Sep 7, 2019 | 9:00am–2:00pm EDT Past Event

The Art of Sustainability Symposium

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We are thrilled to announce themes and speakers for our 2019 Art of Sustainability Symposium, curated by Helicon and co-hosted by the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.

This event takes place in the context of interconnected and compounding environmental and societal crises that mark this historical moment. Climate change, both its causes and its effects, must frame and shape any discussion of “sustainability” today. We now know that maintaining the status quo of our economy and culture is incompatible not only with ecological realities and social justice, but also our survival.

So, what do we actually want and need to sustain? What must we change or relinquish in order to protect what matters most? And what can we reclaim, or learn anew, in order to create a world that is truly just and sustainable for all people and future generations? Finally, what is the role of arts and culture in helping us embrace and realize the creative potential of these unparalleled times?

The profound transformations we must make in order to effectively adapt to a changing climate and build a no-carbon economy will affect every sector, industry, and part of our lives. We do not have a choice about whether or not change will occur, but we do get to choose how we will meet and engage with this moment. The climate crisis could even be seen as an opportunity, what Naomi Klein calls a “civilizational wake up call,” to build a society that works better for all people and the planet.

We will hear from national and local leaders about the role art and creative practice plays in their work to help their communities transition towards a more just and truly sustainable future.


  • Alexis Frasz—How culture and creative practice can help address environmental issues and build people power.
  • Dan Borelli—How art helped Ashland, Massachusetts wake up to its unresolved toxic legacy so that it could heal, demand change, and begin to build a different future.
  • Tommy Joshua—How the North Philadelphia Peace Park is building a culture of regeneration and renewal.
  • Aviva Kapust—How the Village of Arts and Humanities uses arts and culture as a tool for transforming lives and building healthy, sustainable communities.
  • Eve Mosher—How art can help people understand the impact of climate change on their own lives, and the role of the artist in an era of climate crisis.
  • Desiree Catherine Thompson—How we can mend fractured relationships between soil, self, society and spirit to rediscover our innate source of power and worth outside of and beyond systems of capitalism.

Continental breakfast and light lunch provided. We will open the day with a short performance of Ursula Rucker’sLogan Squared: Ode to Philly



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