Changing landscapes at the Bolinas Museum


The complex interdependence of ocean, land and human activities, locally and globally, is explored through a blend of science and fine art in the Bolinas Museum’s current exhibitions. 

Here in the Bay Area, non-native people have radically altered the environment in fewer than 250 years. An abstract expression of this process is displayed in the main gallery exhibition “Hughen/Starkweather: Where Water Meets Land,” recent works from San Francisco artists Jennifer Starkweather and Amanda Hughen. Their creative process entails studying an area through photos, data and interviews, then passing a project back and forth to create artwork that reinterprets the narrative of landscape. Their unusual works are in public and private collections as diverse as the Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Genentech.

The photo exhibition “Camille Seaman: Melting Away” captures the stunning beauty of towering icebergs that are alarming evidence of the accelerated melting of our polar icecaps. Internationally recognized for her work, Seaman’s eye is influenced by her Native American Shinnecock upbringing. She has documented the changing landscape of the Arctic and Antarctic during shipboard expeditions for more than a decade. In the adjacent gallery, “Ellen Litwiller: Oceanic” addresses the intricate systems of the oceans that cover more than 70 percent of our planet. Litwiller worked for 20 years creating sets for national and international natural history museums. Her art is informed by her scientific curiosity and attention to the wonder of our world, from the microscopic to the cosmic. 

The story of local visionaries, activists and ordinary citizens stopping massive development to preserve the rich natural environment and community lifestyle of coastal Marin is traced in the museum’s history room exhibit. 

Two special events coincide with these exhibitions. On Saturday, Oct. 7, Sky Road Webb presents a free event at 2 p.m. in the museum courtyard about Marin Miwok life along the coast. Through songs and stories, Webb will share his enthusiasm and curiosity as he explores his roots and the human relationship to this landscape. A Great Minds panel discussion, titled “Between the Tides: Living Shorelines in the Time of Climate Change,” takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Bolinas Community Center.

The museum, located at 48 Wharf Road, is open Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. and weekends from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is always Free. Elia Haworth is the curator of Coastal Marin Art and History for the Bolinas Museum.