Re/Imagine: How Artists Interpret the World


Curator Amy Lipton was invited to present on the work of ecoartspace at the The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI)  re|ACT: symposium on arts and environment March 3 & 4, 2017 at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Brown University.

The symposium initiated the BAI and brought together cutting edge artists, curators and scholars whose work engages with the multiplicity of environments in which we live. From the natural environment to data mediascapes to sonic ecologies, re|ACT showcased the latest arts practice and research that reacts to and with the environment.

A consortium of six art departments and two affiliated programs representing the performing, visual and literary arts at Brown University, the BAI is designed to foster an interdisciplinary environment where faculty, students, artists and scholars in a wide range of fields from across the campus and around the world can learn from and inspire one another.

Lipton was invited to participate on a panel titled, re|IMAGINE: How Artists Interpret the World. Visual artists and curators who respond to the world around them, whether they view environments as politicized, natural or social.

Each panelist discussed their individual practices, which had a common theme—how the making of art can be a tool for social and cultural change. David Buckland described his organization, Cape Farewell, which has sponsored expeditions involving more than 350 artists calling attention to climate change. Seitu Jones shared his public installation work in his hometown of St. Paul, MN, including The Community Meal, a mile-long, outdoor dining experience that connected over 2,000 residents through locally sourced, healthy food. Amy Lipton related how she and Patricia Watts, co- founders of the ecoartspace gallery without walls, have paired artists with scientists, engineers, architects and botanists, using “art as a pathway towards a more sustainable and resilient future.” Paul Villinski spoke of repurposing the detritus of his neighborhood into artwork evocative of flight and building a self-contained ecosystem in his studio that nurtured live butterflies, recurring imagery in his work.

Asked by moderator Anne Bergeron if artists have a responsibility to engage in political or social action, the panelists agreed that responses will vary by individual, but each must reflect on this personally. “It takes time to come to that place [of artistic activism],” said Lipton, “but it’s urgently needed.” Villinski invoked President Barack Obama: “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change, and the last to be able to do anything about it.”

“Leave your community more beautiful than you found it.” —Seitu Jones

See Panelists page for more information on the individual panelists. #BAI2017