Art and Activism Series

Past Events

In this web series we will discuss ways that artists actively engage in creating climate solutions and promoting sustainability.

No. 1: "The Art of Playing with the Rain"

A presentation by Christina Bertea

Dec. 7, 2020

Two compelling needs—to provide emergency water security, and to alleviate stormwater pollution, are making it imperative that the broader community adopt rainwater catchment strategies and manage stormwater constructively.

 

This presentation will explore how artists are making design innovations (and having fun) with rainwater capture and storage. We’ll also wade into some notable public art stormwater interventions.

No. 2: "Trash Talk"

A presentation by Kate Kuaimoku

Jan. 25, 2021

Trash art and artists, how they—and you—can repurpose otherwise discarded materials. Talk will focus on creating works using post-consumer waste. Themes are focused on, but not limited to, assemblage, signage, and eco-building materials.

No. 3 "Art as Verb: Collaborating with Nature"

A presentation by Stacy Levy

Feb. 22, 2021

 

Eco-Artist Stacy Levy collaborates with natural processes like rain, tides and erosion. This lecture will address how art can create ecological legibility as well as ecological solutions.

 

By embracing change, observing and mimicking the action of natural processes, art can begin to make real changes to the environment. She will show her many rain infiltration works as well as projects that mitigate water pollution and shoreline erosion.

No. 4: “Embodied Climate Justice: Dance as Connection"

A presentation by Sophie Spiral (they/them)

March 25, 2021

 

In this webinar session, Sophie Spiral presents some examples from the Masters Thesis they are currently writing to bridge the climate justice movement and dance theory worlds. In addition, they will share some practical activities of how to use embodiment to encourage a kind of BEing that will foster a transition away from fossil fuels to more socially, racially just and equitable systems.

No. 5- 'Artists: Essential Workers & Visionaries'

A presentation by Betsy Damon

April 29, 2021

 

Betsy’s talk will bring us along on her journey from eco-feminist performance artist (on Wall Street!) to passionate water activist currently creating a book, Water Talks. This is her story of how water led her to become conscious of the inter-connectedness of all life.

No. 6-  'Art as Strategy' 

A presentation by Aviva Rahmani

May 27, 2021

 

“I sometimes think of myself as a warrior against ecocide. Beauty is my shield but art, music, law, science and stubborn persistence are my weapons. In my event for WEAD, I will focus on two projects in depth, Ghost Nets (1990-2000), how it morphed into other work and a theory of change and The Blued Trees Symphony (2015-present). Both continue. The former restored a coastal town dump to flourishing wetlands on a remote island in Maine. The latter composed a continental scale aerial symphony out of tree-notes. It contested the interpretation of eminent domain law by claiming copyright protection for a sonified biogeographic installation and in a mock trial, won an injunction against a corporation..." - Aviva Rahmani

No. 7-  'Individual Impact: Finding an Activist Life' 

A presentation by Mary O’Brien

Oct 24, 2021

 

How does one make any dent in the massive task of impacting our human footprint on the earth? And what issues get included? Mary O’Brien firmly believes individuals hold the keys to solving our greatest environmental challenges through lives lived as seekers, doers, activists, and artists.

No. 8-  “Taking Action”

A presentation by Susan Leibovitz Steinman

Nov 21, 2021

 

Susan Leibovitz Steinman, sculptor, painter, cherished art/activist, WEAD Co-Founder and Magazine editor will share about her own work and her first person experience with WEAD as it evolved from producing a paper directory to supporting a digital online platform.

 

In 1996 Susan Leibovitz Steinman, Jo Hanson, and Estelle Akamine created WEAD, (originally named Women Environmental Artists Directory), in response to increasing requests for artist referrals and for designing eco art exhibits and programs. In 1998 Estelle retired, and Jo and Susan gathered a group of 10 activist women artists, creating the WEAD Board of Directors. This collective volunteer creative force continues to grow WEAD’s impact in the world.

 

The WEAD website was begun in 1999, reaching the largest audience with the smallest carbon footprint and cost. In 2008 printing on paper ceased and the Directory was moved to the website. In 2012 the website was upgraded with improved access and more interactive pages. Susan created the pioneering online WEAD MAGAZINE in April 2010.

No. 9-  “Taking Creating  a Tiny House "ART Village " For Homeless Youth:  Art Saves Lives"

A presentation by Sally Hindman

Jan. 23, 2022

Sally Hindman, artist, homeless activist and Quaker,  will describe her journey founding Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA) in Berkeley, CA. YSA provides job training for at-risk youth 16-25 in the Bay Area, using art as the vocational medium and vehicle for healing and transformation.

 

In 2016, the youth initiated a community organizing campaign to build tiny houses for their homeless peers. Now twenty-six colorful, youth-designed houses have been built and are providing youth with safe shelter in a Tiny House Village in east Oakland.  Sustainable community living practices such as gardening, healthy diet, cooking together, and recycling are nurtured. The structures themselves model sustainable materials: one common space is “SIP” construction, the Welcome Center/Store & Artisan Space is constructed of straw bales with earth plaster, and a container module building project is under way. A state of the art shower/toilet trailer recycles shower greywater for toilet flushing. The entire space is vibrant with energy and potential, and is intended to cultivate beneficial habits and life skills that will help the youth move on to more permanent living situations.

No. 10-  "Celebrating the Local: 25 Years of Placemaking in Northwest Pennsylvania"

A presentation by Amara Geffen

April 24, 2022

By engaging local communities in the creation and beautification of public spaces, we can transform our communities. Through the leveraging of local social and creative capital, artists can facilitate and strengthen community capacity in a celebration of the local. Amara’s commitment to applying her skills as a visual artist, community organizer and visionary (aka: someone with the ability to imagine and manifest positive actions) provides a model that can be improvised upon to engage in the work of transforming people and places for social and environmental justice.

 

In this presentation Amara will share her experience working with three communities over a 25 year period. Her Art & Environment Initiative (A&EI), founded in 1997, facilitates community-centered and environmentally-focused public art projects. 24 projects have been completed many constituting a Public Art Trail through Meadville, PA.

No. 11-  "A presentation by Sant Khalsa: Of A Personal (and Political) Nature"

A presentation by Sant Khalsa

JUNE 24, 2022 

Sant Khalsa, ecofeminist artist, curator, and activist shares the evolution of her integrated art-life practice, which develops from a mindful inquiry into complex environmental issues. Her artworks create a contemplative space where one can sense the subtle and profound connections between themselves, the natural world, and our constructed landscapes. 

 

She discusses a number of her significant art and activism works including her 20+ year Paving Paradise photographic project on the Santa Ana River and Watershed, the largest coastal water system in Southern California; Western Waters photographs and installations about the commodification of water; and her current curatorial research for the 2024 exhibition and book The Survival of the Joshua Tree. Integral to her art and activism is in-depth subject research, collaboration with scientists, and engagement with non-profits and diverse communities.