After years of research into various forms of environmental and sustainable art making methods, Polymers in Action: Socially engaged Art and the Environment finally took shape for my thesis project at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD). I have always been drawn to arts and crafts that reuse discarded objects and materials, restore or enhance their aesthetic appearance and add emotional resonance through a reconnection to materials, but this was different. As I researched art made from recycled/upcaycled/desycled/repurposed materials for my thesis exhibition proposal, I became aware that by only presenting a finished artwork lacked something.
That something was action. By presenting something as finished, it closed a loop for any further engagement with issues that the art was associated with. How do you do something that encourages environmental awareness if your viewers are just looking at something pretty? It didn’t seem like enough. So I started looking at models that use social engagement as a way of forming communities and educating through art making. This action oriented approach appealed to me, because it meant that I got to tap into my craft and teaching skills in a new way and with a new, expanded audience.
Polymers in Action workshops took place at OCAD during January 2015. The level of interest shown by my peers and members of the public was extremely encouraging and has led to more than a few fantastic connections. I’m exited to present the workshops on this site and the future projects that come out of this initial run of sessions. I’ve learned a lot from this experience and I hope that I can share this with as many people as possible over the coming months and years. Thank you for visiting and supporting this project and the artists involved.
*a side note on the webhosting. Green Geeks is listed as one of the greenest web hosts in Canada, with carbon offsetting and other nifty environmental policies. They were a no-brainer for the site development.