Crowdfund a Creek Cleanup with the Help of Your Local Art Community

Pablo Picasso was a truly groundbreaking artist; throughout his career, he dared his audiences to find aesthetic value in the chaotic, the rough-edged, and the conventionally ugly. One of most famous sculptures, Bull’s Head, is a simple yet powerful image built out of discarded bicycle parts.

Today, Bull’s Head is remembered not only for its stark, paradoxical beauty, but for its role in the formation of the “found art” genre. Today’s artists work with a variety of found materials, ranging from bicycle parts to electronic waste to tin cans, to create beautiful pieces which frequently make statements about the environmental impact of waste.

If you’re involved in watershed protection, then you’re probably familiar with the uglier side of found objects. As frustrating as it is to see the natural beauty of our communities’ creeks and rivers marred by inconsiderate people’s trash, it can be even more frustrating to attempt to gather funding and volunteer resources, so necessary for creek cleanup and protection programs.

Painting by Sandra Steffensen.

There are many creative ways to ease these frustrations, and one of them involves reaching out to your local art community. Chances are, there is an art gallery or art club in your region which hosts themed art shows. These shows frequently function as fundraisers for libraries, animal rescues, women’s shelters, and other noble causes–so why not host an art show celebrating your community’s watershed?

An art show gives watershed protection activists an opportunity to get the local community involved in saving the environment, both by volunteering for projects and by contributing to crowdfunding campaigns. By embracing the theme of found art (or the broader theme of sustainable and recycled media), an environmental art show can call attention to the most immediate environmental problems faced by your community.

Photos via Co.Exist and Mother Nature Network.

Confronted by images of nature and pollution in conflict, the people who attend the show will have a strong incentive to take action to protect their community’s watershed. This is a perfect opportunity to share local and national Creeklife actions that need crowd funding assistance. You may also find artists eager to donate part of the proceeds from their work to the cause of protecting your community’s watershed.

Every watershed is unique, and so is every art community. To get started on an ecofriendly art show, inquire at local art galleries, art museums, libraries, and schools, searching artists who may be on board with your vision. Don’t be afraid to use some creativity in finding a space for your show, either. Schools and libraries may be willing to let you use their spaces inexpensively, and many powerful environmental art shows have taken place along the banks of the rivers they are dedicated to.

Aer Project via Green Museum.

Although organizing and putting on an art show takes a little effort, it can yield a huge return in terms of your community’s environmental awareness and participation in crowdfunding efforts. The found art genre is just one example of the intersections between the art community and the environmentalist community. These intersections provide watershed protection activists with a unique and valuable opportunity to protect the creeks and rivers their communities depend on.

Posted by Mark Contorno.

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