34, Boston Sculptors Galley
489 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA 02118

July 22, 2015 at 12pm - August 16, 2015

In conjunction with the Isles Arts Initiative, a summer-long public art series on Georges, Spectacle islands and Boston Sculptors Gallery that captures the intrinsic beauty of the 34 harbor islands.34 is a group exhibition that includes 34 regional artists each responding to one of the 34 Boston Harbor Islands.

Snake Island, near Deer Island and just a few hundred yards from Winthrop, earned its name from its serpentine shape. Today, the island is owned by the town of Winthrop. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, (a few) lobsterman, clammers, and their families lived on the island seasonally. Now it is home to a variety of species, namely migratory coastal birds.

In the spring and early summer, Snake Island is off limits to visitors in order to project nesting American Oystercatchers, a shy, sensitive, migratory bird that returns to Boston Harbor each year to reproduce. Due to its habitat, Snake Island is home to the highest concentration of American Oystercatchers in Boston Harbor compared to any of the other Harbor Islands.

Evidenced by their name, the American Oystercatcher’s main food source was once the abundant eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Now the Oystercatcher relies on other bivalves, such as clams and muscles, since the oyster population in Boston Harbor has nearly vanished due to over-harvesting, landfilling, and pollution, affecting a variety of species.

Efforts have been made to re-introduce Crassostrea virginica to naturally clean and restore Boston Harbor. Powerful water purifiers, each oyster can filter up to 30 gallons of water per day offsetting impact from sewer overflows and other manmade pollutants. Their shallow reefs provide food, shelter, and spawning grounds for a diversity of coastal species. Snake Island is a potential candidate for oyster re-introduction, due to its shallow marshes, which would benefit the ecology of Snake Island, its Oystercatchers, and Boston Harbor.

-A. Cekala

"Allison Cekala comes at Snake Island, site of a nesting project for American oystercatchers, from an environmental standpoint. Oysters are all but gone from Boston Harbor, so the migratory bird feeds on clams and mussels. Efforts might be made to reintroduce oysters on the island. Cekala charmingly blends the two breeding grounds in a bird’s nest filled with plaster oysters."
-The Boston Globe

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 Crassostrea virginica   Plaster, Resin, wood 
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 (Detail)