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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

An algal bloom in South Florida has come to the attention of Gainesville artists.

The toxic algae infestation has led the Gainesville Arts Market to host a Toxic Florida Exhibit this Saturday. The free event will be held at SoMa Art Media Hub, located at 601 S. Main St.

Txong Moua, the director of Gainesville Art Scene and the creator of the Gainesville Arts Market, said after recent environmental events, art is a great way to get the word out.

People are encouraged to bring up to two pieces or submit their pieces ahead of time, Moua said. This is the first exhibit that allows guests to bring their own work, she said.

Local photographer Lynne Buchanan said she hopes to bring attention to the Florida environment, specifically water.

“In my lifetime, my generation has really killed the water,” Buchanan said. “I feel bad for my children and grandchildren, (We are) ruining an ecosystem, and we are part of the solution ... I feel that people are emotionally impacted by photos.”

The bloom impacts the health of humans and animals, as well as businesses and tourism because people are scared to go in water infested with the algae, said Afsar Ali, a research associate professor at UF.

“Water is becoming the single most critical resource, and it will define the next century and how it impacts us,” said Gustav Paulay, the curator of invertebrates at the Florida Museum of Natural History. “It’s the wake-up call of our time.”

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