Art acts as a mirror to society. It can reveal conflict, elicit an emotional response and deepen understanding of the issues we face today, such as environmental degradation and habitat loss. Whether it be music, dance, or theater, art has the ability to connect people and inspire them in ways that science often cannot. To this end, Earth Day Network is using the platform of Earth Day to offer a unique opportunity for artists and art institutions to collaborate behind the goal of the Earth Day 2019 campaign to Protect Our Species.
In Central Virginia and around the world, artists are collaborating in different ways to communicate the story of the environment, and to connect and motivate us to build momentum for positive change. Here are some ways that local artists in Central Virginia have harnessed the power of art to raise awareness and mobilize environmental activism.
A professor of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, Lawrence began a project called “Writeclimate” to spark civic engagement surrounding climate change issues using art as a medium. Students were asked to write their feelings about specific climate issues on pieces of colored paper and turn them into collages. Lawrence’s theory is that committing words to paper promotes a sense of commitment to them.
Johnson is a conservation photographer and professor at Eastern Mennonite University who uses photography to advocate for the environment. He has made efforts recently to help people save rare salamanders called hellbenders, as well as protect parts of the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia. His works have appeared in many conservation publications. He is the co-author of “The Appalachian Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles.”
As a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, Ginsburg has implemented a project called “Land Dive Team: Rice Rivers Center Wetlands.” This was one of her many species-based interactive works produced in collaboration with VCU’s Rice Rivers Center. The center focuses on restoring the landscape decimated by damming that destroyed wetlands and critical habitats on the Lower James River eco-system including loss of the bald cypress and tupelo gum trees. Ginsburg with other team members hope their work will raise awareness around protecting and healing and the environments we inhabit.
Earth Day Network is calling on artists and supporting institutions from around Central Virginia to continue this trend and contribute to the environmental movement in new and creative ways. Our strategy is to build strong partnerships and inspire audiences, especially young people, with artistic content, media, and resources to increase the relevance of environmental issues in our daily lives and priorities. Share your artistic efforts with us by tagging us on social media and letting us know what you are doing to raise awareness and inspire action to protect the natural world.
You can learn more about how you can become involved here.