WEST LONG BRANCH — Leading up to the seventh anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, a new art exhibition on display at Monmouth University captures the economic and emotional toll of the historic storm on the Garden State, and even gives visitors a chance to revisit some of the sounds and feels from October 2012.

Free and open to the public through early December, "Just Beachy/After Sandy" is comprised almost entirely of artwork by Monmouth University Department of Art and Design Professor Karen Bright, a Little Silver resident who experienced the storm herself.

"After Hurricane Sandy, I had a lot of questions," Bright said. "Like, why didn't we know about the storm earlier, and why was it so much worse that we predicted?"

Highlights of the interactive installation include a "drying station," where visitors can walk through a series of hanging towels that depict nearly a century of scientific data on high tide levels, wave heights and wind speeds; a 10-foot-high structure composed of stacked tree rounds that represent the number of homes lost in the storm, standing in the middle of a sandbox where one can bury a Sandy memento; and a colorful display of NASA satellite images of Sandy, which visitors are encouraged to cover with their own handwritten stories about the way they experienced the storm.

"People don't really have anywhere to tell their story," Bright said. "Through this shared experience, they will be able to feel better, maybe."

Bright said she plans to archive the submitted stories in some way.

Karen Bright details her Just Beachy/After Sandy exhibition, on display at Monmouth University through Dec. 9. (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

At the center of the DiMattio Gallery, visitors can step into a meticulously crafted "climate shelter" to hear a recording of Sandy barreling over the East Coast, and lay back and view a light show above, that works in sync with the audio playing through the speakers.

"It could be a healing experience for some people who enter it," said Amanda Stojanov, assistant professor of digital media, who formulated the shelter's light-and-sound show, "Hurricane."

Representing a "world inside out,"the exterior of the shelter features prints and paintings by Bright.

On display since September 3, an opening reception for the installment was held on September 20.

Just Beachy/After Sandy

  • DiMattio Gallery, Reichnitz Hall, Monmouth University
  • Free and open to the public through Dec. 9
  • Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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