Many Thanks! Part Three of Heating Up: Artists Respond to Climate Change

by Lora Jost, Sara Taliaferro, Thad Holcombe, Juda Lewis, and Amanda Monaghan

NOTE from the USDAC: This is the third of three blogs on Heating Up. We want to share all that went into this impressive series of events cosponsored by the USDAC Lawrence Field Office. Part One detailed the wide range of activities working in unison. Part Two was be an interview with planning committee member Sara Taliaferro, focusing on how the series was organized and the impacts it has already had. Part Three, below, lists all of the people and groups who helped make it possible, and what they did.

The exhibit Heating Up: Artists Respond to Climate Change and related events contributed to an important conversation in our community about climate change and demonstrated our deep commitment to the people and creatures of this earth. Through our efforts we forged friendships and sowed the seeds for what we hope will be future collaborations on this and other important social justice and environmental issues.

The exhibit and event series was an all-volunteer effort and a huge undertaking. It was led by a joint planning committee of the USDAC-Lawrence Field Office and LETUS (Lawrence Ecology Teams United in Sustainability, a coalition of faith-based ecology teams in Lawrence.) The planning committee wants to acknowledge and thank all of the individuals and groups who helped make this project possible.

The seeds for this project grew out of a 2014-event in Lawrence, KS, called The People’s Climate March Maker/Speaker Party (see more here), a project in solidarity with The People’s Climate March in New York City. The Maker/Speaker Party was the first USDAC Lawrence Field Office and LETUS collaboration, and the kind of project that the national USDAC leadership and LETUS were encouraging at the time. The USDAC/LETUS group later partnered with Gary Dorr, a KeystoneXL “pipeline fighter” from Oyate Wahacanka Woecun, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe's “Shield the People” project. Dorr brought the USDAC/LETUS event together with an event that was in the works at Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU), and our joint event took place at South Park in Lawrence, KS.

Joan Stone dances to the poetry of Elizabeth Schultz during their performance  Mrs. Noah in Poetry and Dance .

Joan Stone dances to the poetry of Elizabeth Schultz during their performance Mrs. Noah in Poetry and Dance.

The Maker/Speaker Party inspired members of the USDAC-Lawrence Field Office and LETUS to work together again, kicking off a year of informal idea sharing and discussion before more concrete plans were made for a new project. Additional brainstorming occurred through a LETUS-led discussion series on climate change, and at a meeting sponsored by the Kansas Area Watershed Council.

The USDAC/LETUS planning committee began intensive work on the exhibit and event series in the summer of 2015, towards project completion the following spring. Thank you to committee members Thad Holcombe, Lora Jost, Juda Lewis, Amanda Monaghan and Sara Taliaferro for driving the project over the course of many months, and for taking the lead on coordination and implementation. Pablo Cerca, Jill Ensley, and Ariday Guerrero also helped with committee work. They and committee members wrote proposals; coordinated outreach to environmental groups, art organizations, artists, and speakers through meetings, phone calls, email letters, and office visits; fronted money for the project and requested donations; chose event dates and coordinated plans with multiple groups, performers, and venues; wrote and emailed press releases and community calendar announcements to numerous newsletters and media outlets; did an extensive radio interview and spoke to the press; regularly updated our parent organizations; created and maintained Facebook pages for each event; created a project webpage; designed, printed and distributed posters and flyers; took on the roles of panel facilitator, emcee, and “carnival barker” at three events; installed the art exhibit that also included our own artwork; coordinated food and beverages for receptions; set up, attended, participated in, and photographed events; and hosted a thank-you party. Whew!

Many others from the broader USDAC-Lawrence Field Office and LETUS groups were involved, too. We especially appreciate the support of Dave Loewenstein, Jill Ensley, Nick Ward, KT Walsh, Amber Hansen, and Michael Bradley. Thanks to Theresa Wilke of LETUS, for reaching out to the Spencer Museum of Art’s “Art Cart” towards their involvement. Thanks to Chuck Magerl for helping with outreach to HINU professor Daniel Wildcat, and for event advertising at his popular restaurant The Free State Brewery. An important meeting early in the planning process included representatives from Lawrence-based arts and environmental groups and the University of Kansas (KU), who provided feedback on our early project proposal and suggested artists to involve. Representatives from HINU provided feedback on the project, too. Kirsten Bosnak was an important consultant on media outreach, and the Lawrence Journal World, Topeka Capital Journal, Indian Leader, and KKFI’s EcoRadio KC, covered our events.

