Environmentally Responsive Artwork Featured at Pleasure House Point

Thursday, June 28, 2018

​The public is invited to meet artist Benjamin Heller on June 28 and 29 at 5 p.m. to talk to about the creation of the Terrapin Basin, an environmentally responsive installation at Pleasure House Point, and to learn more about the Chesapeake Bay and its habitat. The events will be held behind the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Brock Environmental Center, 3663 Marlin Bay Drive, Virginia Beach.

The Virginia Beach Office of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Brock Environmental Center, commissioned Heller for a residency through early July to create Terrapin Basin. As a resident artist, Heller is creating his work on-site, and is available to the public to demonstrate his process.

"The City's goal is to use this opportunity to spotlight our natural spaces while creating a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the Chesapeake Bay," said Nina Goodale-Salazar, cultural arts coordinator for Virginia Beach.

Diamondback terrapins are the only turtle species in North America adapted to survive in brackish water, a mixture of salt and fresh water, like the Lynnhaven River and Chesapeake Bay. Terrapins require sandy beaches, which make Pleasure House Point Natural Area's sandy surroundings ideal for nesting.

Terrapin Basin will measure 5' x 7' and is being set into the ground, creating a basin that invites visitors to explore. The sculpture is being constructed from locally sourced sandstone, native to the area, which is being cut, assembled and polished on site. Heller's carving process is similar to the forming of rivers and coastlines, an active process that he shares onsite with visitors as the project unfolds. Heller connects the stone form of his piece with the types of nests that diamondback terrapins dig to lay their eggs, while bringing attention to how human presence can threaten their habitat.

"This piece will serve as an educational experience creating conversation about how all of these elements can co-exist and be preserved," said Goodale-Salazar.

For more information, please email ngoodale@vbgov.com.

20180628-CO-122CA-NR-Terrapin Basin.jpg 

Photo: Benjamin Heller teaches children how to smooth sandstone, the material for Terrapin Basin.

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