Beacon College Features Environmental Artist Kate Helms at Leesburg Gallery
LEESBURG, Fla. -- Kate Helms, a 5th-generation Floridian, environmental scientist and artist, is presenting her latest series "Rise" at Beacon College's Kristen Michelle Mason Art Gallery in Leesburg from Nov. 1 to Dec. 8.
"Rise" centers around fantasies of a luxuriously ornate home being dismantled by the climatic effects of sea level rise and tossed into the ocean, where it becomes an artificial reef for a variety of barnacle, coral and sponge-like encrustations. In contrast to widespread coral bleaching, which is causing vast swaths of coral reefs to rapidly perish into milky oblivion, these new species spontaneously evolve to thrive in the changing environment.
Incorporating Victorian furniture, the show references the beginnings of the industrial era, in which humans began to substantially contribute to climate change by adding heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The walls feature a variety of two-dimensional works, including altered bathymetric maps demonstrating the effects of rising sea level to coastal communities in Florida, as well as surrealistic collages.
Helms is currently the Stormwater Program Administrator for the City of Largo in Florida, where she oversees stormwater pollution prevention efforts. She has previously worked on projects dealing with Everglades restoration, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, oyster restoration, wetlands mitigation, and compliance and enforcement with environmental regulations as a member of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. She has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, a Bachelor of Arts in Art, and Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Florida.