Climate Change and the Role of Public Art

June 28, 2020, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Session Type: Panel

Climate change has shifted into climate crisis. We are now increasingly aware that the actions taken thus far are not working. Weather extremes are more common. Legislature is changing. Activists are growing in number. Many communities are launching new rounds of climate action planning and mobilization. It is a reality we can no longer escape, and systemic-level changes need to happen now. And although we do not have immediate solutions, we must act with courage and compassion. Equity must be at the center of our climate crisis action – systemic injustice and institutionalized racism have caused people of color to bear the greatest cost of climate change. The role of artists and cultural leaders is to tell this story by going to the heart of the issues at hand. Efforts focused on the more tangible and tactical factors—installing more solar, putting in more bike lanes, even managing land to capture more carbon -- are important parts of the solution, but we need to look deeper into our cultural narrative. This panel discussion is a deeper dive into the experiences of three artists invited to work with communities to make change. The discussion will specifically focus communal conversations and outcomes illustrated through public artworks, and is not a conversation about individual projects and experience, but a collective and collaborative one. Proposed participating artists include: Matthew Mazzotta, Benny Starr, Mary Mattingly, Grandmother Nancy, and Jason Bregman – Michael Singer Studios. The panel would be facilitated by Mandy Vink, AFTA PAN Council member.
Learning Objectives:
  • Hear unexpected and encouraging perspectives in climate commitment and climate crisis conversations, specifically how artists are conversing with, engaging in, and responding to this critical topic.
  • Engage in conversations about how climate change impacts us ALL and how
    artists and cultural leaders can be at the forefront of a systemic and equitable change, which considers how positive changes will only be successful if they equally impact us ALL.
  • Have access to practices that push traditional boundaries of public art in response to climate commitment.