How does an artist decide to do the work she does? How does that work evolve over time? What impact does it have on the audience and how can an artist deepen that impact? In my recent conversation with dancer and choreographer Lynn Neuman, I encountered an artist with boundless curiosity. This curiosity drives her work.
As director of Artichoke Dance Company, Lynn recognizes the vital role art plays in addressing issues like climate change. But entertaining and educating are not enough for Lynn and her company. They always want to do more to get people to act. Through community engagement and direct outreach to lawmakers, they are training community members to change legislation.
During the pandemic, Lynn and Artichoke Dance Company have been adjusting and adapting once again. See their Covid Creations. “It reflects our feelings of isolation and desires for connection during the coronavirus,” Lynn explains. “Filmed at various times of day, the series reflects the available bandwidth of the internet.”
Next month: When faced with an existential crisis, poet Walt Whitman allowed himself to be transformed for his times. Lessons Whitman learned are relevant for artists today as we face multiple crises.
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This article is part of The Art House series.
As host of Citizens’ Climate Radio, Peterson Toscano regularly features artists who address climate change in their work. The Art House section of his program includes singer/songwriters, visual artists, comics, creative writers, and playwrights. Through a collaboration with Artists and Climate Change and Citizens’ Climate Education, each month Peterson reissues The Art House for this blog. If you have an idea for The Art House, contact Peterson: radio @ citizensclimatelobby.org
Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.
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