Art exhibit magnifies the world of microorganisms

Time: 5-8 p.m.
Location: Well Street Art Co.
“Impermafrost,” by Gail Priday, is among the pieces at “In a Time of Change: Microbial Worlds,” an exhibit starting Feb. 3 at Well Street Art Co.

Visitors will have an opportunity to peer through the lens of the arts to discover the hidden world of microscopic organisms at “In a Time of Change: Microbial Worlds,” a collaborative exhibit running Feb. 3-27, at Well Street Art Co.

Fourteen artists and writers magnify the microbiome in this collaborative exhibit sponsored by the arts-humanities-science consortium, In a Time of Change.

The exhibit includes original artworks and writings by Alaskans Susan Campbell, Annie Duffy, Nancy Hausle-Johnson, Jessie Hedden, Eric Henderson, Mariah Henderson, Margo Klass, Debbie Clarke Moderow, Jennifer Moss, Ree Nancarrow, Gail Priday and Sara Tabbert, as well as San Diego artist Charlotte Bird and Brooklyn artist Stephanie Rae Dixon.

The First Friday opening is from 5-8 p.m. Feb. 3, and features live DNA analysis and dance as part of a multimedia installation focusing on decomposition. Writers Debbie Moderow and Susan Campbell will give a literary reading at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11. Mary Beth Leigh, an associate professor of microbiology at University of Alaska Fairbanks, directed the project.

“The ‘Microbial Worlds’ exhibit will be a fun way for people to discover the wonders of the microbial world,” Leigh said. “Bringing artists and scientists together for this project has sparked new insights and inspiration for everyone involved. In the long run, we’re hoping to foster more collaboration across disciplines and stronger connections between science and society, which will be critical to solving complex environmental problems.”

“Microbial Worlds” is the culmination of 16 months of collaborative work by visual artists, writers, and scientists on the topic of microorganisms. Microbes are the most numerous and diverse organisms on the planet; they include bacteria, fungi, protozoa, algae and viruses. While some cause disease and contribute to climate change, others are responsible for promoting human health, removing toxins from the environment and maintaining healthy ecosystems.

“Microbial Worlds” is the fifth major art-science project presented by the In a Time of Change program. ITOC was founded in 2008 by artists and scientists in Fairbanks with support from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Bonanza Creek Long Term Ecological Research program.

In a Time of Change: Microbial Worlds” was made possible by a grant to Leigh from the National Science Foundation and a UAF Chancellor’s Innovation in Technology and eLearning program fellowship. Other supporters are the Bonanza Creek LTER program, the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology, the Alaska Branch of the American Society for Microbiology, Toolik Field Station, Kevo Subarctic Research Station, the Alaska Institutional Development Award Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, Well Street Art Co. and anonymous donors.

CONTACT: Mary Beth Leigh, UAF Institute of Arctic Biology, 907-474-6656,