From series titled Trouble at the Lake, mixed media on matter board, 4”x6” each
Lake Erie has played a big role in my life. It’s the lake that is surrounded by once-prosperous, industrial cities. It drew my ancestors like a magnet. As an infant, I lived in an apartment building in Buffalo, right on the shore of the lake. I continued to live nearby for my first 14 years. When winter, arctic air blasted across Lake Erie it was the source of amazing snowstorms, and it was the place of summer of beaches as well. Back then the lake was terribly polluted, but the EPA and Clean Water Act helped turn things around. Next, the demise of America’s heavy industry was a blessing for Lake Erie’s waters. But the disappearance of industry nearly killed the cities and towns surrounding the lake when jobs vanished. The factories were closed down rather than upgraded. Then, many of the remaining jobs were shipped overseas leaving workers adrift.
Lake Erie, and the working families who live on it shores, have been victims of unbridled capitalism. The same forces that have nearly destroyed the lake’s waters and its great cities, is now shutting off the water for poor people in Detroit. And, this month, the people of Toledo were not able to drink or use the water due to a toxic algae bloom. The algae bloom is a phenomenon linked to global warming and agribusiness.
Lake Erie and a city like Toledo might seem faraway to many Americans, but the lake could be called the United States’ Canary in the Coal Mine — or we could say Perch in the Lake. The health of Lake Erie, and the quality of life of the communities that surrounded the lake, reflect the overall health of our entire country.
This series of 25 pieces of 4”x6” handmade postcards is being mailed to some of the artists I exchange mail art with.