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Crude Life Portable Museum: A Citizen Art and Science Investigation of Gulf of Mexico Biodiversity after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

December 14, 2017 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Join artist/biologist Dr. Brandon Ballengée for a pop-up exhibition and reception of Crude Life December 14, 5:30 – 6:30 at the Tulane River and Coastal Center, 1370 Port of New Orleans Place1370 Port of New Orleans Place (behind the Convention Center) organized by Studio in the Woods during the 2017 American Geophysical Union Meeting. Open to the public and free.

Crude Life is an interdisciplinary art, science and outreach project focused on gathering data on endemic fishes affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. This portable art- science museum of Gulf of Mexico regional biodiversity seeks to raise public awareness of local species, ecosystems, and regional environmental challenges through temporary “pop-up” exhibitions along community “citizen science” surveys of Gulf species.

The art-science museum’s “galleries” were created from repurposed sea chests/ steamer trunks retrofitted with handcrafted wood interiors for easy transport. As the museum travels, the collaborators lead public and youth “Eco-Action” educational and research field trips, to sample local fishes and other aquatic species while encouraging participants to make their own art about the discovered animals. Data on these species will be utilized for a scientific study and participant artworks will be included in the museum. The combination of the curiosity of a mobile museum, interactivity of citizen science, and one-on-one discussions occurring as a result of the project stimulates ongoing dialogues, education, data gathering, and to create valuable lasting partnerships throughout the Gulf region. The scientific focus of the project seeks to find 14 missing species of endemic Gulf fishes that have not been found following the spill. With the help of Gulf residents, we hope to find them!

Investigators: Dr. Brandon Ballengée (PI, Louisiana State University) Dr. Prosanta Chakrabarty (Co-PI, Louisiana State University) Sean Owen Miller (Co-PI, University of Florida) Rachel Mayeri (Co-PI, Harvey Mudd College)Collaborators: Dr. Suzanne Fredericq (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) Aurore Ballengée (Atelier de la Nature) Monique Michelle Verdin (My Louisiana Love) Dr. Benjamin Dubansky (University of Texas Denton)

Participants: Senator Norbert ‘Norby’ Nolty Chabert (Louisiana State Senate) Cherri Foytlin (Bold Louisiana) Josh Baumgardener (Haliburton) Dr. Edward Chesney (Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium/ LUMCON) Dr. Alexander Kolker (Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium/ LUMCON) Dr. Linda Hooper Bui (Louisiana State University) Blaise Daniel Pezold (Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s Coastal ReVegetation Project) Randon Dufrene (Tee Jug’s Shrimp Company) Bob Chateaulin (Private horticulturalist) Keith Broussard (Fish and Wildlife Manager of Cypremort State Park) Jonathan Foret (Executive Director South Louisiana Wetlands Discover Center) Members of the Pointe-Aux-Chenes Tribe + Students and residents of the Louisiana coast regions

Support Received: Interdisciplinary Projects Grant Award, National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI), a project of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Washington D.C.; Artspark Grant, Acadiana Center for the Arts (ACA) and Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA), Lafayette, LA.; and University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.


December 14, 2017
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Tulane River and Coastal Center
1370 Port of New Orleans Place
New Orleans, LA United States


A Studio in the Woods
(504) 392-4460