Spotted Lanternfly pinned down in PSU LV community art project
Dixon is recruiting area organizations to help with what’s billed as a “Community Public Art Project.”
Dixon, a Virginia-based multidiscipline artist, has a background in working with insects. She first considered using bees for her project.
After being told about the Spotted Lanternfly infestation in Pennsylvania and, more recently, in New Jersey and some other nearby states, Dixon concluded that the colorful, non-native pest should be the theme for the installation.
The project can be seen as raising awareness about the Spotted Lanterfly infestation in the region.
“This is a different way of looking at ecology and ecological balance,” she said.
“In this instance, we are going to have to create the balance because there is no balance at the moment. We have a huge amount of destruction on the agricultural and tourist fronts.”
Lycorma delicatula, commonly known as the Spotted Lanternfly, is an invasive insect that has spread throughout southeastern Pennsylvania since its discovery in Berks County in 2014.
The Spotted Lanterfly presents a threat to Pennsylvania agriculture, including grape, fruit tree, hardwood and nurseries, which contribute nearly $18 billion to the Commonwealth economy.
“’Syncopation’ is basically a musical term for an interruption,” explained Dixon of including ‘Zones of Syncopation’ in the project title.
“The lanternfly interrupted the agricultural ecosystem that we have.
“What we are trying to do is see if we can reflect that syncopation back on it. We are trying to interrupt the interrupter,” Dixon said.
Penn State Lehigh Valley Gallery Director and Arts Coordinator Ann Lalik and Liz Flaherty, associate teaching professor of art history at Penn State Lehigh Valley, co-chair the project committee.
The project was launched Aug. 24 with a free morning workshop at the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus in Center Valley. Another workshop was held the afternoon of Aug. 24 at Cave Brewery.
Approximately two dozen morning session attendees learned best practices for catching the Spotted Lanternfly, extracting the wings and preparing the wings for art-making.
The project seeks to partner with area organizations, including schools, youth groups, arts associations, families and garden clubs. “An organization might be a knitting group,” said Lalik.
According to Dixon, additional workshops can be arranged to provide members with information and material to create their own part of the final art work.
“Everybody gets a specific colored pin,” said Dixon. The colored pins allow each organization to locate its piece in the final installation.
Mixing science with the arts are Associate Teaching Biology Professor Dr. Karen Kackley and Research Technologist Pamela Borowski, a biologist and chemist, both of PSU Lehigh Valley.
Campus arts associate Tamryn McDermott from PSU University Park said the college’s Campus Arts Initiative is funding the installation.
For McDermott, it’s personal.
“I’m an artist, as well. I live in Montgomery County,” she said. “The spotted lanternflies are attacking and potentially destroying one of the trees in my backyard.”
Free presentations and workshops are scheduled at:
The Baum School of Art, 510 Linden St., Allentown, noon - 2 p.m. Sept. 28
Allentown ArtsFest, Cedar Beach Park, 79 N. Ott St., Allentown, 3 - 5 p.m. Sept 28
Cave Brewing Company, 3300 Lehigh St., Allentown, 3 - 5 p.m. Sept. 29
Partner finished pinnings will be collected Nov. 8 - 10, with assembling and installation at Penn State Lehigh Valley, Nov. 25 - 27.
The completed installation will be on display, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3, Center Hall, Penn State Lehigh Valley.
Registration for workshops is recommended. Information: campusarts.psu.edu/projects/lehigh-valley, SfZones@psu.edu