Art & Environmental Justice Symposium 

The Mural Arts Institute is hosting a two-week long series of events exploring the intersection of environmental justice and art. Building upon the work of artists and activists stewarding this work across the country through the Arts and Environmental Justice Capacity Building Initiative, Mural Arts Philadelphia is bringing together conversations, workshops, and events that highlight transformative cultural practices and participatory public art that shift ecological, political, and social experiences of front-line communities.

This annual symposium invites you to engage with how creative people and practices are helping us explore the intersection of racial, environmental, and economic justice and meeting the specific calls of the moment. Please join us in person for a full day of programming at the Free Library of Philadelphia on September 14, and at hybrid events hosted in Austin, Bakersfield, Philadelphia, and Santa Fe from September 12 – 23, 2022.


Calendar of Events 

Monday, September 12 - Virtual 

Earth Justice and Blues Epistemologies: Our Life-Sustaining Cultural Practices

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Date/Time: Monday, September 12, 2022 at 5:30 pm EST
Location: Zoom
Cost: Free
Speaker: Dr. Mia Charlene White

Earth Justice using specific resistance projects practiced by historically marginalized communities. By connecting these cultural practices to a broader conceptual framework called “blues epistemologies,” Dr. White will use her positionality as a radical geographer to provide generative ideas for linking embodied, place-based organizing to theoretical ways-of-knowing. Participants will come away with concrete examples of community resistance as well as introduction to a theoretical model that links social ecologies/community-based resistance and concepts rooted in the Black radical tradition.

REGISTER FOR MONDAY SEPTEMBER 12

Wednesday, September 14 - In Person 

Land Acknowledgement and Opening Remarks

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When: September 14, 2022 at 10:00 am EST
Where: Free Library Terrace
Speakers:

  • Land Acknowledgement by Denise Bright Dove Ashton-Dunkley, Artist & Member of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape nation
  • Jane Golden, Executive Director, Mural Arts Philadelphia
  • Helen Gym, Philadelphia City Councilmember At-Large

 

Practicing a More Just Future

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When: September 14, 2022 at 10:30 am EST
Where: Free Library Terrace
Speakers:

The Climate Justice Initiative uses the power of public art to tell stories about the causes, effects, and solutions to the climate crisis in Lenapehoking (the greater Philadelphia region). We are a collaboration between front-line organizers, activists, and artists, convened by the Environmental Justice Department of Mural Arts Philadelphia.

This session will describe the intentionality of the project’s collaborative, horizontal practice as well as the participatory research process that led to its goals and structure. Collaborators and members of the strategy circle will also honestly reflect on lessons learned from difficulties that arose over the course of the project, including supporting autonomous spaces and including Indigenous voices.

Aqua Marooned! Exploring Nature Through Art and Games

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When: September 14, 2022 at 11:30 am EST
Location: Free Library Terrace
Speakers:

Aqua Marooned! is a new card game that premiered in Fall 2021 across the Delaware River Watershed, commissioned by the Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River (AWE). The game is part of the region-wide art initiative Lenapehoking~Watershed and connects the three states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware through humor, wit, and nature exploration. Created by Philly-based immersive experience company Swim Pony and meant to be played outdoors, the game’s beautifully-illustrated cards cast players as extraterrestrial explorers sent to learn Earth’s mysterious “watersphere.” A super-sized Lenape expansion deck, created in collaboration with a circle of local Lenape advisors, gives players an opportunity to delve into the Indigenous perspectives. Using vibrant pictures of plants, animals, and the environment as well as a cast of playful alien characters, the game seeks to create a fun and engaging experience for players of all ages and experience levels. Come speak with the creators and contributors to this wonderful game, and learn more about its formation process and Indigenous knowledge in the Delaware River Watershed.

Film Screening and Conversation: Arts and Environmental Justice Capacity Building Initiative

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When: September 14, 2022 at 1:45 pm EST
Location: Free Library Theater
Speakers:

The Mural Arts Institute has been working with artists, cultural workers, and activists in California, New Mexico, and Texas for the last two years. Partners are joining us live at the Symposium and are screening short documentaries they have created to outline the collaborative, participatory arts-based processes they utilized to address local environmental justice issues in their communities, and how those moved the needle. Join us for this live screening and Q&A with the changemakers.

Culture and Community Sovereignty: Iglesias Garden

When: September 14, 2022 at 3:00 pm EST REGISTER
Location: Free Library Terrace
Speakers: Cesar Viverors with Organizers Michelle Gueco and Tyriese James Holloway

In 2012, Philly Socialists ‘reclaimed’ unused land and transformed it into a community garden that has since become a site of multi-racial multi-generational cultural preservation, art, and land sovereignty. Today, community members, activists, and artists continue to advocate for community-controlled land in support of efforts in Philadelphia and beyond to identify, protect, and buy-back US Bank Liens to combat gentrification and rapid development. Join garden members and organizers Cesar Viveros, Michelle Gueco and Tyriese James Holloway in discussing the art of organizing for ‘reclaimed’ land at César Andreu Iglesias Community Garden.

REGISTER FOR WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 14

Saturday, September 17 - In Person, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education 

Community Game Day with Aqua Marooned!

