Painting a Greener Future: How Local Art Exhibit Inspires Youth Environmental Advocacy

In the heart of Lyndon House Arts Center, over 71 artworks adorn the North Gallery’s walls to create Athens-Clarke County’s Green Life Art Exhibition. Running throughout April as a facet of the annual Green Life Art Contest, the installation showcases the works of local students until the closing reception on April 25. 

The theme for the 2024 Green Life Art Contest encourages K-12 students to contemplate responses to climate change, a topic selected for its global significance, said Jackie Sherry, the installation’s organizer.

In 2023, the Earth had its warmest year on record, according to reports from the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As the Earth experiences unprecedented warming, Sherry said she hopes the prompt inspires local youth to recognize themselves as “climate champions,” capable of fostering a more sustainable future. 

“It’s their home, you know; it’s their future,” said Sherry. “Students are capable of understanding.”

** Data sourced from the National Centers for Environmental Information’s 2023 Annual Global Climate Report.
** Infographic made by Abbey Brantley using Canva.

​​The exhibit shows the local youth’s engagement in addressing pressing environmental challenges, emphasizing their potential as agents of change amidst a shifting climate.

The competition’s incorporation of artwork provides students with a more comfortable platform to express environmental ideas compared to traditional educational methods, said Sherry. Engagement with environmental art can personally and emotionally connect artists and viewers to the issue of climate change, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.  The study reported that environmental connections can increase support for policy and behavioral change, raising environmental awareness.

It doesn’t just have to live in the science classroom. It has also moved into the art classroom, so they are thinking of it in different ways,” said Sherry.

Abbey Brantley is a senior majoring in journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

 

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