Bell Museum asks public for photos

The museum’s new exhibit will feature photo submissions of nature in winter.

Meghan O'Connor


 Searching to find the meaning of the northern winter experience for Midwesterners, the Bell Museum of Natural History is collaborating with the public and resident artist Areca Roe.

The multi-phase exhibit entitled “Freeze Frame: Capturing Nature in Winter,” incorporates photo submissions from all over the Midwest outlining how each individual photographer sees winter.

“We are looking for the northern experience with snow and ice,” Roe said.

Chosen photographs will be featured within one of the four phases in the exhibit — two of which have already been constructed. The remaining photographs are displayed in a slideshow via Flickr that can be found online and also at the entrance of the exhibit.

“It’s so easy and accessible to take photos. Pull out your phone and take a photo,” said Andrea Klaassen, a spokeswoman for the museum. “We’re asking people to be a part of something … something a little out of the ordinary.”

The date and location of the photograph is included with each photo submission, allowing for a more personal connection with each image.

“I’ve taken photos up north, down by the river and even some on campus,” said Joe Whitson, a University of Minnesota global studies senior who works at the museum. “It’s a great excuse to get out into the community and take some photos.”

The Bell Museum isn’t the first to get the community involved in exhibitions. The Walker Art Center called for submissions from Minnesota residents in 2009 for a competitive series entitled ARTmn.

“It’s a new and unique way to engage the community,” Klaassen said.

Roe recently graduated with her Master of Fine Arts from the University. She has a background in natural history and biology as well as art and photography.

“When the museum sketched out their ideas, I was brought on board and I started making it my own.”

Roe recently finished off the second phase of the exhibit.

“I keep getting more photos, which is why we are doing it in a series of phases,” Roe said, “I’m simply filling up the space as time goes on.”

To illuminate human interaction with nature, Roe is transferring some of the photographs onto unconventional surfaces including plywood, fabric and fur.

“I’m experimenting with these different materials to see how they interact with the environment,” she said.

Submissions are being accepted through March 19. The Bell Social will take place April 13, showcasing the completed exhibit with live music, food and drinks.