Last night I went to a benefit party in New York for a wonderful organization that uses art and performance to make cleaning up the local environment fun.
Earth Celebrations was founded by Felicia Young as an organization that uses art and performance to raise local awareness in New York City about the environment of the Hudson River. It’s landmark annual event is the Hudson River Pageant – a costumed street party that brings people together, celebrates the river and raises awareness about environmental issues as well as the progress being made in cleaning up the local environment.
But it doesn’t stop at just one street party. Preparations for the party and the use of Art & Ecology workshops bring together artists and other interested parties to design the costumes and, in the process, talk about the ecological issues and opportunities that they would like to address.
Through a series of collaborations with schools and community centers, Earth Celebrations also engages “children, teens, and community participants to explore, research and learn about ecological issues“. All ideas and information collated through the workshops are transformed into artworks.
Earth Celebrations is one example of how engagement in environmental issues can be made to be enjoyable fun rather than a merely a tale of woe. It also shows the power of local engagement.