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Foster climate collaboration in Boulder, CO, through a community art project that engages neighborhoods in its co-creation.



Foster climate collaboration in Boulder, CO, through a community art project that engages all of Boulder's neighborhoods in its construction. The project would be a participatory public artwork with a relevant climate change/resilience theme, and representatives from Boulder neighborhoods would be asked to bring a contribution and incorporate it into the artwork. The contribution would be vetted through the contributing neighborhoods, and would represent a message that the groups want to share. The co-creation and construction of the artwork could happen in a one-day event, or be spread out over a longer period of time (one to six weeks). Artists, with community members, will create the artwork design. The construction of the artwork will be overseen by the artists with community members of all ages constructing the artwork. The final artwork and accompanying signage amplifying the artwork message could be displayed in various public venues in the community, and a new project could be initiated on a yearly basis.

What actions do you propose?

Neighborhood geographic boundaries and key contacts would be identified. Information on the project would be spread through various social media. Locations for the construction and display of the project would be identified (these could be City parks or facilities, or on the grounds of local businesses that want to be involved). Local artists and climate change activists would be identified through arts and environmental organizations who would participate in developing the project's theme (e.g., reducing carbon emissions), conception, construction, and display. 

Who will take these actions?

Key actors could be the Chief Resilience Officer, sustainability/environmental staff, City Council members, Chamber of Commerce, Boulder County Arts Alliance, HOA and other neighborhood representatives, schools, artists, environmental activists, and people of all ages. Their roles would be to participate in the activities identified above.

What are the key challenges?

Funding always seems to come up as an obstacle. I believe that the project could be completed with minimal costs to pay the artists, environmental activists, and project coordinator, and for materials. The rest could be competed with in-kind staff time. 

What are the key benefits?

Key benefits would include: neighborhood engagement focused on climate change solutions, a sense of accomplishment related to being part of a community activity that has longevity, and a sense of empowerment with a focus on solutions.  

What are the proposal’s costs?

Costs would be minimal ($10,000 or less). No negative side effects are anticipated.

Time line

The project could happen on an annual basis, and build momentum over time.

Related proposals

Value not set.


Arts-based environmental education is well-established, and can be an effective means for engaging people of all ages in the exploration of their relationship with nature. Art can help people appreciate and connect with the natural world by engaging both the intellect and people's emotions. See the following wikipedia page for a history of arts-based environmental education, including a number of useful references. 

At the recent climate conference in Paris, there was a side conference called ArtCOP21 with representation from government funding agencies and arts organizations from throughout the world discussing the importance and effectiveness of involving the arts in climate change