Did you know that 2020’s fire season had not one, but three, record-setting wildfires here in Colorado? Have you seen one of our 946 species of native bees buzzing in your garden? Or played on a playground next to one of our 80,000+ active and abandoned oil wells?
From wildfires to fracking, each week of this quarter’s Art as Activism class at New Vista brought us to investigate a new environmental challenge playing out in our backyards. We studied the causes and implications, asking important questions like, “where does methane come from?” and “how will switching to renewables affect jobs?” We learned about how artists are collaborating with scientists to create important dialogue around complex issues by merging the intellectual with the emotional.
Each day we tried on different artistic styles and mediums to expand our skills and practice our creativity. Students made multimedia collages, formed pollinator seed balls, and layered potent text on beautiful imagery to send powerful messages about the world they want to see.
For their final projects, students tackled a topic that they were passionate about, and their projects were as diverse as their interests! One student created a 3D model of an oil well separated from a house, exploring the relationship between the seen and the unseen. Another made a time lapse video of the earth in flames as held in our hands, with a call to action to reduce our footprint.
These students used their gifts to send messages of power and change. Imagining a new environmental paradigm takes all of us—how will you use your voice?
Written by Cottonwood Institute Art as Activism Workshop Instructor Chelsea Tossing
See more student art from this course here!