Arts council to exhibit 12-foot coral reef of fabric and fibers


The Ontario County Arts Council will open a new exhibit featuring a 12-foot coral reef made of fabrics and fibers on Saturday, April 2, to raise funds to protect sea turtles.

The Coral Reef and Materials exhibit opens in the Ontario County Historical Society, 55 N. Main St. Events begin at 11 a.m. with a Sea Turtle Rescue Happening, in which visitors will remove plastic debris from the reef for donations to the Sea Turtle Conservancy. A reception will follow from noon to 3 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

“I like to crochet, but I’m not good at following patterns, so when one of my creations started looking like something from a coral reef I decided, ‘Why not create one?’” said Judi Cermak, president of the arts council, to explain the origin of the exhibit.

“I first started out with creating white forms; however, after investigating information about the coral reefs I discovered that anything that was white was dead. Now it was important to draw attention to this problem through the art work. After two years of crocheting, and with the help of friends we have developed a unique display that is approximately 12 feet long full of sea life,” she added.

Donations will benefit the Sea Turtle Conservancy, the world's oldest sea turtle conservation group. With nearly 60 years of experience in national and international sea turtle conservation, research, and education, the conservancy’s initiatives have been key to saving the Caribbean green turtle from extinction. Sea turtles have existed for over 100 million years, but they are threatened by human activities.

In addition to the reef, the exhibit features other fabric arts, such as art quilts, batik, silk painting, painting with fabric, collage, and soft sculpture.

The Ontario County Arts Council is a non-profit organization with a membership of 180 visual and performing artists and other members who appreciate and support culture, art, music, and architecture. Established in 1993 to enhance the creative arts in Ontario County, the organization sponsors and cosponsors events, exhibits, workshops, and a scholarship. The arts council’s mission is: "To promote and strengthen the creative capacity of our community by providing diverse opportunities for arts participation, understanding, and appreciation.”

The arts council also offers small grants for art projects within Ontario County; the deadline for the current round of grants is April 1. More information about grants and events is available on the website at

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