Students as Artists for the Earth
Inspiring Emotion and Action Through Art
Art is a medium that has the power to capture attention, inform an audience, and move people to action. Using art as a way to communicate can provide students with the opportunity to express their hopes and concerns while developing new skills and flexing their creativity. As the impacts of climate change continue to impact the lives of students around the world, particularly in terms of mental health and feelings of safety, art can be a productive outlet for students to process their concerns and frustrations. Art also serves to bring people in a community together to view the pieces have discussions about what thoughts or feelings are brought up on the subject, and what actions they can take to make a positive impact.
Environmental art can be informational and emotive and can take form as a short film, community mural, reclaimed trash sculpture, living art displays and so much more. Invite your students to work on projects that represent issues local to their community and issues that impact people around the world.
Here are some ideas of ways to use art in your Earth Day plans or in your classrooms year-round. Feel free to use any of these as a fundraiser to donate to a local conservation group or to raise money for a new green improvement to your school or organization.
- Recycled materials design and fashion show
- Invite local artists to exhibit or teach a workshop
- Nature photography exhibit
- Short film creation project and screening event
- Paint a mural on your building that inspires hope for a green future
- Earth Day poster contest
- Participate in the Great Global Cleanup™ and create a trash to art workshop
- Poetry reading
- Environmental essay contest
When planning an art project or event, think about what issues or topics resonate with your community and find ways to follow up the event with an action component. Your audience will be more engaged if they can relate to the topics they see and are given tools and resources for actions they can take. Inspiring emotional responses in students and community members can be helpful to spark action, but make sure to end on a positive note of hope and change-making that allow your audience to feel motivated to make a difference.
Check out our Artists for the Earth website for more examples of environmental art.
Share Your Story
We love to hear about the projects you and your audiences work on and share them within our Educator Network Newsbites (ENN). Email us at [email protected] with photos, videos, stories, and quotes about what you and your students are doing for Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary! Tag us in your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts with #EarthDay2020 and tag us @EarthDayNetwork.
Subscribe to the Educator Network Newsbites to stay tuned for our Project Spotlights. We might highlight your work!