Special Exhibits

This exhibit of photographic art includes fifteen images by local amateur photographer Paula Van Every. The collection was recently selected for the Southern Exposure award for photography representing the culture and landscape of the Southeastern region.

Birds of the Dam features a community of water birds that have made their home in the urban-industrial environment beneath the spillway of the Ross Barnett Reservoir. Amid the concrete and iron underpinnings of the dam, these elegant birds have adapted to erratic and often torrential water flow, flying fishing lures from human fishermen, and an array of dangerous litter including monofilament line, plastics, and metals.

Paula’s goal in pursuing this project was to call attention to the conservation risks and needs of these birds by focusing on their beauty and magic rather than on the distractions of their harsh industrial surroundings.

While much of nature and environmental photography is presented in a documentary manner, this collection utilizes an artistic approach to suggest that beauty and grace can be found in the unlikeliest places, and that art can have its own voice in promoting the interest of wild things.

Paula recognizes the Luminous Landscape Endowment for Photographers and the Katz Foundation of Atlanta for their significant financial contribution to support this project. Without such support, this project would not have been possible.

In pursuit of the environmental goals of the project, Paula has made alliances with the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District and Keep the Reservoir Beautiful, and has become engaged in their efforts to address the litter problem beneath the spillway and along the Pearl River. As one of several hundred volunteers, she has participated in PRV’s and KRB’s cleanup of thousands of pounds of litter since April. These connections have fostered other partnerships with a wide range of inter-related projects including Clean Sweep, a two-state cleanup of the entirety of the Pearl River from the Choctaw Indian reservation to the gulf on September 23, 2017.

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