brings students to the beach to collect material to create their own works of art.
To prevent certain fishing gear from becoming marine debris, the Center’s Marine Plastics Program facilitated the purchase of hundreds of thousands of pounds — miles and miles — of used and retired rope from the lobster fishery, and provided it to rope artists like Orly Genger and the Cape Porpoise Trading Company to use in creating beautiful works of art and function. Gear recovered during the 2021 field season is also being repurposed by artist Annie Lewandowski.
Locally, John Morgan, a counselor at the Provincetown Schools, and his wife Alicia, weave doormats from used lobster rope. Learn more about their work in this short podcast from WOMR, Provincetown’s community radio station, in the Summer 2021 issue of Edible Cape Cod, and on Instagram.
Regional collaboration allows artists from around the northeast to tap into the plentiful resource of fishing gear at the end of its life.
There is no shortage of material or inspiration for this medium of artistic expression.