Creative Women Leading Climate Action
In the Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021, the Creative Women Leading Climate Action engaged women and nonbinary people in building an intergenerational network with a shared goal of creative climate action. This virtual symposium highlighted artists and arts professionals responding to climate change and provides opportunities for students to both learn from arts leaders and forge their own network as they pursue leadership in arts and activism fields. The events were open to UMass and Five College students, faculty, and staff, as well as artists and professionals at large.
Best of Show: Movement by Sepideh Faramarzi
Innovative Solution: Desert by Ponnapa Prakkamukul
Climate Justice: Yes We Must by Vanessa Adel
UMass Amherst Student: The Birds, The Fish, The Butterfly by Rongbing Shen
UMass Amherst Alumn: Dark by Sasha Pedro
Honorable Mention: Bees by Melissa Pandina
Honorable Mention: Elevator of Earthly Destruction by Melissa McClung
Runner Ups for Best of Show: While We Sleep by Marlow Shami, Day 200 by Margaret Wiss, and Elevator of Earthly Destruction by Melissa McClung
Juried Virtual Exhibition - Creative People Leading Climate Action
Exhibition Dates: April 16 – June 30, 2021
View the Exhibition
The climate crisis is upon us, but artists, poets, musicians, and emerging student artists are using their time and talent to make an impact. Get inspired into action by viewing nearly 200 pieces from more than eighty artists working to address the climate crisis. The virtual exhibition hosted by the Augusta Savage Gallery presents inspired art forms from across the US and Canada including sculptures, installations, paintings, videos, poems, and more.
INSTALLATION & PERFORMANCE - JuPong Lin: Poetics of Repair - Being Earth, Being Water
Digital Performance, Workshops & Exhibition, and Opening Performance Premiere.
Throughout the month of April, artist JuPong Lin exhibited Poetics of Repair — Being Earth, Being Water, an installation at UMass Amherst’s Augusta Savage Gallery. A participatory installation of poetry and paper cranes and canoes, Poetics of Repair concocted a medicine of decolonial love to mend our ravaged world. In addition, Lin offered live, online workshops and community performances, that were free and open to all. Each workshop included a guided meditation, poetry reading, and paper folding lesson. Students, regional libraries, and members of the public participated in the folding of cranes, canoes, or horseshoe crabs that became part of the exhibition. Those interested in learning to fold paper canoes, cranes, or horseshoe crabs requested paper and a booklet of JuPong's instructional poetry.
On Earth Day, JuPong Lin hosted a virtual tour of the co-created installation, a story circle, and a discussion about climate justice.
PANEL - Intergenerational Conversation: Art, Climate, and Action
Intergenerational Conversation: Art, Climate, and Action was a facilitated conversation co-moderated by Dee Boyle-Clapp, Arts Extension Service Director and Hind Mari, Women of Color Leadership Network, UMass Amherst. Panelists Susan Theberge, Climate Action Now; Carolina Aragón, Landscape Architecture UMass, Climate Visualization Artist; Nicole Young, Performance Poet and Philanthropy Professional; Wize (Uwizeyimana) Angelique, The Performance Project/First Generation; Kristin Neville, Executive Director and Founder of Blues to Green shared how they use their art to address the climate crisis. Following the panel discussion, participants joined facilitated breakout groups by art form to discuss how to use one’s art and work intergenerationally to inspire action and were encouraged to meet others and build networks to make a difference for the planet together.
Dee Boyle-Clapp, Sculptor, Director, Arts Extension Service (AES) and Arts Entrepreneurship Initiative (she/her)
Dee Boyle-Clapp teaches arts management and arts entrepreneurship courses and works at the intersection of arts and sustainability. In her Greening Your Arts Nonprofit Organization class, she teaches arts managers how to reduce their organization’s carbon footprint and increase community involvement by creating programming that inspires a sustainable future. She holds undergraduate degrees in art and art history from UW Madison, an MFA from UMass Amherst, and a Master's in Nonprofit Management from Regis University. She lives on a solar-powered llama farm.