Thanks to the following groups and individuals whose direct involvement in project events made each one possible. A big thank-you to HINU professor Daniel Wildcat for consulting with us on the panel discussion How Can We Work Together on Climate Change and for making connections for us on the Haskell campus. Dr. Wildcat welcomed us into his office for many impromptu meetings and arranged the use of a lecture hall at HINU for the panel event. We also appreciate the help of his student assistants Alexander Rodriguez, Barb Wolfin, and Lori Hasselman. Thanks to the panelists Thad Holcombe, Eileen Horn, Jay T. Johnson, Saralyn Reece Hardy, and Daniel Wildcat; to singers Ron Brave and Alex Williams; to HINU student artists for their work displayed at the panel reception; and to LETUS members who provided cookies and drink for the reception. Thanks, too, to woodworker Mark Jakubauskas for building artistic wooden boxes as gifts for the panelists and singers.

Thanks to poet Elizabeth Schultz and dancer Joan Stone for their beautiful collaborative performance, Mrs. Noah in Poetry and Dance. Thanks to Caryn Miriam-Goldberg and Ken Lassman for their careful planning and caring facilitation of the writing workshop, A Change in the Weather: Writing From Climate Change Art. Thanks to Kristina Walker for coordinating the Spencer Museum of Art’s “Art Cart” event, Landscape Transformations. Thanks to Neal Barbour, Director of Youth Education at the Lawrence Art Center, for putting us in touch with the student curatorial team Hang12. Hang12 coordinated the teen exhibit Effecting Change, and Will Hickox of the Watkins Museum of History arranged for the museum to exhibit their work. A big thank you to the HINU student group Eco Ambassadors, who coordinated Haskell’s 1st Annual Wetland Restoration Day, a workday that involved many community volunteers, and was an important affiliated event in our series.

A big thank-you to the board of the Lawrence Percolator for their support of our project and for the use of their space, with special thanks to Bobbi Rahder, Matt Lord, Sean Sullivan, and Eric Farnsworth. We love you Lawrence Percolator! Thank you to HINU professor Joshua Falleaf for connecting us with HINU art teachers David Titterington and Rachel Van Wagoner, who reached out to HINU art students to participate in the Heating Up-exhibit and helped them develop their art and deliver it to the Lawrence Percolator.

Daniel Wildcat makes a point during the panel discussion  How Can We Work Together on Climate Change , with panelists Jay T. Johnson, Eileen Horn, Saralyn Reece Hardy, and Thad Holcombe.

Daniel Wildcat makes a point during the panel discussion How Can We Work Together on Climate Change, with panelists Jay T. Johnson, Eileen Horn, Saralyn Reece Hardy, and Thad Holcombe.

We wish to thank all of the artists, poets, and performers whose work appeared in the exhibit Heating Up: Artists Respond to Climate Change on opening night. Special thanks to Robert Baker, Josh Connor, and Roger Holden of The Delta Blues, and Amber Hansen, Johni Lacore, Monica George, and Cheyenne Hansen of Ovaries-eez, who collaborated on a musical adaptation of Langston Hughes’s I've Known Rivers. Thanks to Dennis Etzel, Sandy Hazlett, Nancy Hubble, Denise Low, Topher Enneking, and Mary Wharff for their poems and poetry reading; to Maureen Carol and Sara Taliaferro for helping with the reading; and to Doug Hitt for sharing about his coauthored book, A Kansas Bestiary.

And finally, thanks to the amazing artists whose work provided the scaffolding for this entire project (you are amazing): Marin Abell, Angie Babbit, Samuel Balbuena, Georgia Kennidee Rikie Boyer, Matthew Burke, Ethan Candyfire, Pablo Cerca, Rena Detrixhe, Jill Ensley, Neil Goss, Lisa Grossman, Kyuss Hala, Oliver Hall, Lori Hasselman, Eleanor Heimbaugh, Nancy Hubble, Lora Jost, Kayla Kent, Cleta LaBrie, Dave Loewenstein, Amanda Maciuba, Katie Manuelito, Justin Marable, Nancy Marshall, Amanda Monaghan, Molly Murphy, Tim O’Brien, Hirsuta Pilosa, Cameron Pratte, Laura Ramberg, Michelle Rogne, Damia Smith, Kent Smith, Vi Stenzel, Sara Taliaferro, David Titterington, Garret Tufte, Alyx Stephenson, Geraldine Emily Walsey, KT Walsh, Nicholas Ward, Mary Wharff, and Cortney Wise.