Published: July 11, 2022

cyanobacteria in petri dishes

"A series of films, canvases, and a dynamic living wall exposes the multifaceted worlds of cyanobacteria in an exhibition now on display at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS). REFRESH reveals microscopic landscapes that allow us to ponder how these prehistoric organisms shaped our world, and how they could help us move toward a cleaner future. 

This collaboration at the intersection of biochemistry and the arts, created by faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder, provides an extraordinary view of the shape, structure, and interaction of cyanobacteria, diving into the diversity and scope of form, function, and scientific potential of these essential and complex organisms. Viewers are invited to explore the fascinating form and color of four different species of cyanobacteria across the living wall exhibit and immerse themselves in the microscopic landscapes portrayed in the films. The exhibit is free with admission, and REFRESH is located within Expedition Health on Level 2. The DMNS is open every day (9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and most Fridays until 9 p.m.), and tickets are available at

'I would love for people to marvel at these organisms, to think about the fact that we have not always had this much oxygen on the planet,' said co-creator Erin Espelie. 'Cyanobacteria actively changed our atmosphere, allowing for the evolution of life. Now we are actively changing our atmosphere, and cyanobacteria could be a mechanism to counter some of the effects.'"

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