The Climate Justice Mural Project
By Carrie Ziegler, TCAT’s Community Engagement Organizer
In these times of multiple overlapping crises upending our ability to live our daily lives, art has a unique, critical, and powerful role to play. It can help us to bring forth our full humanity, even as we struggle with what is sometimes unthinkable. This is true of the triple crises we currently face: climate change, the COVID pandemic, and racial injustice. This spring and summer, we are creating an opportunity for members of the Olympia public to better come to terms with these crises using the power of art, and then using that new power, to determine steps we will take towards creating a world where each of us, our children, and our grandchildren can thrive.
In The Chrysalis Project: Transforming Together we examined where and who we are in the midst of these three crises. We used the metaphor of what happens as a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly inside of a chrysalis, imagining that each of us, and our society is currently inside of its own chrysalis, with the choice as to what we will be when we come out of the other side. With this in mind, participants painted their views of a just and equitable future. These were grand visions of what we want to see in the future.
In the Climate Justice Mural Project, we will focus on the tangible steps needed to get us to this envisioned future. We will host a workshop that brings together artists, volunteers, and subject matter experts. These experts will come from our community and will include representatives from TCAT’s climate action groups (Buildings, Transportation, Equity, Youth, Trees and Agriculture). The workshop will be part climate education, part visioning, and part art making.
Together, we will co-design and paint a mural, wedding participants’ experiences with, and solutions for, climate change, COVID, and racial justice with art, resulting in a public mural project. The mural will include imagery that represents tangible actions needed to create the thriving future we envisioned during the Chrysalis Project.
We are so often bombarded with negative, hard things in response to climate change. This project takes a different perspective, one filled with hope and art, one that can break down barriers and inspire real action. This project brings together art, science, and action. It presents a way for people who may not think of themselves as artists, but who have diverse and multi-faceted experiences and ideas, to work with artists to create something beautiful and inspiring. It will give artists an opportunity to work with people who bring diverse life experiences and unique artistic perspectives to the work. Artists will receive a stipend for their involvement in the design workshops.
One of our first steps is to find a great location for the mural. Do you have a suggestion for a wall to paint the mural upon? Maybe you know an organization that might be interested in partnering on this project? Let us know!
This project was made possible by the City of Olympia’s Grants to Arts and Culture Organizations (GACO) program.
How can we incorporate art into climate action? There are many ways to do so, one of them being the Chrysalis Project developed by Carrie Ziegler, TCAT’s Community Engagement Organizer. You can learn more about the art project and the impact it had on bringing together people in support of the TCMP by watching the short video below! The video was produced by Jenna Mason Media.