Climate change is HERE and climate change is happening NOW. It is not a figment of your imagination and the weather outside indeed is "frightening."
As I write this, the UK is getting battered by unprecedented storms and in California where I live, we are facing the possibility of a MEGA drought. As a long-time artist, writer and educator, I have been sounding the alarm bell for years. The question loomed large for me: How are we, as a collective society, going to tackle a huge problem?
That was when I had a light-bulb moment.
The idea came to me last year when I realized we need to have a multi-modal approach to addressing climate change. A hands-on, interactive dialogue with great visuals. In order to tackle the problem we needed to look at all the different aspects of climate change. And thus, the "The Art of Climate Change" was born - and the idea for a project: an art show and exhibit. But not your typical art show!
This show would be interactive and get people thinking about SOLUTIONS to climate change, challenge them to think out of the box, and most importantly, educate them about the how and wheres of climate change plus why places like the Arctic matter. This show could travel to cities and communities all over, and be a blue-print for teaching people about climate change and engage their own local artists, inventors and community in learning about "the problem."
But first I needed a venue to do the first show, and that would be one of the biggest hurdles. I connected with a local gallery, pitched the idea to them and they were impressed. In fact, they really liked my idea because it was "different" because it talked about solutions, not just doom and gloom. So now that I've been approved by their Board of Directors, I've got my venue and the show has taken on a life it its own.
The Art of Climate Change has its venue! Whoooppee!! The show is on the datebook - and it will be in run from June 19 - July 27, 2014 at The Sun Gallery in Hayward, Ca. (located in the Silicon Valley area)
I need help and support however to pull this off. This is a huge endeavor and the show has many different facets to it. I have many costs involved: Marketing, advertising, sign production, printing for the science graphics, some travel, equipment rentals (laptops and TV screens), art supplies, website hosting and building and other production costs... and this is why I am asking for your help. Not only will there be "art" on the walls but there will also be a series of artwork by children on endangered species that I have been teaching for the last several months.
The sections of the exhibit have been broken down into the following areas:
1. A section where we talk about "The Problem". This is where we talk turkey and explain the problem and take a good look at it.
2. There will be a section of the exhibit dedicated to extreme weather photos and art. Like they say, a picture can tell a thousand words, right?
3. Next we need to talk about "The Arctic and why it matters". Those record cold snaps happening in the US? Those are one of the strongest symptoms of our melting Arctic. That's due to our now meandering jet stream.
4. The Methane Monster. Yes there are monsters and this is probably one of the biggest ones we need to be worried about. Remember the dinosaur extinction? Well, scientists say that methane was their undoing. And we certainly don't want to go the way of the dinosaurs, right? So yes, we need to talk about the elephant in the room - that pesky methane monster. Which, by the way, is being released in some pretty scary amounts right now from underneath that warming Arctic water. No, it's not good. Not good at all.
5. A section just for THE CHILDREN and EDUCATION. This is the biggest reason I am doing this project. I want to be part of the solution to securing their future. One of the big parts of this project is teaching the kids. Right now I am doing a series of projects with them on endangered animal species. The way I look at it is if we can "teach the children we can touch the world." Their artwork will be prominently displayed in the art/show exhibit. So far they have done done art of endangered Polar Bear cubs, the Monarch Butterfly, Bees, Barn Owls and the Maui Dolphin.
6. A section with a "CALL TO ACTION"....this is where attendees are encouraged to engage with the problem so they can BE PART of the solution...which btw is the next big part of the art show/exhibit....
7. SOLUTIONS. This is where I have things planned that are definitely out of the box. Like inventions to slow down climate change by friends of mine that happen to be very creative too.
So that is my Kickstarter project in a very big nutshell. The really exciting thing though is how this blooming project has just sort of "vacuumed people" up...all kinds of people...from all around the world! Here are some of them that are going to be part of my project:
- Climate Change Professor Paul Beckwith from the University of Ottawa, who will do a live Skype Q & A session with us. Attendees can sit down face to face with a leading climate change educator and ask questions about climate change from inside the show.
- A life size mural of a Polar Bear with an Arctic scene, painted in the show/exhibit hall by muralist Lisa Hamblett-Montagnese.
- Photographer Rose Gold will make the day even more special for kids by taking photos of them with the Polar bear.
- A display of children and families climate change (endangered species) artwork from students of the Sun Gallery, A Joyful Noise Learning Center, Green Forest Art Studio, The Community Church of Hayward and Young Rembrandt's of the East Bay.
- A live viewing of Andy Lee Robinsons video on a flat screen TV which will be available for viewing all during the exhibits 5 1/2 weeks. Andy's video shows the decline of the Arctic ice accompanied by a musical composition by Andy called "Ice Dreams"
- A graphic of "The Arctic Death Spiral" by Andy Lee Robinson, to be displayed in the Arctic section of the show.
- A full size poster by Sam Carana (of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group on FB and the Arctic-News blog) on the effects of runaway climate change, designed by Sam and displayed in the Arctic section.
- Original cartoons by Sam Carana, also an adviser on this project, displayed in the Methane section of the show.
- Quotes with ideas by Harold Hensel, another AMEG member and adviser on this project.
- A full size poster of a tunnel invention as a possible solution to our warming waters by Patrick McNulty. Posted in Solutions.
- A display of alternative fuel named "Bio-Fuel" with information by inventor Jay Toups. Posted in Solutions.
- A live aquaponics display by Michael and Natalie Elola of Lucky Garden Hydroponics on how to grow vegetables and fruit indoors without using soil. Posted in Solutions.
- A full size Polar bear costume mascot to be used for outreach. Designed and sewn by Nancy Martinez
- A call for art by The Sun Gallery for extreme weather photos, climate change art and recycled and re-purposed art
- A display of childrens books about climate change. Joe Santiago's books will also be featured. Displayed under Education.
- The original video for the project will be displayed on a flat-screen video at the show for 5 1/2 weeks. Video editing and production by Mead Rose at Web Design by Mead.
- Artistically designed Climate change confections by pastry chef Cori Diaz for the Artists reception
- A local rock/punk band that sings songs about climate change. They will sing at the Artists reception.
- Educational tables set up by the City of Hayward with information about the cities climate change plan along with other entities like the EPA, Water Conservation Board, EBMUD and Waste Management.
- Deagon B. Williams, friend and adviser on this project.
- Advertising help with the project by Trish McDermott of Avatar Tech Pubs.
Risks and challenges
I have been working on this project already for over 4 months, successfully pulling people together to either create art for the exhibit, or to contribute educational material. The biggest obstacle for the show was of course the venue but I have the venue for the art show/exhibit set in stone from June 19 - July 27 of this year. A solid foundation has been made, the main thing I need help with now is the financial expenses that the show will cost me - like the rental of equipment to do the live Skyping session with Professor Paul Beckwith, and the special art projects I plan to do within our community. I also have plans to do more community outreach to reach more local public agencies and I plan to have more events centered around the show (how much I can do will be determined by how much funding I get)
How will I deal with any special surprises or costs that I might not have possibly factored in? I will do what I always did in business, I will work with the issue and either adjust or downsize that particular part, - possibly even bartering for services, or ask for donations to help with a particular cost.
What unique challenges might I have after the project is funded? Well I don't foresee any emergencies but if there are any, I have a network of people that will help and advise me through any major problems. The only thing I see is that I may not be able to accommodate all the art that may come in, but that's a good problem to have! Better to have more than not enough - and director Liesa Lietzke and Jacqueline Cooper at The Sun Gallery where the show is will be able to help walk me through any major hiccups if there are any.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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