Source: Ted Glasoe
Over the last eight years, Evanston artist Ted Glasoe has focused his photography on Lake Michigan’s beauty, but over time, he came to understand the way it is “abused” and “polluted.” Glasoe’s pieces now take on new meaning: they are a call for action to protect the lake.
“Lake Michigan is a huge natural resource in our backyard,” Glasoe said. “I’m just trying to get people to care about it.”
Work like Glasoe’s is why Liz Cramer, co-director of Evanston Made, founded “Art for the Earth,” a program Evanston Made plans to launch in April 2020. Cramer aims to use art as a forum to talk about environmental issues, celebrate the Earth and think about how to solve the climate crisis.
She plans to engage Evanston residents in programming that culminates on April 22, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
“Unfortunately, we are now at the crisis stage,” said Cramer. “It’s important for people to be aware, but more importantly, to feel empowered to do something.”
“Art for the Earth” will begin on April 4. Cramer said the artists and galleries that participate will center their work around the natural world and introduce residents to the month’s theme. From there, Evanston Made will host events for residents like artist talkbacks, readings, film screenings and workshops. Evanston Made will host a window display contest and wants to partner with Evanston schools as well.
Joyce Elias, a local artist, started planning her involvement with “Art for the Earth.” Elias photographs Lake Michigan every day and has shared the pictures on social media for about five years. She assigns each photo a color based on the weather that day, which inspired her to create other pieces like wood collages. Elias will show a collection of her works, titled the “Artist’s Weather Project,” at the Evanston Public Library in April and talk about the environmental change she said she “accidentally” documented.
“I go to the same beaches in Evanston every day to take pictures, and I’ve noticed that they’re being washed away,” Elias said. “I hope people notice what’s happening.”
For events like Elias’ presentation, Cramer is coordinating with green organizations in the city, such as Citizens’ Greener Evanston, to educate the event’s attendees. While Cramer said art can give entry to grim topics like climate change, she wants environmental advocacy groups to share their knowledge with residents as well.
“Art can facilitate personal connections about protecting our planet,” Cramer said. “But information from these environmental advocacy groups can answer residents’ questions and tell them where to turn next.”
Another aspect of “Art for the Earth” is the “buy art, plant a tree” initiative. Cramer said it’s still in the works, but for each piece sold in April, galleries or artists will donate a portion of their profits to Evanston Made to plant trees in all nine wards in Evanston. Cramer said Evanston Made will gift the remaining funds to an organization like One Tree Planted, a non-profit that plants one tree for each dollar donated.
Cramer said Evanston Made committees are currently planning the program. Evanston Made’s website will be updated as more events are solidified, and soon there will be a section for residents to sign up to volunteer. Cramer encourages all residents to participate and reach out to her if they have ideas.
“My goal is to have everyone involved,” said Cramer. “Saving the Earth is something we can all unite over.”
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