Art, whether it is presented on a canvas or in the precise movements of a dancer, or in the poetic notes of piano, evokes emotions and inspires the masses. Earth Day Network’s “Artists for the Earth” initiative leverages the power of art to educate, raise awareness and motivate people to action. Our collaboration with a myriad of artists, arts and cultural institutions seeks to harness that emotional power to inspire individuals around the globe to rally in support of the Earth.
The first Earth Day in 1970 is widely credited with having launched the modern environmental movement, making possible the passage of landmark environmental laws and establishing an engaged environmental citizenry committed to action in the public sphere. Today the world faces a new existential generation of environmental challenges – from climate change to plastic pollution to loss of biodiversity. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22, 2020) offers a unique opportunity to engage artists and art institutions in reigniting that irresistible demand for sweeping change.
Our goals for the Artists for the Earth initiative include:
- Inspiring new audiences, especially youth, with artistic content, media, and resources that increases relevancy of environmental issues to daily lives and priorities;
- Creating and communicating resources for education, community and civic participation around Earth Day and the environmental movement; and
- Promoting sustainability measures and best environmental practices in the arts.
During the year leading up to and including Earth Day, we will be promoting performances, concerts, programming, exhibits, and installations around environmental themes. We will create an interactive website featuring this material as well as resources on sustainability measures and best environmental practices for the arts. We will enlist formal and informal educators at all levels to create and integrate the arts into their curricula, lesson plans and programming that will be shared with the public. Finally, we will engage traditional and social media in expanding the message and reach of our campaign.
Since the first Earth Day prominent artists have come out in support of our agenda, ranging from visual artist Robert Rauschenberg, designer of the first Earth Day poster, to vocalist/actor Barbra Streisand, co-chair of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day to artist/architect Maya Lin, Earth Day speaker and designer of the species extinction memorial, What is Missing? to musician/singer/songwriter Sting, Earth Day performer.
Our strategy for the 50th anniversary is to build partnerships with the leading artists and arts institutions to carry out our agenda. The following are highlights of the partnerships we are building:
Museums, Zoos, Aquariums, Botanical Gardens: In partnership with Smithsonian Institution’s Earth Optimism initiative, EDN will convene and work with representatives from these stakeholders to create archival content, traveling exhibits, digital materials, and more for Earth Day 2020.
The Beethoven Pastoral Project: Organized by the Beethoven Anniversary Society that coordinates the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven in 2020, and to be carried out in cooperation with the UN’s Climate Change Secretariat, this project is inviting artists around the world to send a signal for our planet with their interpretation of Beethoven’s Pastoral music (6th Symphony).
The Vatican: In recent years, Pope Francis and the Vatican have become outspoken advocates for the planet and for Earth Day. In 2015 St. Peter’s Basilica was transformed into a canvas for a spectacular public art project designed to draw attention to climate change and endangered species.
Hollywood/Bollywood: Academy Award-winning actor, environmental advocate and philanthropist Leonardo DiCaprio, iconic television writer and producer Norman Lear, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, environmentalist and actor Ed Begley Jr. and film producer Stacey Sher have stepped forward to engage Hollywood in promoting Earth Day 2020. From India, actors Anil and Sonam Kapoor have joined in.
About Earth Day Network
Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, today Earth Day Network (EDN) is proud to be the world’s largest recruiter for the environmental movement, working with more than 50,000 partners in 196 countries to build environmental democracy worldwide. EDN works year-round through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer campaigns, bringing together citizens, governments, and businesses to create inclusive and non-partisan environmental progress.
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