The Norman Transcript

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February 2, 2013

Bug-themed exhibits creating a curious buzz

NORMAN — Joaquin Pittman doesn’t like the taste of bugs. But that won’t stop him from someday studying the creepy-crawlers as an entomologist.

The 7-year-old was one of more than 650 people enjoying — some eating, some only observing — arthropods at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History’s Friday night opening reception for its two newest bug-themed exhibits.

“They’re interesting,” Pittman said on why he loves bugs.

And he’s not the only one that thinks so.

Katrina Menard, Sam Noble invertebrates curator, said the two exhibits — Bugs …Outside the Box and Beautiful Beasts: The Unseen Life of Oklahoma Spiders and Insects — are a way to inspire the public to view the small

critters as beautiful, rather than bad.

“There’s so much beauty on earth and it’s not just the big stuff,” Menard said. “Little, little beautiful bugs that if someone just took the time to look at them and just stop and just give them a chance — there’s so much you could see and learn from them.”

Bugs…Outside the Box presents a selection of enlarged insect sculptures. Artist Lorenzo Possenti uses powerful magnification and actual specimens to create each sculpture with remarkable accuracy.

Butterflies with 5-foot wingspans and 4-feet-long beetles, are only two examples of Possenti’s works.

Beautiful Beasts showcases colorful macrophotographs of insects by Oklahoma-native artist Thomas Shahan. Alongside each photograph is a description of where and how the photographs were taken.

Shahan has become an advocate for arthropod education and just wants others to learn to love bugs more.

“If there’s one thing I want people to get out of it is, for the most part these guys are harmless and many are very beneficial,” Shahan said on what he wants others to learn from his exhibit.

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