Yearly Archives: 2014

Invisible Teamwork

This post comes from Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

Bethany Bartran
Bethany Bartran

Bethany Bartran is an Oklahoma-born painter currently living in The Netherlands by way of Houston, San Diego, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Boston and Athens, Greece. She describes her work as “(r)evolving around global, cultural, scientific & political ~ communications, atmospheres, and pollutions… and not necessarily in that order.” Additionally, as an artist married to a climate scientist for more than a decade, the imagery and issues surrounding this topic have  slowly worked their way into her work (see her website and Flickr page). I am especially fascinated with how she appropriates scientific imagery we have all become familiar with, and invites us to look at it in a different way.

How did you become interested in addressing climate change in your work?

When I was younger, I didn’t have any particular focus in my work. I was just showing what was around me, my idiosyncratic take on my surroundings. For example, I’d paint my dreams, or the way the light hit the wall in a corner of my room, and blow it out of recognition, take it totally out of its context, I guess to see what remained recognizable, what remained true. But naturally, as you get older you become more conscientious about what’s happening in the world, and you become wiser. When you travel or move around a bit, like I have, sometimes the things that are the furthest away take on a sense of immediacy. Your ‘surroundings’ start including things that are further and further away, or invisible even. Climate change is something that affects you no matter where you live. I really do feel like a citizen of the world, and this is our generations’ single biggest “elephant in the room”… I suppose I like the idea that I can bring this concept into people’s hearts and minds, on to their living room walls, where they will sit back with their feet up and think about things, allow themselves to be open to acknowledging our problems, and possibly even solutions. That’s the way inspiration works, you float the idea and someone catches it and runs with it. Its sort of an invisible teamwork that we do in society. We all have a role to play.

Several of your paintings are inspired by scientific imagery. In making this imagery your own, what do you hope to communicate?

I want to be accurate, in a way. I know that must sound absurd when you’re looking at my work with a huge spill here and a splash there.. there’s nothing ‘accurate’ about it. In fact, when I’m “in the moment” it’s all feeling and no reservations… just guts. But I’m conveying a force of nature that otherwise wouldn’t be identifiable, or relatable. Science is a very handy way to look at things, everything is extremely defined and logical. There’s no second-guessing about what it ‘means’ and no room for confusion or emotional interpretation. I guess that’s my job, to bridge that gap.

 What are people’s reaction to your work? Do they immediately recognize that it is dealing with climate change issues?

Well, some do, some don’t. Everyone seems to have a different opinion! So far, it’s far from settled. I’ve gotten several comments that people disagree with their partner or spouse on which ones are their favorites. That means they’re talking about it and thinking about it, so I’d say, it’s a good reaction. We could use a similar discussion on a global scale, so I’d like to reach a lot more people. Naturally, art is always more powerful when seen in person, but I’d love to hear this group’s reactions.

track and intensity of all tropical storms
track and intensity of all tropical storms

What do you think is the single most important thing artists can do to address the problem of climate change?

Artists are very sensitive to things that many people wouldn’t account for or have time to consider in their daily lives. This sensitivity allows artists collectively to hold a mirror to society. To give something form, shape or voice is a reaction to a public need to examine our wishes and hopes, as well as our laments. I dare say, we are in changing times, not only with regard to our planet’s ability to sustain us, but we are also shaken politically, financially, technologically and morally to the core. Sometimes you just ‘know’ that something needs to be made, I often “see” a piece in my minds eye and then can’t let it go until its made, even if it takes years. Then, after it leaves the studio, art takes on a life of its own. Some pieces go very far, and see lots of attention and care, and others languish unseen and dusty in the back of a closet. The important thing for artists to do is to keep creating work that engages people, and hope that it fills a need in the society, wherever it finds itself.

What gives you hope?

That the ‘old guard’ will change. The era of industrial capitalists is on its way out, and it will usher in a new, respectful way of living and engaging with each other and our planet. I do sincerely hope it happens in my lifetime, for my kids’ sake.


Artists and Climate Change is a blog by playwright Chantal Bilodeau that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

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How wolves change rivers

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Mary Bourne highlighted this amazing short film. We are only just beginning to understand the complexity of interactions between different living things in any system. Wolves are not just top predators, it’s not just survival of the fittest, systems are not simple cause and effect, physics is not the correct metaphor.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
Go to EcoArtScotland

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Sustainable Living Festival

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Febuary 8th – 23rd, 2014.


