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Q & A with Dorsi Diaz: The Art of Climate Change Exhibit

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In a previous Q&A I interviewed the artist Dorsi Diaz about her window paintings, so today I am sharing a few questions I asked her about the Art of Climate Change Exhibit. Anyone who lives in California has noticed we did not have much of a winter, and already it has been reaching a hundred degrees Fahrenheit here in Southern California during this early part of May. Climate change is definitely a relevant topic in our state, and it also impacts us globally.

1. What exactly is the Kickstarter program for the Art of Climate Change Exhibit?

Kickstarter is a crowd funding site where project creators go to get funded for their projects. I am the project creator for "The Art of Climate Change", which is a project designed to serve as a blue-print for how communities can come together through art to learn about climate change through networking within their communities.

My first show will be from June 19 - July 27, 2014 at The Sun Gallery in Hayward, CA and will feature participants from all over the world, all coming together for a specific goal: to educate people about climate change and to work together to address this growing threat. All the specific sections are listed at my donation site at Kickstarter here: Donate to the Art of Climate Change. I have developed a multi-modal approach to addressing climate change, from events as diverse as Professor Paul Beckwith live Skyping from the show to children's artwork on endangered species.

Climate change is a complicated topic and it took a lot of time and thought on how to present such a large and complicated issue to the masses. I wanted to get as much exposure for my project as possible so I chose Kickstarter as my funding platform. The way Kickstarter works however is that if I don't receive all the funding for my project ($2,500), I will receive none of it. So it's an all or nothing funding approach with them. Some other crowd-funding sites do fund with whatever donations are received, so I did take chance developing the project with Kickstarter - but I decided it was the worth the risk since Kickstarter is a known name for crowd-funding. People need to know they are donating on a reputable site. I am currently 20% funded so I need a lot of donations within the next 2 weeks.

2. What was the inspiration for the art of climate change exhibit?

I have written about climate change for the last 6 years as a journalist at The San Francisco Examiner here: Dorsi Diaz, climate change reporter SF Examiner and I am also a teaching artist. I have been a working artist for over 30 years now and have worked in many different mediums. I had been thinking for a long time about this question to myself ,"How does an artist, climate change reporter and teacher combine these seemingly unrelated talents and skills together to form some type of cohesive message about earth stewardship and climate change?"

So on that note, and on my way to my new role as a "Social artist", I wanted to use all the things I have learned to convey the urgent message of climate change to the masses. I saw that just writing about it wasn't enough, that doing art on it wasn't enough, and that social networking was not enough. Then last year the light bulb turned on when I realized a successful public awareness program could be formed by combining all 3 of these things together - teach children about climate change and endangered species, then the children teach the parents, then write about it and drive the message out via social media and news.

The show idea was born out of the idea that all these things would be combined together in one place and serve as a blue-print for how other communities could come together to deliver the same message. My husband and I owned a sign franchise for over 14 years so I have worked a lot in the business communities, and was very adept at networking and marketing within our business. One of the main reasons The Sun Gallery gave me the venue for the show is because they liked the approach I had, with it being solutions driven, and not just the gloom and doom aspect of climate change. Art can be used in a powerful way to address social issues, and climate change is the biggest threat that humanity faces right now, bigger than even terrorism, wars or the economy. Without a viable earth for humans, all those things won't matter to anyone if we don't have a sustainable world to live in.

If a projected temperature rise of possibly 10 degrees comes to pass, human extinction is a great possibility at the rate we are going now.

I think that in order for a climate change message to come across clearly, it has to appeal to the masses and be visually appealing. With so much information being thrown at people right and left, I understand that many people are tired, and don't have the attention span to sit down and read lengthy articles anymore.

I want to grab peoples attention through art, and I notice that most people are especially enchanted by children's art. Every week I post my students artwork on FaceBook, and I have noticed those photos caught more views than many other things I have posted. People love art for the most part.

My main goal for this project is to protect our children's future. Climate change is rearing it's ugly head in a big way now and it's our children and grandchildren who are going to bear the brunt of it. I am truly concerned and worried about the mess they are inheriting.

3. Where and when will the Art of Climate Change Exhibit be taking place?

The first show/exhibit will be held at The Sun Gallery in Hayward, Ca. from June 19 - July 27, 2014. There will be an artists reception on June 28 from 1-5. All participating artists will be invited to be part of the reception, including the children artists.

4. How can people submit art to be considered for this exhibit?

College and High School Entries: The Sun Gallery welcomes entries from both College and High School students. The entry fee will be waived but only one entry per student, please.

Since I am working in conjunction with The Sun Gallery and they gave me the venue to do the first show, we have broken up the project into 2 pieces. The actual show at the Gallery is called a "Volatile Terrain: The Art of Climate Change", and the Gallery itself is doing a call for art right now for that part of the show. You can contact Jacqueline Cooper here to submit art: jacqueline@autobodyfineart.com. The official press release for the call for art with instructions will be published on the Gallery website this week at www.sungallery.us

As for my Kickstarter project, I am covering all the science parts of the show - Why the Arctic matters, solutions, including inventions and ideas, the methane crisis, climate refugees, extreme weather and disasters, the live Skyping events with climate change part-time climate change Professor Paul Beckwith from the University of Ottawa and the children's events and art.

I have been working with children from different groups from our community, and we are presenting their art in the show at no charge to them or their parents. The Sun Gallery kids have been working on a series of art on endangered animals at the free art class I teach on Saturdays there. Young Rembrandt's of the East Bay (another place I teach through the public school system) has artwork that will also be displayed on endangered penguins. We will be doing a grid of penguins on one of the walls from the YR students.

The main place I teach at is Green Forest Art Studio in Union City, and I will be holding a special class within the next few weeks there on a Sunday afternoon. We will be doing an art project on cheetahs that will be part of the exhibit. I will be also be doing a similar art piece with the kids from my local church, The Community Church of Hayward and A Joyful Noise Learning Center. So if you are in the Bay Area and want your children's art to be in the show, you can participate in any one of those ways, free of charge.

Donate to The Art of Climate Change Kickstarter.

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