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Ecoart in Action: Activities, Case Studies, and Provocations for Classrooms and Communities

Edited by Amara Geffen, Ann Rosenthal, Chris Fremantle, and Aviva Rahmani

Published by New Village Press, 2022

Ready-to-go, vetted approaches for facilitating artistic environmental projects

How do we educate those who feel an urgency to address our environmental and social challenges? What ethical concerns do art-makers face who are committed to a deep green agenda? How can we refocus education to emphasize integrative thinking and inspire hope? What role might art play in actualizing environmental resilience?

Compiled from 67 members of the Ecoart Network, a group of more than 200 internationally established practitioners, Ecoart in Action stands as a field guide that offers practical solutions to critical environmental challenges. Organized into three sections―Activities, Case Studies, and Provocations―each contribution provides models for ecoart practice that are adaptable for use within a variety of classrooms, communities, and contexts. Learn more about the authors here.

Educators developing project and place-based learning curricula, citizens, policymakers, scientists, land managers, and those who work with communities (human and other) will find inspiration for integrating art, science, and community-engaged practices into on-the-ground environmental projects. If you share a concern for the environmental crisis and believe art can provide new options, this book is for you!

Please purchase your U.S. copy here, or Internationally here.

Ecoart in Action 2022 Virtual Book Tour
Event Recordings

Ecoart in Action: Fostering Social and Ecological Change (May 22)
Access the recording of the presentations here. Access the Q&A Recording here.

Ecoart practice has expanded in the 22 years since WEAD (Women Eco Artists Dialog)  was formed. Many members of WEAD, the Ecoart Network, and ecoartspace work within and with communities, listening (to the land), marshaling social capital, and serving as change agents in support of healthy ecosystems, environmental and social justice, and community resilience.  This presentation will provide an opportunity to learn about Ecoart in Action and consider the interconnections among our groups, opening up a wider conversation about ecoart. WEAD member-artists Vaughn Bell, Susan Hoenig, and Loraine Leeson—all contributors to Ecoart in Action —will share creative approaches for engaging communities and learners in ecoart practices. Susan Steinman, one of the co-founders of both the Ecoart Network and WEAD, will serve as moderator for a Q&A with the presenters; book co-editors Amara Geffen, Ann Rosenthal, Chris Fremantle, and Aviva Rahmani; and attendees.

Ecoart in Action: Transformative Projects in Pennsylvania (April 7) Access the recording here.

This inspiring and informative presentation featured Pennsylvania ecoartists in "Ecoart in Action.” Each of the five presenters discussed the project they authored in the book and provided an update on their current work. The speakers included Amara Geffen (Meadville), Stacy Levy (Spring Mills), Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry of the Land Art Generator Initiative (Pittsburgh), and Ann Rosenthal (Pittsburgh). Hosted by PennFuture.

 

Ecoart in Action - Food and Walking as Methods for Civic Engagement. This session was part of The Nature of Cities Festival (March 29, Recording TBA)

This  session drew on the practices of three contributors to  "Ecoart in Action," including Beth Grossman, Chrissie Orr, and David Haley, with session Chair: Chris Fremantle. This session took the form of a collective inquiry on creative approaches to civic engagement with communities and city halls, drawing on the experiences of three artists who have established ecoart practices.

College Art Association (CAA) Annual Conference (March 4 & 5, 2022)

Given that the CAA allows only conference attendees to access their panel recordings, we have invited our session panelists below to record their presentations via Zoom. We will provide links to these presentations as they become available. Bios of all the presenters as well as all authors and editors of the book can be found here.

 

“Ecofeminism and Ecoart: Moving from Rage to Healing,” March 4

Amara Geffen (chair), Aviva Rahmani, Leslie Labowitz-Starus, Susan Griffin.

The connection between ecocide and rape has been established through the work of Susan Griffin, Carolyn Merchant, Donna Haraway and others. Griffin’s work in the 1970’s clearly exposed the parallels between the treatment of women and the treatment of the Earth revealing the normative beliefs that allow for a view of “other” as something to be controlled, managed, and held in place by systems of violence, dominance, and oppression. With this in mind, the presenters discuss the essential and transformative relationships evident between the healing and caretaking of ourselves and the Earth. Further, they provide models for working with our own rage, suggesting that by taking action and cultivating attitudes of reciprocity we can transform dominant paradigms and move from rage to healing.

“Ecoart Strategies for Place-based Pedagogical Practices,” March 4

Ann Rosenthal and Chris Fremantle (co-chairs) , Lillian Ball, Brian Collier, Robert Ferry (LAGI), Eileen Hutton,
Eve Andree Laramee.

These presentations explore pedagogical approaches that support interdisciplinary, place-based projects from the US, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. They employ restoration, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and expand awareness of biodiversity, while providing opportunities for multi-/inter-/trans-disciplinary teamwork, fieldwork, and personal reflection. Joanna Macy’s three dimensions of the Great Turning— holding actions, Gaian structures, and shifting consciousness—provide a useful guide to navigate the strategies discussed. Ecoart pedagogies, honed over the last several decades, center ecology, community, and art as the lens through which learning occurs while offering models to transform education and inspire hope.

“Revisioning Pedagogical Practices through Ecoart Provocations,” March 4

Kerry Morrison & Chrissie Tiller (co-chairs), Hans Dielmann, Jenny Brown, Ruth Wallen, Chris Fremantle (discussant).

There is an urgent need to educate in ways that support the integration of knowledge across, through, and between disciplines. In these presentations we ask: How can we reframe arts-based pedagogy to address environmental and social issues through ecoart? What is the role of hermeneutics in challenging vertical structures of knowledge that keep disciplines apart and set important areas of human experience aside? Is it possible to unpack pedagogical and collaborative issues of power and privilege to support a socially equitable, deep-green pedagogical agenda? Can we refocus education to integrate human emotions? Given the extreme challenges of the global climate crisis, transformations of educational practices in the arts and humanities are urgently needed.

“Are we there yet? Resilience and Transdisciplinarity in Ecoart Since 1999,” March 5

Aviva Rahmani (chair), Patricia Watts, Changwoo Ang, Beverly Naidus, Stacy Levy, Amara Geffen (discussant).

Founding members of the Ecoart Network presented the 1999 CAA panel “Off the Mainstream, Into the Mainstream” to explore the state of environmental art  before the raging politicization of climate change. Now, 23 years later, we assess our progress and the impact ecoart has had on mainstream thinking regarding the role of art to address climate change or impact public policy. Organized by Dr. Aviva Rahamani, one of the nine founding members of our network, four presenters explore the role of resilience and transdisciplinarity in ecoart practice and the developments in ecoart practice today.

Changing the Paradigm: Ecoart in Action (February 17) Access the recording here.

Lynne Elizabeth, the book’s publisher, and co-editors Amara Geffen, Ann Rosenthal, Chris Fremantle, and Aviva Rahmani discuss their original vision and hopes for the book, what they saw realized, and the book's position in current ecoart literature. Moderated by Linda Weintraub, a short discussion between the panelists, led by Jan van Boeckel, segues to include attending contributors and a wider conversation with the audience in response to a Q&A.