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Waterlife preserve — beautiful yet somber homage to water presented at The Grand

Beautiful yet somber homage to water presented at The Grand

Photo by Clay Schuldt The “Pity the Water” exhibit includes text and photos to communicate the importance of clean water for health and recreation.

NEW ULM — An exhibit opening Friday at The Grand’s 4 Pillars Gallery will have viewers thinking of water in a new light.

The “Pity the Water” exhibit features the photography and words of artist Kay Herbst Helms, who has spent her career focusing on nature and is a strong advocate for the natural world.

In the last few years, she has partnered with multiple organizations to host exhibits based on the importance of water. Helms said she hopes her exhibit will inspire gratitude and action.

The exhibit’s title: “Pity the Water” is taken from a 2007 Lawrence Ferlinghetti poem of the same name. The poem is a call to action to improve and protect the waters of Earth.

Helms expands the poem, pairing her photos with additional text on the importance of water.

Photo by Clay Schuldt Kay Herbst Helms features a variety of photographic art that highlights water and it importance to life on Earth.

Nearly every photo in the exhibit is water-related, usually featuring water but occasionally focusing on the devastating effects of its absence.

In her artist statement, Helms said:

“Water is the foundation of our existence from our beginning in the watery womb to our end when ice is all we can swallow. All the water we have now is all the water we will ever have. It is imperative that we act now to protect our water and our planet.”

Photos featured in the exhibit were taken over a period of 15 years. Some of the photos were originally used on other exhibits but served the theme of water. Photographic techniques vary from subject to subject.

Helms said she had no one specific philosophy on photography. She said each photo was taken from a different angle or distance based on what looked best. Others were cropped to capture the best light.

Photo by Clay Schuldt Photographer Kay Herbst Helms stands with three of her prints in her “Pity the Water” exhibit that opens this Friday at The Grand.

Locations depicted in the photos are mostly in Minnesota, but Helms also traveled to Wisconsin and Illinois.

Helms included family in her photography. Four different grandkids appear in the photos, as well as a great-grandchild. One of the themes of the exhibit is the importance of conservation for future generations.

The opening reception for “Pity the Water” is 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23. The exhibit will be open through Oct. 21.

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