The SLUDGE Project

Sometimes the water looks beautiful, but it's highly toxic from industrial chemicals and raw sewage.

Professor Sarah Durand tends to the bioremediating floating gardens she and her students created.

The many mussels living at the creek provide live bioremediation by absorbing toxins. So do crabs, snails, and other mollusks.

The SLUDGE Project

Funded in part by the Queens Council on the Arts' New Work grant, SLUDGE uses creativity and intuition to engage with learning the science and history of Newtown Creek, a toxic waterway that divides Queens and Brooklyn, NYC.

Using water from the Creek and her Intuitive Research methods, artist Priscilla Stadler will create a series of paintings for an exhibition in November/December 2022 at Local Project in Long Island City, Queens, NYC.

Collaborating with students and professors from LaGuardia Community College/CUNY (City University of New York)’s environmental science and photography programs, the SLUDGE project will also feature a panel discussion about forms of engagement with the Creek, such as learning about its science, its historical use for industrial waste, and its effect on local neighborhoods.

Expanding on Stadler’s projects like Rooted that explore subterranean themes, this project investigates a different aspect of life "beneath the surface".

The SLUDGE project encourages public creative engagement with science and history, spreads interest about the Creek's troubled history, and offers opportunities to get involved.

About Newtown Creek

A polluted waterway dividing Queens and Brooklyn, Newtown Creek runs near LaGuardia Community College. In 2010 it was designated for cleanup as a Superfund site by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The pollution is not new; it began in the 19th century. The poisons it contains include industrial and other wastes such as sewage, and a major oil spill.

Despite the toxins in its water, LaGuardia’s environmental science students and faculty have found signs of new life such as crabs and other organisms. They have planted grasses that help clean the water, and engaged the help of bioremediators such as mussels, snails and crabs.

People who live, work, or study in Long Island City, Queens or Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are especially affected by this body of water, both for health reasons, but also because, if it were clean, the creek could offer a vibrant space to enjoy our communities.

About Priscilla Stadler

Priscilla Stadler is an interdisciplinary visual artist who uses a range of media like fabric installations, ink drawings, divination, and community dialogue to investigate connections beneath the surface. These can include underground fungal networks, subconscious belief systems, and underwater realms.

She often invites the public to co-create and dialogue with her in these explorations.


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