Why We Won’t Just Leave Virtual Exhibition

To the outside traveler, encountering signs of climate change in Alaska can be staggering. To those who call Alaska home, it is increasingly alarming and very real. Villages are collapsing into melting permafrost and eroding into the sea. Glaciers are receding exorbitantly fast, exposing rock that has been covered for ten thousand years. Melting sea ice makes it almost impossible for species like the polar bear to survive. Humbling stories abound of lack of food due to changing caribou migrations, salmon runs and subsistence patterns, and lives lost through thin ice in places that were once safe to traverse. 

In Los Angeles, climate change has a different feel. Nitrogen oxide in thick smog contributes to increasingly warm temperatures, wildfires surge dangerously into communities, and the warming ocean brings deadly algal blooms and marine animal die-offs. In both Alaska and Southern California, hundreds of people have been displaced due to climate change.

Why We Won’t Just Leave highlights the responses of Alaskans to their rapidly changing environment and delivers messages that are key for us all if we are to reverse climate catastrophe and cultivate a healthy, vibrant future for generations to come. From activists delivering testimonies in D.C. and artists revealing truth with beauty, to scientists studying methane released from melting permafrost, Alaska has a message for the world. 

Why We Won’t Just Leave features portraits, paintings, photography, stories, and video and audio profiles of over 15 artists, scientists, writers and activists responding to climate change in Alaska. The exhibition debuts virtually in the SPARC virtual gallery in February 2021, introducing Alaska as a major player in the world’s climate crisis to an audience separated by 3000 miles, but not separate from its impacts. Ancillary programs will include a panel talk, a participatory workshop with an artist, and youth programming. Attendees will leave the exhibition enriched by the information provided by exhibition participants, with tangible connections and action points, and inspiration for enacting change in their own communities.

Participating Artists & Contributors:

Ayana Young, Bill Brody, Bill Hanson, Chad Brown, Hannah Perrine Mode, Heather McFarland, Jennifer Moss, Jessica Thornton, Jody Juneby Potts, Kate Troll, Keri Oberly, Klara Maisch, Krista Heeringa, Kristin Timm, Lindsay Carron, Nathaniel Wilder, Quannah Chasinghorse Potts, Sheryl Reily, and Tim Musso.

Read more about each artist by clicking here.


This exhibition’s youth ancillary program united high school students from Alaska Youth for Environmental Action (AYEA) in Alaska and the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) in Los Angeles to share observations about their communities’ responses to climate change. In the three-week program, students converged over Zoom with mentorship from the exhibition curator, SPARC, CARECEN, Arctic Youth Ambassadors, and Outspoken Narrative, and they developed their own creative media campaigns to raise awareness. The campaigns debuted on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2021 through SPARC, CARECEN and Rock Your World.

By Andrea Garcia

By Montserrat Garcia

By Nayely Chicas

“Polar bears have been the stars of many Coca-Cola commercials during the holidays. The ironic thing is that the company has had a negative impact on the lives of polar bears and the deterioration of their habitat. It is important to shed light on the roles larges companies have had in climate change.”

By Brandon Ramirez

“What i tried saying in my work was that instead of throwing bottles [away], we can make toys for kids.”

By Ashley Guzman

By Jennifer Lico


Virtual Opening & Curatorial Talk by Lindsay Carron

Saturday, February 27th, 2021

4:00 PM PST

Virtual Event on SPARC Zoom

See Exhibition Opening Livestream

What Can Art Do for Climate Action? 

