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'Small Wonders: Insects In Focus' Exhibit Opens In Bonita Springs

The Centers for the Arts in Bonita Springs has a brand new exhibition opening Sept. 3 called “Small Wonders: Insects in Focus” that puts some of the Earth’s tiniest creatures on display. 

Images of brightly-colored bugs line the walls of the center's Old 41 Road location. The images are several feet tall—some of them as tall as 8 feet.

"You kind of get the feeling that you're surrounded," said the Centers for The Arts exhibitions director, Ehren Gerhard.

Gerhard said the artist, Bob Sober, wanted to give visitors a unique perspective on some of the world’s smallest inhabitants.

"And what Bob is doing with these insects by making them larger than life, you know, filling up 8 feet tall panels here so that we can get up close and personal and feel the textures and hairs and things like that—sort of feel what it would be like if we were the same size," Gerheard said.  

Credit Tara Calligan
Metallic Wood-boring Beetle by Bob Sober

The images of the insects were taken with a high-resolution camera. Each bug is displayed on a crisp, white background. The photos are taken above the insects and the perspective gives the observer a scientific vantage point. Each photo is magnified dozens of times, revealing every hair and battle scar with great detail.

"The variety is very far ranging; you’ve got everything from bugs that look like they have shoulder pads and helmets on and wide wing spans with intricate patterns to big, burly beetles with giant shells over their backs," Gerhard said.  "Some things that look like brain scans over here, this blue one those with iridescent tones and bright green and orange its almost unreal."

The images are of insects from all over the world. Gerhard said the exhibit provides an opportunity to expose the beauty of these creatures while also teaching the important role they play in the environment.

"It may challenge them in certain ways that they don’t want to squish it when it’s on the wall," Gerhard said. "We have to understand that we can capture these [insects] and they have a unique benefit to its ecosystem and our planet so to help foster that appreciation I think is really nice."

Gerhard also said the exhibit can spark intrigue in visitors of all ages.

"And that’s what unique about this exhibit, for adults as well as children," Gerhard said.  "Children can be just overwhelmed by the sheer size of it and adults can remember those times when they had that spark of exploration and surprise in the beauty of nature."

Credit Tara Calligan / WGCU
Bug Bingo

The Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs will host a Family Activity Day with the exhibition on Saturday. Sept. 7, that will include bug bingo, art projects and educational tours.

Gerhard said he hopes people who visit will leave feeling a little less squeamish around bugs.  

"There’s bugs crawling everywhere all over the walls and hopefully overall when people walk away we can have an appreciation the next time we see something on the wall  we can take a closer look."

“Small Wonders: Insects in Focus” is free to the public  and will be in town until Oct. 19.

Andrea Perdomo is a reporter for WGCU News. She started her career in public radio as an intern for the Miami-based NPR station, WLRN. Andrea graduated from Florida International University, where she was a contributing writer for the student-run newspaper, The Panther Press, and was also a member of the university's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.