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When: September 17, 2022 / 10:30 – 11:30 am EST
Location: Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19128
Cost: Free

Join the Mural Arts Institute at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education for a live play-in of Aqua Marooned! as you hike the trails. This event is a family-friendly way to explore the 340 acres of land dedicated to environmental education, wildlife rehabilitation, land stewardship, and art in Philadelphia. Join the Aqua Marooned! extraterrestrial characters as explorers are sent to learn Earth’s mysterious “watersphere.”

Aqua Marooned! is a new card game that premiered in Fall 2021 across the Delaware River Watershed, commissioned by the Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River (AWE). The game is part of the region-wide art initiative Lenapehoking~Watershed and connects the three states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware through humor, wit, and nature exploration. Created by Philly-based immersive experience company Swim Pony and meant to be played outdoors, the game’s beautifully-illustrated cards cast players as extraterrestrial explorers sent to learn Earth’s mysterious “watersphere.” A super-sized Lenape expansion deck, created in collaboration with a circle of local Lenape advisors, gives players an opportunity to delve into the Indigenous perspectives. Using vibrant pictures of plants, animals, and the environment as well as a cast of playful alien characters, the game seeks to create a fun and engaging experience for players of all ages and experience levels.

REGISTER FOR SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 17

Sunday, September 18 - In Person, Something Cool Studios 

Mosaic Workshop

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When: September 18, 2022 / 2:00 – 5:00 pm CST
Location: Something Cool Studios at 1717 E Cesar Chavez St. (free street parking is available just a half block west from the studio on Chalmers Street)
Cost: Free
Facilitators:

  • J Muzacz and Carmen Rangel, Lead Artists and Co-Founders of The Mosaic Workshop at Something Cool Studios

Description: This Introductory Mosaic Workshop is a great time to try mosaic art for the first time. No experience necessary, and all tools, materials, and instruction will be provided to make your own unique mosaic artwork that you can take home. Ages 12 and up, anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited!

Donations can be made to Raasin in the Sun (501 c3 organization) to continue supporting the important environmental, social cohesion, and beautification work they do in our community.

REGISTER FOR SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 18

Monday, September 19 - Virtual 

Rolling on the River

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When: September 19, 2022 at 10:00 – 11:15 am PST / 1:00 – 2:15 pm EST
Location: Zoom
Cost: Free
Speakers:

Rolling on the River is an overview of the critical importance of water and air quality in the Central California Valley. This conversation offers an in-depth look into the theory, process, and outcome of a collaborative project centralizing the need to translate hard scientific data related to environmental justice, public health, and safety into a user-friendly format. Rolling on the River brings together artists, activists, scientists, and scholars shaping the conversation around more just futures in the Central Valley.

REGISTER FOR MONDAY SEPTEMBER 19 (Rolling on the River)

Tributaries

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When: September 19, 2022 at 11:15am – 12:30pm PST / 2:15 – 3:30pm EST
Location: Zoom
Cost: Free
Speakers:

Building upon the collaborative framework explored in Rolling on the River, Kyle Ferrar and Gabriella Aleman will explore the interactive map they have created for the Estamos Aquí/We Are Here Toolkit. Born of the need to translate hard scientific data related to environmental justice, public health, and safety into a user-friendly format, this conversation centralizes the partnership between artists and environmental justice practitioners.

REGISTER FOR MONDAY SEPTEMBER 19 (Tributaries)

Wednesday, September 21 - Virtual 

A Legacy of Work: Generational Environmental Art and Activism in East Austin

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When: September 21, 2022 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CST / 12:30 -1:30 pm EST
Where: Zoom
Cost: Free
Speakers:

This panel will discuss the issues of environmental racism and systemic injustices over the last 30 years in East Austin and the legacy of P.O.D.E.R. In a city that is otherwise praised for its access to nature and clean living, we will discuss how the BIPOC populations are affected with limited to no resources to fight back against urban redlining, gentrification, and pollution. The generational torch has been passed to our communities through education, advocacy, arts, and action.

REGISTER FOR WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 21

Thursday, September 22 - Virtual 

Indigenous Sonic Agency

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When: Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 12:30 -1:30 pm EST
Where: Zoom
Cost: Free
Speakers:

  • Kite aka Suzanne Kite (Oglála Lakȟóta), Performance Artist, Visual Artist and Composer
  • Nathan Young (Delaware Tribe of Indians/Pawnee/Kiowa) Artist, Scholar and Composer
  • Doug Miller, Executive Director of Historic Site Pennsbury Manor
  • Ryan Strand Greenberg, Curator & Photographer

This panel discussion highlights the work of multidisciplinary artist Nathan Young, a member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, and his plans to create a site-specific, sound-based installation in the landscape surrounding historic Pennsbury Manor – a reconstruction of the home of Pennsylvania founder William Penn. Building upon traditional Lenape practices of song-making and environmental stewardship, the installation will encourage individuals to consider histories of colonialism from a new perspective tuning in to sounds of Lenapehoking today. Moderated by Oglala Lakota Artist Kite aka Suzanne Kite, this conversation bringing together the artist and project organizers, will explore the development of the installation through the lens of indigenous sonic agency.

REGISTER FOR THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 22

 

The Mural Arts Institute is supported by The JPB Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.