Run-off Dolpin Suitcase

Kim Abeles

LOS ANGELES (OCTOBER 1995) - Using trash picked up from Los Angeles beaches, artist Kim Abeles has created a sculpture depicting a dolphin. The sculpture will tour schools to help children understand the effects of throwing trash into storm drains.

The sculpture entitled, Run-off Dolphin Suitcase, has been part of the Alters exhibition curated by Stanley Wilson for the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena. The sculpture was made possible by a grant through the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project. The artist collected trash washed up on Venice and Dockweiler State Beaches to create the dolphin-shaped suitcase.

The goals of the project are:


-To educate people, particularly children, on the effects of runoff in Santa Monica Bay

-To convey a message of pollution prevention.

According to Heal the Bay, nearly a hundred storm drains empty into Santa Monica Bay. Some flow year round, some flow only after it rains. The water that flows out these drains carries all the pollutants that wash off city streets, side walks, and parking lots.

Storm drain run-off carries litter, plant debris; spilled oil, traces of rubber, asbestos, and lead from cars; as well as herbicides and pesticides from lawns.

Scientists have found dolphins suffer from numerous pollution related diseases and injuries. Southern California dolphins had infected wounds, stomach ulcers, parasitic infestations, pneumonia, infected and abnormally large organs, and tumors.

The sculpture puts the ethic of the value of preventing ocean pollution into vividly concrete terms. The familiarity of garbage runoff art stimulates an assessment of one's own contribution to the "runoff art."

The sculpture is designed to involve children: kids will view this, and think twice about littering into the storm drain. The press is encouraged to cover a session of children viewing the sculpture and learning about storm water pollution.

Run-off Dolphin Suitcase is now in the collection of the Lux Art Institute, Encinitas, CA. and is available for viewings at local schools by contacting the Lux Art Institute about their amazing interactive project, The Valise Project:



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