‘Art. Durability. Activism.’ Coping with climate change through the arts

Cover of Mass Review Climate Issue

The third year”Art. Durability. Activism.which runs March 26-28, brings together the performing, visual, and literary arts with sustainability studies to provide a multi-faceted perspective on shared environmental concerns. The three-day series, which will take place at various locations on campus, is presented by the UMass Amherst Center for Fine ArtsMFA for Poets and Writers and School of Earth and Sustainability.

“Art. Sustainability. Activism.” (ASA) creates opportunities to connect artists, scientists and changemakers to learn from each other and take climate change into account with the aim of raising awareness, acknowledging climate bereavement and catalyzing meaningful change.

“We want this annual partnership on art, science and the humanities to reflect society’s best efforts to address the climate crisis,” said Michael Sakamoto, curator of performing arts at the UMass Fine Arts Center. . “We want to show creativity at the center of any solution.”

“Artists translate experience into the language of dance, the language of poetry, and the language of image and music,” says Professor Noy Holland of the UMass MFA for Poets and Writers. “A poet is a creator, a visionary who transforms the real, even the harsh reality of data, into a vision of what is possible. This transdisciplinary series creates a prism of empathy, a necessary imaginative act in which what is possible becomes imaginable, both gruesome and hopeful.

“With the unprecedented global challenges ahead of us, it is clear that science alone will not provide the solutions,” said Curt Griffin, co-director of the School of Earth & Sustainability. “We will need to foster new partnerships and build creative teams that merge the arts, sciences, humanities, innovation and culture. Our partnership with the Center for Fine Arts and the MFA is an example of how we are advancing the conversation towards a more just and sustainable future.

UMass Amherst is ranked among the top 10 public research universities in the United States for sustainability by the Association for Advancing Sustainability in Higher Education. The 2021 Sierra Cool Schools Sustainability Ranking places UMass Amherst in the top 20 of 328 schools in North America. The university has developed climate action and carbon mitigation plans to bring UMass Amherst to 100% renewable energy across the campus by 2032.

To attend these events in person, patrons must be fully immunized per university policy. Although masks are no longer mandatory, participants are encouraged to wear masks during the visit.

Art. Durability. Activism.

Programming 2022

Eco Lit: Readings from Paperbark Magazine and the Massachusetts Review

Saturday March 26 at 1 p.m.

Augusta Savage Gallery

Free for the public

paper bark magazine will celebrate the launch of its third issue in conjunction with the publication of The Massachusetts Reviewthe climate issue. Recent contributors to each magazine will read excerpts from their poetry and prose, with the aim of shedding light on ecologies in crisis.

Eco Lit: Kim Blaeser in conversation and reading

Saturday March 26 at 6 p.m.

John Olver design building

Free for the public

Poet and prose writer Kimberly Blaeser will read works past and present. A former Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Blaeser is the author of five books of poetry. A professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and MFA Professor for the Institute of Native American Arts in Santa Fe, Blaeser is the founding director of In-Na-Po—Indigenous Nations Poets.

little island big song

Sunday March 27 at 4 p.m.

Frederick C. Tillis Performance Hall

Tickets start at $20.

Featuring footage captured during a three-year cinematic journey through sixteen island nations and guided by the artists in their native lands, little island big song is a superb live collaboration bringing together the distant yet interconnected musical traditions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Art. Durability. Activism. Panel discussion with moderator Noy Holland

Monday March 28 at 7 p.m.

Bowker Auditorium

Free for the public

This culminating ASA panel features a conversation between artists, scientists, and activists working at the intersection of climate change, literature, and social justice. Featured guests will include members of the international artists of Small Island Big Song. It will be moderated by Noy Holland, professor in the MFA program for poets and writers.


The opening reception for Kabu MBII is NOLDA

Monday March 28 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Augusta Savage Gallery

Free for the public

ASA’s closing event is the opening reception for a new exhibition of large-scale paintings created in response to social, political and world events. Fueled by political and social upheaval, war, chaos and the degradation of our environment, artist Kabu MBII’s paintings explore the world and humanity, in their words, “removing the veil of illusion from its Current state”.