Artists are responding to the growing concerns for the future of our planet through their artwork. A great example is the new installation, “Sustainable Studios,” in the Eckert Art Gallery at the Winter Visual and Performing Arts Center at Millersville University. From now through May 5, the installation brings to life artists’ concerns for the climate and how to work toward climate resiliency. The gallery includes works from Nicole van Beek, Jill Good, Silas McDonough and Samantha Sanders.
Heidi Leitzke, associate professor of art and director of the Eckert Art Gallery, explains the type of artwork included in the installation. “The four artists featured in Sustainable Studios provide various models for how artists and concerned citizens can pursue solutions toward climate resiliency in their studio practices and daily lives,” she says. “Exploring a range of media including bio-based inks, reclaimed textile quilts, mushroom foam wall relief, kombucha leather, reclaimed material sculptures and more. These works of art embrace creativity and represent the positive actions we can take now to fight our imperiled earth.”
When deciding which artists to include in the installation, Leitzke kept the concern for climate change in her mind. All but one of the artists are local to Lancaster County or to a surrounding county to minimize the travel and shipment of the artwork.
When visitors enter the exhibition, they are encouraged to ask themselves a few questions:
- What might sustainability mean for artists and makers?
- What is a sustainable material or art-making process?
- Does this work of art need to last forever? Or could I consider a biodegradable alternative?
- How can artists create space for conversation about challenging topics in our community?
The main goal of the installation is to encourage sustainable practices, Leitzke explains. “We are asking Millersville University students and artists/makers from Lancaster City and County to consider the sustainability of their studio practices.”
Sustainable Studios is supported by a grant from the Positive Energy Fund. The fund converts building energy savings from utility rebates and the Lombardo Welcome Center’s energy to provide funding for faculty, staff and student-led projects.
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