The FOUNDER: CAROL ANDERSON
September 21, 2014, was a very important day to me. The People’s
Climate March was going to take place in New York City. And I really
wanted to go. There was so much hype and publicity. Thousands of
people prepared to march from Central Park North to 42nd Street.
The more I read about it, the more I wanted to go. I prepared my trip,
down to the tiniest detail. My family and all my Facebook friends knew I
was going to go. They cheered me on. My plan was to take Amtrak the
night before, arrive in time to march, spend that night with a friend, and
then return on the train the next night. Perfect.
The train was to arrive in Savannah around 7 p.m. At 6 p.m. I got a text
that the train was to be vaguely delayed. At 8 p.m. I hadn’t heard more,
so I called Amtrak, no mean feat in itself. They said the train would get
to Savannah around 11 p.m. OK. I could still get there and at least see
the march. I was still going.
My husband drove me to the train station at 10 p.m. I went to the
counter to check in. The very nice man there told me that the train
wouldn’t arrive. Now that’s a definite thing to say. Come to find out,
the train traveling north to Savannah from Florida was involved in a
terrible accident in Florida, and the train engine was demolished.
I didn’t get to go to the climate march. So I watched it on my computer,
a sorry substitute for the real thing.
But here’s the good thing: As I had been preparing to go, I became
aware of all kinds of art that people had created for the big parade.
Posters, banners, an array of creative things for people to wear, to carry,
and display. It was a small industry in itself.
For the past several years, I’ve been reading and learning about climate
change. I’ve read books, studied climate graphs and charts, and listened
to experts explain what is going on with our planet. Charts, graphs, and
articles certainly have their purpose. But they don’t work for everyone.
I began to wonder, what is another way to raise awareness of our
precious planet’s fragile condition?
I believe it’s the arts.
Visual art. Music. Poetry. Theater.
You may be wondering, what is climate art? It’s any creative expression
to convey a message about the earth’s changing climate. You will see
examples a bit later.
I’d been pondering, what could I do? Could I make some difference?
And then the idea came to me, to create a climate art project. I would
invite teachers to participate and teach their students to create climate
art. They would send me photographs of the art, along with artist
statements about the works, and photos of themselves, their schools,
the teachers. We would compile the photos onto a website to share
with each other and the world.
I’ve been so fortunate, so blessed, to be able to accompany my husband,
Jim Anderson, as he has traveled for study abroad agreements between
Armstrong State University and other universities, as well as sister-city
agreements between Savannah and other cities. Without his contacts,
the project would not have had an international component.
Many of his foreign colleagues have become our friends, and they are
the ones that I have invited to be a part of the climate art project.
Starting in November 2014, I visited schools and teachers in Sweden,
the Czech Republic, Argentina, and Chile, and I invited teachers to
participate in the climate art project.
Back in Savannah, I presented the idea to Catriona Schaefer, the Visual
Arts Specialist for the public schools. She took to the idea immediately,
and we made plans to invite local schools. She has been a delight to
By the summer of 2015, we had five schools and six teachers
participating. We began a website, with the gracious help of Professor
Rachel Green of Armstrong State, and her tech assistant, Chance Everett,
as well as the Savannah Art Association which has helped with publicity
and funding the website.
By August 2015, we went public! The website was up and running, and
everyone was happy.
In September 2015, we began the second year of ISCAP. Teachers led
students to create amazing works of art, write about the art, and submit
everything to me.
A total of 14 schools have participated, representing 7 cities, 5
countries, and 4 continents.
In May 2016, we were finished with the second year. We celebrated in
Savannah with an art exhibit at Oatland Island Wildlife Center.
What does the growth of ISCAP mean to me?
-- -More students, teachers, colleagues, and families are aware of climate
change and have a deeper appreciation of our planet.
-- -More students have created art, learned about famous artists, and
experimented with various media and styles.
-- -More students and teachers have written about their artwork, and
what they write is compelling and heart-warming.
-- -More students and teachers have shared their art and their artist
statements with a global audience.
Thank You to all the teachers and students who have participated!
As we begin the third year of ISCAP, I hope more schools will join us.
We are working hard to make our website easier to use and more
attractive. And we’re adding a mascot! A leatherback turtle! And we’re
adding a Facebook page!
Please join us!
Keep calm and create climate art!