Use art to help increase environmental awareness
May 25, 2017
As an artist, I'm always looking for new ways to use my talent to create awareness for environmental issues. I'm wondering if there are any local art projects I can get involved with? – Ben, Dillon
Thank you for your question this week, Ben. I will do my best to draw up an answer for you! Ever since the November election, there has been an increase in environmental art used for awareness-raising purposes. People are tapping into their creative minds in hopes that their work will spur emotion, dedication, support and unity. For example, photographer Chris Jordan puts over-consumption into perspective by capturing the waste left behind by humans. From massive piles of cellphones to crushed cars, he's using his talent to showcase the appalling debris from human waste. As I'm sure you've seen, recent news has covered a lot of sensitive topics such as EPA funding, the Clean Water Act, offshore drilling and climate change. Creating art to cultivate environmental awareness is a great way to break some barriers and create dialogue.
Art can be a great tool for creating awareness, but you must be wary about your messaging. Unlike news articles, art can be interpreted in several ways based on an individual's viewpoint. While this can benefit a lot of artists, you'll want to narrow down your focus if you really want to convey your piece towards a specific purpose.
So, how can you get involved in the local art scene? A great place to start is to visit BreckCreate's website and check out upcoming installations, events and workshops. One event to check out is the WAVE Festival happening June 1–4 by the Riverwalk in Breckenridge. This free Light + Water + Sound festival will feature illuminated sculptures, interactive art and digital projections on the riverfront. BreckCreate has partnered with High Country Conservation Center on the "Recycled Rain" installation and is looking for participants to help build the art piece which will be constructed with 1,000 used plastic bottles. Interested in helping to bring "Recycled Rain" to life? Head over to the Blue River Plaza in Breckenridge on June 1 from 5–7 p.m.
You could also consider creating your own usable trash-to-treasure at home. There are many ways you can reuse items for a new purpose, and while you may not consider this art, at least it's keeping things out of the landfill! You'll also become an inspiration for friends and family who might get inspired to create their own pieces from "trash." As an example, you can use tin cans to create beautiful upcycled planters. Or, take that old milk jug and use it as a season extender for your garden! These ideas and many more can be found by simply searching for "DIY upcycled projects" on the web.
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Another great way to support local art aiming to create environmental awareness is to take pictures at art events or rallies you attend and share them amongst friends and social media contacts. The more attention artists and art festivals receive for their work, the more impactful the work becomes. Just think about how many movements you see on Facebook or Instagram. I know that there are many I wouldn't have known about if it wasn't for my friends sharing updates. Who knows, the one person you share it with may be moved to change something in their own life.
Whether you are an avid artist and want to create artwork to inspire change or you just want to become involved in your community, showing appreciation for and participating in our local art scene can help increase exposure and awareness for society's pressing issues.
Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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