Thursday, May 14, 2009

What are Green Art Jobs?

By Michael B. Schwartz

Green Jobs are jobs created as we transition from a carbon-intensive to a renewable energy-producing economy. While people tend to think of them narrowly, as jobs creating, installing and managing energy systems, Green Jobs are much more than that. Think of Green Jobs as any form of livelihood that:

• recycles and reuses, reducing waste and energy use;

• promotes awareness of the relationship of environmental, individual health and our role in protecting both;

• promotes awareness of the current transition to a green economy and engages people in acting on it.

• seeks to be self sustaining and regenerative resulting in long-term job security and wealth..

Through Green Art Jobs, artists can do all these things, integrating community, social and public art with sustainable and regenerative environmental practices, for example:

• Education: Teaching artists can use all art forms to teach green jobs-oriented curriculum.

• Transportation: Percent for arts projects integrate beauty and meaning into the transportation infrastructure through murals, sculpture, environments at transport stations and along highways.

• Energy: Collaborations among experts in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics can produce energy solutions that lift the spirit as well as reduce our carbon footprint.

• Construction: All public construction can include a percent for arts provision, commissioning murals, sculpture and other installations that educate, inspire and beautify.

• Restoration: Greenways, land and water reclamation, parks and wilderness corridors can include elements that integrate nature and culture, encouraging people to be mindful in their relationship to nature.

From retrofitting to new construction, Green Art Jobs will include a variety of enhancements using locally generated renewable resources. Artists working with teams of experts from a variety of sectors will insure successful outcomes. Artists engaged in social and community-based cultural development practices would bring their expertise to the table in providing meaningful and authentic participatory civic engagement.

We are at the dawn of a new era, demanding new inventions. They will emerge from communities that foster, encourage and support creative experimentation and decisions. Moving towards a carbon-neutral economy requires vibrant, and creatively engaged communities. Artists committed to community development have the requisite skills and knowledge to make this real. Green Art Jobs can have immediate impact through the creation of collaborative, community-based, carbon-neutral murals, theater, writing and video projects.

The vast amount of knowledge and expertise found in the environmental, social practice, community arts and education fields have already demonstrated the potential of this work. Connecting these practices to the Green Job movement will result in beautiful and innovative works of functional and interactive arts.

Artists are prepared to work with technical experts to unite their sensibilities and approaches in a support of a green economy.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Gimme Shelter - Opening Reception

As we explore what Green Art Jobs look like check out some of the wonderful work Zoe Cohen and colleages are doing over at the The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. One inspiring project is Gimme Shelter.

The center writes: "Gimme Shelter is a showcase of six temporary, functional woodland shelters located just down the hill from The Schuylkill Center's Main Building, across from the Cattail Pond. The project is meant to build awareness of the applied possibilities and meaning of sustainability and its impact on our lives and our connection to the natural world. The competition encouraged collaboration between artists, designers and architects, in order to demonstrate and promote new, unique, and inspiring approaches to sustainable design and building techniques."

These are great examples of what green-art structures look like, and gives us an idea of how they look in the urban environment - in playgrounds, right of ways, maybe even in place of a parking lot.

Check out Gimme Shelter and see some examples of what happens when artists, architects, landscape architects and enlightened environmental centers collaborate. I call that shovel ready!

Opening Reception:
May 9
/ rain or shine
2pm - 5pm
3pm / guided tour by design teams
Free and open to the pulic