Capturing People’s Imagination to Capture Their Participation
How do you get people’s attention in a way that moves them to action?
This is the question that climate change begs — and that CORE and the City of Aspen must tackle as we work together to help people save energy and cut carbon pollution in the Roaring Fork Valley. The crisis will take all of us to solve, so it’s imperative that we involve more people in the solution.
Understanding that engaging people’s imagination is just as important as engaging their minds, the two organizations are collaborating on a new community outreach project called The High Five that brings art into the climate conversation.
The goal is to get more community members taking more energy-saving steps, that ultimately, will result in fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Note the word “steps.” That’s where a new art project, Snow Drawings, gets its inspiration. On March 16, artist Sonja Hinrichsen will present a community environmental art project that uses the steps taken by snowshoers to create a monumental work of outdoor art.
She makes large-scale environmental art pieces, scribing lines in the snow (what she calls “snow canvases”) using snowshoes and a team of community volunteers. Together, they “draw” large patterns in the environment by walking lines into fresh snow surfaces.
The artist describes these communal events as “a symbiosis between immersive nature experience, walking meditation and collaborative art-making.” Her aim is to more deeply connect people to their natural environment.
As moving as the resulting work is, the Snow Drawing project is not art for art’s sake. The project was selected in part because it employs an individual mark to create a collective impression, much as individual energy-saving actions create a collective impact. In that way, CORE and the City will use Snow Drawings to demonstrate how each step, however small, contributes to a greater whole.
“This is a new way to tell a story that connects the dots between personal action and communal impact,” says Mona Newton, CORE’s Executive Director.
And not just for those making the artwork. The piece itself is ephemeral, lasting only as long as the next snow storm, or snowmelt. However, enduring aerial photographs reveal to a larger audience how the landscape is transformed into a piece of art through cooperation. Sonja observes: “This changes our perception of the landscape and accentuates the beauty and magic of the natural environment, and thus inspires awe and appreciation for art, as well as for nature.”
CORE and the City hope that the stunning imagery, combined with a new way of looking at the natural world, will resonate with the Roaring Fork Valley. The public participatory art project — one of two privately-funded endeavors the organizations will produce this year — has the “wonder factor” to arouse curiosity and inspire conversation. They hope it will provide an entry point to learning more about what’s going on in our rapidly changing world. The project will kick off The High Five, the multi-faceted, yearlong public awareness campaign that the partners are launching next month.
“Once we have captured people’s imagination, we’ve got the energy-saving actions, education and incentives ready to capture their participation,” says Lara Whitley, Marketing and Engagement Manager for CORE.
“In this way, art has the potential to change the way we think about — and act on — climate.”
Check out a video of this project, created by local filmmaker Sam Blakeslee, here.