The Sustainable Living Festival raised awareness and provided tools for change by showcasing leading solutions to the ecological and social challenges we face. The Sustainable Living Festival aimed to inspire and empower everyday Australians to accelerate the uptake of sustainable living.

The Festival attracts over 150,000 visits annually and engages with hundreds of organisations and individuals to stage Australia’s largest and oldest sustainability festival.

SLF 2012 from SLF on Vimeo.

The Festival’s expanded program engaged individuals and communities across Victoria to host and promote sustainability events. Beyond this, the Festival has extended the reach of the sustainability message to the cities, suburbs and streets of the nation.

The Festival’s Big Weekend event at Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne celebrated the very best examples of ecological and social sustainability. The event embraced interactive workshops, talks, demonstrations, artworks, exhibits, films and live performances.

‘The Sustainable Living Festival is a manifestation of a commitment to healing our environment, a demonstration of diverse proposals for changing our behaviour and reducing the damaging impact we are having.’

Dr Moss Cass, Australia’s first environment minister, SLF patron.


Visitor Info


Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

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Re-Use Your Party Dress and Donate for Prom Night

This post comes to you from the Broadway Green Alliance

Have a fancy dress you no longer wear or fit into? Want to help send a girl to her prom in style?

Local 1 member Annie Miller is collecting used party dresses to be donated to the Orange Ulster County BOCES Special Education Program. She is teaming up with Broadway’s Green Captains to get the word out that the Broadway community can help make these girl’s dreams come true.

The dresses collected will be altered for the girls to wear to their senior prom for those that cannot afford to buy a dress.  The IRS allows deductions up to $500 for clothing donations without a receipt. BOCES can give receipts for dresses donated that cost more than $500.

Please email Annie at or drop off your dresses at the BGA office, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1312.

Please help every girl feel like a Cinderella on her prom night!


The Broadway Green Alliance was founded in 2008 in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) is an ad hoc committee of The Broadway League and a fiscal program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Along with Julie’s Bicycle in the UK, the BGA is a founding member of the International Green Theatre Alliance. The BGA has reached tens of thousands of fans through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other media.

At the BGA, we recognize that it is impossible to be 100% “green” while continuing activity and – as there is no litmus test for green activity – we ask instead that our members commit to being greener and doing better each day. As climate change does not result from one large negative action, but rather from the cumulative effect of billions of small actions, progress comes from millions of us doing a bit better each day. To become a member of the Broadway Green Alliance we ask only that you commit to becoming greener, that you name a point person to be our liaison, and that you will tell us about your green-er journey.

The BGA is co-chaired by Susan Sampliner, Company Manager of the Broadway company of WICKED, and Charlie Deull, Executive Vice President at Clark Transfer<. Rebekah Sale is the BGA’s full-time Coordinator.

Go to the Broadway Green Alliance

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This post comes to you from Cultura21

Edith Cowan University Western Australia, on Feb. 19th, 2014.


The aim of the Colloquium was to establish a dialogue between creative arts and critical studies researchers, scholars and students, around the idea of working with nature, as proposed by Warwick Mules in his book, With Nature, which was launched at the colloquium. Working with nature is the counter-practice of remaking material things in resistance to the “denaturing” of the world by globalisation. By working with nature, things become reconnected to nature in an open, creative matrix of possibilities, more closely related to the earth. Earthed things give meaning back to the world to counter the meaninglessness of a globalising world of total value exchange. These ideas have been proposed in Warwick’s book, With Nature: Nature Philosophy as Poetics through Schelling, Heidegger, Benjamin and Nancy (Intellect, 2014).
Confirmed speakers include Glenn Albrecht, Oron Catts, Rod Giblett, John Ryan, Nandi Chinna, Gregory Pryor, Paul Uhlmann and Perdita Phillips. Included the launch of Warwick Mules’ With Nature followed by a launch of 3 poetry books by Glen Phillips.
More information here.


Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

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HowlRound: Climate Scientist’s Challenge to Artists

Via HowlRound.

Playwright Karen Malpede recently wrote an essay for HowlRound, a Center for the Theater Commons, highlighting how tragedy and theater needs to be restructured around the truths of climate change. At the end of the essay, she highlighted important theatre artists and playwrights making work to begin challenging art to take on a more active role in leading climate change, including a regular contributor to the Center of Sustainable Practices in the Arts Chantal Bilodeau.