JuPong Lin, Program Director, MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts, Goddard College (she/her)
A Taiwanese-born immigrant, JuPong Lin is an educator, cultural worker, decolonial artist, and institutional activist who works in solidarity with climate justice. Her community performances fuse Taiwanese ancestral traditions with poetics, paperfolding and Qigong. She cultivates kinship between peoples of different lands and creates bridges to ancestral wisdom and healing.
Chelvanaya (Naya) Gabriel, Artist (they/them)
Chelvanaya (Naya) Gabriel holds space within their work, and in community, where mixed media stories of trauma, disability, and neurodiversity, especially of QTBIPOC folx, can be witnessed and collectively processed. Creative Resilience, their latest project, is a highly adaptable art-based dialogue about wellness and resilience within an anti-oppressive framework.
Carolina Aragón is an artist and educator who uses public art to transform landscapes, engage communities, and teach students. She holds a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her artwork, inspired by natural phenomena, seeks to create moments of increased connection to place and environmental understanding through moments of wonder and play.
Wize (Uwizeyimana) Angelique, The Performance Project/First Generation, Performer, Advocate and a mother
Wize was born and raised in a refugee camp in Lukole, Tanzania. A Hampshire College graduate, she studied dance, theater, and psychology, and her thesis performance, Healing Through Storytelling and Embodiment was about the Rwanda genocide and how women suffered, were neglected, and shamed for speaking about their trauma and sexual violence. Her numerous major theater projects and dance projects include: Fon'ale, Tenderness, and Selections. Wize is an advocate for community gatherings, performing, and using human connection to heal. She is mother of her 16-month-old baby Keza.
Hind Mari, Director, Women of Color Leadership Network, UMass (she/her)
Hind is the director of the Women of Color Leadership Network at the Center for Women and Community. Her interests and expertise include women’s empowerment and advocacy work, with emphasis on understanding the intersections of our social identities; cross-cultural communication; conflict resolution; and leadership training. Her artistic sense shows up in cooking and creative writing.
Nicole M. Young, Writer, Educator and Nonprofit Manager (she/her)
Nicole M. Young is a performance poet, playwright, event producer, musician, nonprofit manager and educator originally from Detroit and now lives in Northern Connecticut. Autobiographical in nature, Nicole’s writing seeks to fill the spaces for those of marginalized majorities whose authentic voices are absent in mainstream media.
Susan Theberge, Co-Founder, Climate Action Now
Concerned about the climate catastrophe, Susan left her academic position to return to her roots as an organizer with a particular focus on racial, socio-economic, educational and environmental justice. Susan is a co-founder and Steering Committee member of Climate Action Now, a founding member of Sugar Shack Alliance, and helped organize and remains active with the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition. Her primary focus is to help build a powerful, inclusive mass movement to respond to the climate emergency and the injustices of the capitalist system.
Kristin Neville, Executive Director and Founder of Blues to Green, the nonprofit presenter of the free annual Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival.
Kristin was inspired to use her connections in the music world to bring arts access to underserved people and leverage the arts as a tool for social change. (She is the wife of the late Charles Neville of the New Orleans based Neville Brothers). Blues to Green promotes accessibility to the arts through our annual free music festival, public talks, and music workshops that celebrate the rich heritage of American music, especially in connection with communities of color; provides educational and artistic opportunities for underserved youth; and raises awareness of and boosts work on social and environmental issues. Kristin has a master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from UMass Amherst.
September 30- October 15, 2020
KEYNOTE - What Does the Earth Ask of Us? A Virtual talk by Robin Wall Kimmerer
We are showered every day with the gifts of the Earth and yet we are tied to institutions that relentlessly ask, what more can we take? Drawing upon both scientific and Indigenous knowledges, this talk explored the covenant of reciprocity. How might we use the gifts and the responsibilities of human people in support of mutual thriving in a time of ecological crisis?
Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, writer, and Distinguished Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, and the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment. She is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and a student of the plant nations. Her writings include Gathering Moss which was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for Nature Writing and the bestselling Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. As a writer and a scientist, her interests include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land.
Co-presented by the Feinberg Series, Arts Extension Service, Creative Women Leading Climate Action, and partners
WORKSHOP - CWLCA Story Circle
A workshop facilitated by JuPong Lin, Program Director and MFA in interdisciplinary arts at Goddard College. Movements for social justice, climate action, and climate justice rely on the rich, oral story-sharing traditions in virtually every culture of the world. Drawing on those practices, a story circle was hosted by Lin. Questions such as “what are your dreams for future generations?”, and “what gifts do you bring as an artist/professional/leader?” were explored.
WORKSHOP - New Fables for a New World
Two workshops were facilitated by Dr. Terry Jenoure, Interdisciplinary Artist. Fables teach lessons, offer wisdom, encourage compassion, and suggest a needed change. Through guided experimentation with sound, words, and found objects, these workshops turned concerns for the environment into performative arts activism. Engaging in a wide range of art experiments and drawing on both scientific knowledge and personal stories participants built new and original fables that encourage novel grass-roots solutions to our climate-related emergencies. Workshop participants shared a brief presentation with CWLCA attendees at the end of the workshop.
PERFORMANCE - For Her, Terre Parker
Augusta Savage Gallery presented REVIVAL/50: Terre Parker, a YouTube premiere of Parker’s environmental dance video, For Her.
Dance artist Terre Parker’s site-specific performance entitled For Her celebrates the body’s kinship with the living land. The dance artist and educator seeks to expand assumptions about what dance is, who can dance, and where dance happens. Created in collaboration with Barbara Cortez-Greig, Liz O’Brien, and Elizabeth Pangburn, Terre Parker dedicates this performance of For Her in the following way: “This dance is for her. We unmake ourselves and remember ourselves in her image. In her three faces, we see ourselves.”
PANEL - Creative Climate: Inspiration and Activation
A panel moderated by Dee Boyle-Clapp, Director, Arts Extension Service, UMass Amherst. Panelists include Emmalie Dropkin, Extinction Rebellion; Anais Reyes, Climate Museum; Exhibitions Associate; and Raquel de Anda, curator and cultural organizer, and Arts Production Coordinator, People’s Climate March, NYC.
Climate change is upon us, and we have limited time to act. There are many arts organizations leading the fight locally, nationally, and internationally. This panel of artists/arts managers shared the work that their organizations are engaging in, from awareness campaigns to direct actions demanding substantive change in policy and practices on campus and beyond. Panelists shared how they balance optimism with realism in the face of dire climate news, and action steps that we can all take individually and collectively, even during the pandemic, to make a difference for the planet, and move from fear and surrender to action.
PANEL - Climate Change and Communities of Color: How Artists are Responding
A panel moderated by Hind Mari, Director, Women of Color Leadership Network, UMass Amherst. Panelists include Dr. Diana Alvarez, Artist Scholar; Naya (Chelvanya) Gabriel, Artist; and Erika Slocumb, Artist.
The United States was built on the foundation of colonialism, capitalism, and slavery by extracting human and natural resources from indigenous and enslaved peoples, destroying their ways of life, and a previously balanced relationship with the environment. Racial injustice is intrinsically tied to climate change as a result of this history. The latest manifestations of this relationship can be seen through the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19, climate change, and police brutality on BIPOC, among other issues.
Artists of color have been imperative to the climate and racial justice movement through their various media. This panel included three amazing artists who talked about their art and the important work they are doing.
Creative Women Leading Climate Action is presented by the UMass Arts Extension Service, Augusta Savage Gallery, Women of Color Leadership Network, College of Humanities and Fine Arts Advising and Career Center, Department of History Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series, Department of Theater, and UMass Amherst Center at Springfield with support from Women for UMass Amherst, UMass Sustainability Innovation and Engagement Fund, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Arts Extension Service’s Arts Entrepreneurship Initiative.