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Ice becomes art on shore of Lake Erie

On the Great Lakes, boat and ship traffic is slowing down for the winter.  Meanwhile, in Cleveland, residents have a chance to watch Lake Erie change as ice builds up -- and breaks up.

Elizabeth Miller reports.

It’s part of an unusual public art exhibit called Waiting for a Break, by Ohio artist Julia Christensen.  

Artist Julia Christensen
Credit Elizabeth Miller/ideastream
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Artist Julia Christensen

On a large screen downtown, six live video feeds show different spots along Lake Erie. One shows waves lapping over rocks, others show a remote island and a nearby bay.

“Usually we turn away from the lake at this time of year, so I wanted to figure out a way to bring those images into public space,” said Christensen.

Live feeds are available online, and on the screen in Cleveland’s Public Square through the winter. Next year, they’ll be a part of an exhibit at a local gallery, too. 

Christensen, who teaches at Oberlin College, says the project is about more than watching ice form and break up.

“I found that we’re all cheering for the ice to form at all – and so it’s a really great way to frame the ice as an indicator of climate change, and the health of the lake,” she said.

The live feed at Public Square
Credit Elizabeth Miller/ideastream
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The live feed at Public Square

The forecast across the Great Lakes says ice will form on 55 percent of the surface this winter. But Christensen placed the feeds strategically – on shallow western Lake Erie, where ice almost always forms.  

The live feeds on the Waiting for a Break website
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The live feeds on the Waiting for a Break website

Copyright 2017 Great Lakes Today

Reporter/producer Elizabeth Miller joined ideastream after a stint at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C., where she served as an intern on the National Desk, pitching stories about everything from a gentrified Brooklyn deli to an app for lost dogs. Before that, she covered weekend news at WAKR in Akron and interned at WCBE, a Columbus NPR affiliate. Elizabeth grew up in Columbus before moving north to attend Baldwin Wallace, where she graduated with a degree in broadcasting and mass communications.
Elizabeth Miller
Reporter/producer Elizabeth Miller joined ideastream after a stint at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C., where she served as an intern on the National Desk, pitching stories about everything from a gentrified Brooklyn deli to an app for lost dogs. Before that, she covered weekend news at WAKR in Akron and interned at WCBE, a Columbus NPR affiliate. Elizabeth grew up in Columbus before moving north to attend Baldwin Wallace, where she graduated with a degree in broadcasting and mass communications.
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