Public Art + Ecology

I am developing a workbook on how to apply socially engaged art principles to create ecologically remediating outdoor public art which will be released in Fall 2020.

When we make, we combine matter to create something new. In this process, we both place and displace; we displace matter from its original location and create a new place for it to reside. This is applicable to the creation of public art. I want to question the artist’s responsibility in the process of creation to consider the impact of what we are displacing and placing on the whole of the natural environment.


The role of public art for the public is “a way of engaging with a unique creative form and reflect on the circumstances, freedoms and constraints, of the spaces we deem ‘public’”.[1] The circumstances we are all facing is the climate crisis. Climate change has reached a tipping point, every one of our actions can and will impact the future of our planet. The artist as the environmental activist is a role I wish to explore and embody. More specifically I am interested in how I can positively affect spaces through my role and influence in public art. I am interested in reconsidering how public art can integrate into a given space with consideration to the natural environment. Plants, fungi, animals and insects are part of a healthy ecosystem. The quality of the soil, our food, the air we breathe and the water we need all depend on the balance of this ecosystem. These elements should be considered major stakeholders to artists when embarking in the process of making.


[1] Barbara Cole, Lorna Brown and Karen Henry, “Public Art Toolkit” Creative City Network of Canada and the authors (2010) p.7