Shorelines aims for appreciation of scenery and stewardship

Melt Gallery's Susan Wallis. (Anna Suz for the Gazette)





Shorelines at the Melt Art Gallery is a show and sale of varied media with distinct ecological messages that’s set to close this weekend.

“In the show Shorelines, artist Susan Wallis contemplates the shoreline (the line along which a large body of water meets the land) and the deep meditative quality it possesses,” stated Nina-Marie Lister, an economist and landscape designer and a contributor to the show.

(Anna Suz for the Gazette)

Ms. Wallis hopes the show will provide the community with the sense of peacefulness, serenity and calmness that the ocean and shorelines can give. However, she also hopes that people will gain an understanding, appreciation and sense of stewardship to take care of the shorelines.

“Our shorelines are moving, shapeshifting storylines. We are all born of water-aqueous beings and bodies on land, locked in a primordial relationship with water, without which, we cannot survive more than mere days. The edge of water holds our gaze and tethers us to our essence,” stated Ms. Lister. “Our shorelines are lifelines, protecting us from floods, sheltering us in storms and relieving us in drought. Habitat, home and refuge for all creatures, the shore offers respite and resilience, clarity and cleansing, beauty and reflection. Here on the Great Lakes, the shoreline of the sweetwater seas sustains us. As artists, our works reflect, respect and protect these shores; their power and potential are keys to a thriving and flourishing future for all.”

Ms. Wallis believes you can’t wait until the problem happens. It would help if you listened to the people telling us what to do about it now. She tells us how the shorelines need to be protected.

“They need to be protected from erosion that would affect the habitat of whatever lives there. Pollution would affect the kind of fish that can survive in the waters, the plants that grow by the water. They provide food for other animals. It’s a complex system, and anything that goes out of sync can have catastrophic effects,” explained Ms. Wallis. “It’s all connected to how we care for our world.”

Another contributor to the show Leisa Rich tells us about her insights into the ecological impact of our food choices. Ms. Rich believes the most significant contribution humans can make on a personal level isn’t recycling or using recycled elements in their work. “It isn’t even driving an electric car. It’s what we are putting in our mouths.”

“Farms have a runoff, especially factory farms and farmers, and what happens is runoff erodes the land away. It goes down and takes the pollutants into the water, eroding the shoreline,” explained Ms. Rich. “The same thing goes for our single-use plastics. They don’t get to the ocean because people toss everything into it. They get to the ocean through all the waterways. Our garbage, our trash and fecal matter from the raising of animals in countries where they do not take care of the earth, all that goes into the runoff. The rain comes, and it pulls it down to the closest body of water and then pulls that down to the ocean and that contributes terribly to the climate changing global warming.”

“I hope people get a chance to reminisce about peaceful moments that they’ve had along the water but also look at the value of the health of our water and shorelines,” said Jennifer Anne Kelly.

Walks along the shores of the lakes in Prince Edward County provide moments of deep peace and clarity for Willis and inspire her series of serene paintings.

“Shorelines are generally peaceful, it’s where the bugs are swimming and there might be some birds sitting on the edge of things. They’re very gentle locations,” said Mona Rutenberg, another Shorelines collaborator.