Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

Reclaiming Sustainability through Art

Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Red Hands

Jay Mead, Red Hands, 2011

By Jay Mead, with Dominic Stucker. The sustainability movement is in urgent need of re-invigoration. For too long, we have relied on a problem-focused, doom and gloom approach that engenders fear. While fear can motivate action, it more often paralyzes people, trapping us in anxiety and despair about eroding futures for our children and grandchildren. Seemingly surrounded by catastrophes and insurmountable challenges, we usually cannot see beyond the perpetuation of our broken, fossil-fuel-dependent socio-economic system.

The word “sustainability” has been used now for decades; for some it carries hope, while for others it has lost it’s meaning through misuse in marketing and “green washing.” Together, let’s seek to reclaim sustainability as a viable aspiration and a way of life for all of humanity, using art and creative expression as a path to do so.

I believe that people need to connect to sustainability through their hearts; this orientation can happen through art and the cultivation of right brain thinking. I call this approach the “Art of Sustainability,” a practice and way of being with one another and nature that emphasizes creativity, connection, and hope.

Being in this great moment of human history, we are conscious of the choices we make and have the agency to create a sustainable future for all. This moment is what deep ecologist, Joanna Macy, refers to as “The Great Turning” and what systems thinker, Donella Meadows, called the “Sustainability Revolution.” Envisioning a just and thriving world is an act of faith, a recognition of the potential for change in oneself and in society. Shared vision can transcend the pervading mindset that we are separate from nature and help us bring about a life-sustaining world.

The current unsustainable path that humanity treads instills many with fear of mass pandemics, climate change, destruction of what we know and love, technological oppression, and the loss of individual freedom; the list goes on. We can, however, take a different path to sustainability that engages the heart and inspires us to do what humans are so good at: creative problem solving.

So what is it that moves us to act on behalf of this amazing place we call Earth? I know that I value beauty, the essence of nature, and the fullness of sensory pleasure that comes from experiencing wildness. The simple fact that there is so much yet to be learned about and experienced in the natural world is the essential fire of my curiosity. Biomimicry, for example, is a practical application of this passion to observe and learn from nature while serving the needs of humanity.

To embrace the Art of Sustainability is to embrace a way of living that is playful, and filled with wonder and infinite possibility. As poet Mary Oliver says, “The universe could have been created ugly, and would have functioned. And yet there is beauty everywhere in creation. Beauty gives us an ache to be worthy of that creation.” The Art of Sustainability gives us a pathway to demonstrate our love for creation and creativity.

Read more about my Art of Sustainability approach and related workshop offerings.

New Work at Sculpture Fest

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Here is a new piece I call “Red Hands.” It stands 4′ tall and was carved out of some recycled hemlock beams. Given the state of the world and even Vermont’s, in the wake of Irene’s devastation, there are many who could use a helping hand. This piece could also be about the earth’s suffering at our hands. Hopefully viewers will be provoked to think about other stories these hands tell. It is a joy to continue to show work at Sculpture Fest in Woodstock, Vermont, where I am given the freedom to site my work.

A Little Farm Story – ‘Vook’

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Clyde Jenne and Finn Seville read my book, A Little Farm Story, published by Harbor Mountain Press, creating this video book or ‘vook.’  See images from the book and purchase it for $15 (includes shipping).  Thank you!

A Little Farm Story celebrates the hard work that goes into small family farms. It is an intergenerational guide through the seasons of a year in the life of a family farm. The originals are painted on canvas pages 35” x 40.” I created it as a flippy book which refers to a giant puppet technique of story telling that is commonly used by Bread and Puppet. A Little Farm Story has been featured in Farm Fests, open mics and at the Hartland Elementary School.

“A Little Farm Story”

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

On Wednesday, the 22nd of September, I launched my book “A Little Farm Story.” It was a warm fall evening marked by a beautiful sunset and moonrise. About 75 folks showed up for the potluck, farm fest, and book launching. We set up 5  picnic table in a line and recreated the page from the book that says “the people eat.” All this happened in the CSA garden space of Cedar Mountain Farm here at Cobb Hill. Zach Stremlau, of Green Mountain Flour, fired up his portable (wood fired) oven and cooked up many tasty pizzas, Peter Money, of Harbor Mountain Press, sponsored Zach. I did a dramatic reading of the book and was accompanied by Justin on guitar and Steve on the djembe. I hung the originals on the green house. Luminaria were lit and co-ordinated by Wendy and others and provided the perfect path of light. Deep gratitude to all who showed up and supported me on this venture.

To purchase a copy of “A Little Farm Story”, click here.

Jay’s Journey to Visao Futuro

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

In 2006, I went for two weeks and created a piece of outdoor pageantry and environmental theater with artists and students. This video shows the process of that production. Many thanks to Colleen Bozuwa for her great work as the videographer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGDtprvp94Y&feature=player_embedded