Many hands and minds created each of nearly forty unique forms installed among the trees two months ago to survive four seasons of New England weather. Their shapes and textures have become more distinct since October’s shade from autumn leaves has gone. Like others who use the bikeway, I’ll watch for ways the art will change with wind, snow, sleet and sunlight. And I’ll keep thinking of the meanings of “persistence.” Meanwhile, here are quotes, links (in red), and images that should reveal the resourcefulness, resilience, and reasoning that have carefully kept this prescient project going.
“The culmination of a year-long, town-wide collaborative project, Persistence: A Community Response to Pervasive Plastic comprises a series of 37 brilliantly colored forms inspired by microorganisms found naturally in water. Calling attention to microplastics that invade the marine ecosystem, they are fabricated from thousands of single-use plastic bags rendered into “plarn” or plastic yarn and crocheted by brigades of volunteer crafters led by noted fiber artist Michelle Lougee — the town’s first Artist-in-Residence.”(quote from Arts Arlington Calendar Nov 2020)
“Michelle Lougee began using plastic bags as a material 10 years ago to draw attention to plastic pollution in our oceans. She creates elegant intricate forms that are reminiscent of organic life coral reefs, seeds and nuts, insects and single cell organisms, reminding us of the complexity, beauty, resilience and fragility of the natural world around us. Her perspective complements Arlington’s commitment to environmental activism and stewardship.”(quote from PERSISTENCE: A COMMUNITY RESPONSE TO PERVASIVE PLASTIC )
“Plastic persists, breaking down into microplastics, which fish eat — and if we eat fish, we also eat plastic. But there’s another reason “Persistence: A Community Response to Pervasive Plastic,” an installation by Michelle Lougee along the Minuteman Bikeway, got its title…“It’s also the persistence it took everyone to get through this time, and who helped our project persist,” said organizer Cecily Miller, public art curator for the Arlington Commission of Arts & Culture.” ( quote from Boston Globe article by Cate McQuaid, Oct. 21, 2020)
“Persistence will be on view until October 31, 2021, suspended from select trees along the Minuteman Bikeway near Spy Pond between Linwood Street and Swan Way.“(quote from Arts Arlington Calendar Nov 2020)
Updated December 17 to link to a new article from Wicked Local by Jesse Collings: “Local artists bring plastic works to Minuteman Bikeway“