Growing Center Kicks Off Climate Arts Convening on June 17
This past Earth Day, the Growing Center hosted a kick-off and awareness raising event for the Climate Arts Convening, a summer series aiming to bring together artists and climate-conscious community members and activists.
When it comes to thinking about and addressing climate change, “it’s insufficient for people to connect to this only through the head, and only in technical discussions. That might induce fear and stress in a lot of us,” said Leigh Munier, a local musician and activist who worked with the Growing Center’s Lisa Brukilacchio to launch the Climate Arts Convening. “The arts offer many ways in for people to process, express, heal, and get involved,” said Munier.
Twenty people gathered for the first convening at SomerNova on Saturday, June 17, exploring ideas and opportunities to interweave the arts and climate change action. Five key themes emerged touching on food, greening the Green Line, using arts to motivate politicians, democratizing data and using art processes to collect data. Working teams are self organizing and welcome new members.
“There are a lot of artists locally whose art and songs already have to do with climate, nature, sustainability,” said Munier. “But they might not know each other, don’t have connections to collaborate with each other.”
The events provide the chance for meeting in inclusive spaces with language services provided as needed. Connecting artists to climate information and funding opportunities through climate organizations is a hoped-for potential outcome for participants. Events will also help bring people into new spaces they might not have visited before, helping folks to discover community resources.
The Climate Arts Convenings received some grant funding from the Somerville Arts Council, a local commission that is supported by the Mass Cultural Council and the City of Somerville. This funding is being used to pay those whose labor supports the programming, such as interpretation services, or facilitation services, which are being provided by the Connection Lab. The Climate Coalition of Somerville is supporting the convenings with outreach and day-of support.
“Activists and others are yearning for other ways to connect to people, especially locally,” said Munier. “A lot of us don’t necessarily have the language around the loss and news of climate change, this heaviness and grieving and sadness and anger. We want to reach people through joy and the heart,” said Munier.
In addition to her community and climate advocacy work, Munier, a self-described "rock’n’roll kid," writes music and plays in the funky party band, “Lunatic Neighbor.” You can check them out at Porchfest, the Foodie Crawl, East Somerville Main Streets events, and at the Union Square venue The Jungle later this summer.
Save the date for a subsequent convening the evening of Monday, August 7 to take place at Connexion, 149 Broadway. The hope for the convenings is to bring together climate activists and concerned residents with local artists for refreshments and a chance for facilitated, in-person organic conversations aiming to break down silos and help connect people with a wrap-up event to celebrate and report out in the fall. To sign up to learn more, complete this project Google Form or reach out to Lisa at email@example.com.