Earth Day 2010: Joining Art and Science

This Thursday marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, an annual day of environmental awareness. Events are happening all across campus, from a student-organized sleep-out on Foss Hill to a Connecticut trail maintenance outing this weekend to the bi-weekly farmer’s market that has become such a staple feature of campus life.

The CFA is also hosting several events. In recent years, we have become increasingly interested in exploring environmental issues. As you may know, with Feet to the Fire we began a campus-wide initiative to investigate climate change using art as a catalyst. Our intent was not only to shed light on a matter of urgent societal concern but also to experiment with how science and art intersect and inform one another.

In celebration of Earth Day and in the spirit of Feet to the Fire, the CFA and Environmental Studies have teamed up to present a panel discussing the role of the arts in illuminating environmental issues. Panelists include Marda Kirn, founder and executive director of EcoArts; Cassie Meador, member of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange; Godfrey Bourne, associate professor of biology at the University of Missouri, St. Louis and director of the CEIBA Biological Station in Guyana; and our own Barry Chernoff, professor and chair of the Environmental Studies Program. We’ll also be premiering Paul Horton’s 30-minute documentary film Connections Within a Fragile World, about Chernoff’s and Meador’s co-taught course which took place in Guyana.

Environmental awareness is also featured in this weekend’s presentation of Reggie Wilson’s The Good Dance—dakar/brooklyn. While The Good Dance, which explores the secular and religious traditions of river cultures in Central Africa and the Mississippi Delta, does not take a specific stance on environmental issues, it does feature the striking visual image of over 300 plastic water bottles on stage. Continuing our collaboration with student environmentalist groups on campus, the CFA is collaborating with the TAP THAT! bottled water awareness campaign, a program of the Wesleyan’s Environmental Organizers Network (EON). During the Q&A sessions following the performances, EON will distribute the water from the bottles to the audience and provide information about bottled water in the lobby. After the performance, EON will reuse the bottles in an art installation in the Usdan Campus Center, after which all of the bottles will be recycled.

Wesleyan Earth Day Celebration:
Joining Art and Science to Engage Environmental Issues
Thursday, April 22, 8pm
CFA Hall
Free Admission

Reggie Wilson / Fist & Heel Performance Group:
The Good Dance—dakar/brooklyn
Friday & Saturday, April 23 & 24, 8pm
CFA Theater
Pre-performance talk by Allison Hurd ’11 on Friday, April 23 at 7:15pm, CFA Hall (formerly CFA Cinema)

For more Earth Day events happening this week, see the calendar organized by SAGES, Wesleyan’s Sustainability Advisory Group for Environmental Stewardship.