Topic: Arts Environments: Environment
Nature has served as a central subject matter throughout the history of art. American landscape painting of the 1850s—which coincided with the advent of our nation’s ecological consciousness—is often cited as an early example of the intersection of the arts and the environment. Ecological art movements emerged in the 1990s due to increasing concern over environmental issues, especially at the local level. The movement’s principles of community participation, communication, and ecological sustainability are addressed through issues such as water contamination, forest depletion, changing climate patterns, and overpopulation. Ecological artists collaborate with engineers, oceanographers, urban planners, and others to cultivate socio-ecological and political-economic change.
This progressive artistic movement is coupled with the emergence of a new generation of urban planners that are deeply committed to community development. Art and culture are valued for their role in community regeneration, and community artists are engaged to help create a positive sense of place. It has been noted that the developing fields of progressive urban and public-space design, community development, and community arts have much in common but rarely collaborate. An increased awareness of each other’s respective fields and creating a unified force would serve to build support from philanthropic and public policy entities.