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Renowned artist continues environmental activism with new exhibit at Mennello Museum in Orlando

Mira Lehr’s art tackles concerns about environment

ORLANDO, Fla. – The work of a prominent south Florida artist can now be seen at the Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando. Titled “High Water Mark,” Mira Lehr’s exhibit is a representation of where she’s at in her more than six-decade career and touches on her concerns about the planet.

"I’m getting more of the essence of what I want to say. " Lehr said, about "flooding and the sea rise and the dangerous things that are happening in the environment.”

She spoke to News 6 from her hometown Miami Beach, a city that has seen significant rising sea levels in the past decade.

“Now, the sea is rising when there’s high tide and a full moon, the water is up in my yard, the sea is filled with trash, jellyfish come in there in hoards, which is not a good sign,” the 85-year-old artist said.

Some Mira Lehr's environmental-inspired art on display at the Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando.
Some Mira Lehr's environmental-inspired art on display at the Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando.

She's been using her art for environmental activism.

"The water is warming and it's a call for danger that's about to happen and I'm very concerned about the problems that we're gonna face with the environment," she said.

Part of her technique is burning gun power and Japanese paper. Her creations of coral reefs and mangroves can be seen throughout the Mennello Museum of Art.

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“It shows how the coral situation is diminishing on the Earth and how we want to protect the corals,” she said.

A glass-like sculpture with tones of blue and jellyfish is made out of Japanese paper and invites viewers to start a conversation about the sea.

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“You can actually walk into her piece and feel like your surrounded by the ocean,” Jeremy Kemp, the marketing coordinator for the museum, said. “She can pull you in to ask the questions about why she’s doing what she’s doing. Throughout the museum, we see a lot different representations of the ecosystems that are important to her.”

Lehr, says she was inspired by Buckminster Fuller, an American architect, philosopher and inventor of the geodesic dome. In 1969 she got the opportunity to work with Fuller on his logistics game called: World Game. It was intended to be a tool that would facilitate a comprehensive, anticipatory, design science approach to the problems of the world.

“In the World Game every man and woman is a winner so that’s how I got inspired and we sat together in this room, went up to New York in 1969 and with him on a scenario about making the Earth -- we called it Spaceship Earth,” she recalled.

Mira’s High Water Mark exhibit is an eight-piece exhibit that includes a mangrove labyrinth visitors can walkthrough.

The artist is expected to visit Orlando on April 18 and guests of the museum will have a chance to meet her.

"I love Orlando. It's a magical city. They are welcoming. I had hundreds of people at the opening and I felt so comfortable there and I really, really relate to Orlando. That's where I would move to if I could move," she said.

High Water Mark will be on exhibit until May 10 at the Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando. The museum is open 6 days a week.


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