Here is the beginning of Karen Malpede’s article:

Relatively recently, the climate modeling of climate scientists has allowed us to see into the future. While we don’t know everything we know enough to ask if we wish to damage the planet beyond repair in this the new Anthropocene era, when the earth’s ecosystems are being altered by human beings at an unprecedented rate. The knowledge we now have thanks to climate models creates both a terrifying certainty and a spiritual dilemma for every person. And to confront the spirit, humans turn to art. Literature changes paradigms, whether the literature of the Bible or of the great Greek Tragedies, we learn our selves through the word.

To read more of how she traces climate’s importance and the arts’ historical role in shaping paradigms like climate change, see here for the full article.


Festival in Australia: ‘Arts+Climate=Change 2015’

This post comes to you from Culture|Futures

The Australian organisation CLIMARTE is developing a major festival of climate and culture which will take place in 2015.


CLIMARTE is an independent not-for-profit organisation in Australia that aims to harness the creative power of the arts to inform, engage and inspire action on climate change.

With the collaboration of participants such as Carbon Arts, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Heide Museum of Art, Tarrawarra Museum of Art and the Centre for Contemporary Photography, the festival ‘Arts+Climate=Change 2015’ is intended to engage the arts community and its wide diversity of audiences.

The organisers hope this and other projects will “help make climate change register in people’s hearts and minds, make them demand the sort of action that we need if we are to avoid the worst case scenarios of climate change.”

“Growing up I was lucky to be surrounded by beauty and mystery in artworks and in nature. I want the same for my children and for theirs in turn. I know that climate change is happening. I want urgent social, economic and technological responses and yet this isn’t happening. I hope that art might be one way to make people think. I might be wrong, but opposite my desk hangs an artwork by Los Angeles based street artist Ian Morely. It says ‘If you’re reading this, there’s still time’,” wrote Guy Abrahams, CEO and co-founder of CLIMARTE, in an article in Crikey’s Daily Review of the arts.

Guy Abrahams is a former lawyer and gallerist who left the commerce of art to focus on arts projects that would promote environmental sustainability and counter the threat of climate change. As a founder of the organisation CLIMARTE – Arts for Safe Climate, he is creating an arts network to inspire the broader community to take action on these issues through relevant events.

In the Daily Review article, Guy Abrahams discusses the reasons for establishing CLIMARTE and why he thinks the arts can be a positive force for change. An excerpt:

“The question for CLIMARTE is: can art “rearrange our sense of reality” about the state of our planet, sustainability and climate change?

Throughout history the arts have played a major role in recording and reflecting the state of human society, and the natural world of which society is but a part. At certain times, the arts have also been a catalyst for change, a call to action, a pricking of our collective conscience.

In Australia, there are Aboriginal rock paintings of animal motifs that may be 40,000 years old. These works clearly indicate the importance of the natural world to the people who created them. We have early Eurocentric visions of landscape by John Glover and Fred Williams’ revolutionary evocation of our unique bush. Now Mandy Martin’s bleak coal mine pocked landscapes, Fiona Hall’s tapa cloth depictions of our over exploited oceans, and Janet Laurence’s mystical and mysterious flora and fauna, allow us to see and feel the reality of this new human dominated age – the anthropocene.”

» Read the article here:

» CLIMARTE’s home page:


The photo above shows Mandy Martin and the artwork Vivitur Ex Rapto (for Bulga) 2014. Photographed by Alexander Boynes

Mandy Martin is one of the artists who will join a panel at CLIMARTE’s public forum ‘Climate Art Ethics: What role for the arts?’ on Saturday 15 February 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.

Mandy Martin is an Australian artist with a national and international reputation for conservation and landscape. Her work is well represented within Australian public galleries and museums, as well as at the Guggenheim Museum New York, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno.

Imprint Magazine published a Climate Change Issue in 2013, which contained an article by Guy Abrahams from CLIMARTE. The magazine is not online, but the cover, an editorial and the index can be seen here:


Culture|Futures is an international collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an Ecological Age by 2050.

The Cultural sector that we refer to is an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policy-making, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research and development. It is those decision-makers and practitioners who can reach people in a direct way, through diverse messages and mediums.

Affecting the thinking and behaviour of people and communities is about the dissemination of stories which will profoundly impact cultural values, beliefs and thereby actions. The stories can open people’s eyes to a way of thinking that has not been considered before, challenge a preconceived notion of the past, or a vision of the future that had not been envisioned as possible. As a sector which is viewed as imbued with creativity and cultural values, rather than purely financial motivations, the cultural sector’s stories maintain the trust of people and society.