A Virtual Panel Talk with Klara Maisch, Jessica Thornton, and Hannah Perrine Mode

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

6:00 PM PST

Virtual Event on SPARC Zoom

Registration Now Closed


About the Curator: 

Lindsay Carron is an artist and educator residing in Los Angeles and Alaska. In Los Angeles, she works with young children in nature-based learning as a mentor with EverWild LA. She partners with her local community on murals and creative assets for reducing our environmental footprint. In Alaska, Lindsay has worked for the past five years as an artist in residence with US Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska’s 16 National Wildlife Refuges, illustrated children’s books with Sealaska Heritage Institute and taught classes and exhibited in Juneau. Her travels have taken her to incredible lands where she has met inspiring people, learned about rich cultural traditions, and experienced firsthand the astounding changes in the landscape due to climate change. This is the first exhibition Lindsay has curated that brings Alaska to Los Angeles creating an opportunity for cross-cultural understanding and collaboration.


Apay’uq Moore

Apay’uq Moore is a Yup’ik mother/artist/business owner from Bristol Bay. Her artwork is centralized around depicting modern traditional living of Yup’ik people. She has molded her work into every day living and gains inspiration through the field (life) experiences and relationships she has access to through her family as living culture bearers. She challenges the ideals of scientific research of native peoples and has committed herself to evaluate and depict the realities of Yup’ik life in Southwest Alaska through an internal lens that is only accessible as a native person living the lifestyle. Walking the values of indigenous ways of living is her driving force for a successful and meaningful life. She hopes her artwork will illuminate the best of the people and places she loves most. Bristol Bay Forever. Pebble Mine, Never. 


Ayana Young

Ayana Young is the Founder and Executive Director of millennial media organization For The Wild.  She is a podcast and radio personality specializing in intersectional environmental and social justice,  deep ecology and land-based restoration, With an undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount  University including a double major in Art History and Theology and a minor in Philosophy, as well as  education through Columbia University in Ecology and Eastern Religions and Restoration Ecology at  the University of Victoria, Young has a strong academic background at the intersections of ecology,  culture, and spirituality. 

Young is also an avid conservationist, with a specific focus on the Coast Redwood Range and salmon  habitat in Northern California and Alaska. A budding filmmaker, she is no stranger to the medium  having spent her childhood as a prolific working actor, working alongside the likes of Steven Spielberg  and Meryl Streep. Learning deeply from the critical dialogue she’s shared with over 100 guests on the  For The Wild podcast, including Chris Hedges, Vandana Shiva, Jill Stein, Winona La Duke, Terry  Tempest Williams and other thought leaders, Young approaches her mission with For The Wild with  critical thinking, deep reverence and artistry.


Bernadette Demientieff

Bernadette Demientieff is Gwichyaa Gwich’in and is a member of the Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich’in Tribal Government from Fort Yuon. She is the executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, an organization founded in 1988 by the elders and chiefs of the Gwich’in Nation of Alaska and Canada. Bernadette is a council member for the Arctic Refuge Defense Council and serves on the boards of NDN Collective, the Care of Creations Task Force, Native Movement Alaska, and Defend the Sacred Alaska. She stands strong to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain, The Porcupine Caribou Herd and the Gwich’in way of life. 

She has grandchildren that she loves and adores and that is why she uses her voice, so that they have a future in their homelands.


Bill Brody

The measure of art is how successful it is as an agent to alter and enrich the viewer’s capacity to experience the universe. Art is supposed to cast the scales from your eyes and enable you to see the world anew. It is not about pretty pictures and social climbing. My art is about authentic experience transformed into signs and pathways to encourage experience of a wider and wilder world.

Painting in the wilderness has become a significant focus of my artistic life. I’ve been going out into the backcountry of Alaska every year starting in 1989 with the goal of representing something of what it is like to be immersed in that wilderness. My artwork serves as a tool for me to recall those special times. I have taken more than 70 extended trips dedicated to this purpose. In 2018 I relocated to Florida. I continue my commitment to working in Alaska’s wilderness while embracing the radically different land, sky and waterscape of Florida.

Amidst the clamor of humanity en masse, shy truth hides; in wilderness the truth comes out to play. Solitude needs to be combined with an outside focus, else it is navel-gazing. The wilderness is my cornerstone. And when I’m in my studio alone, I recall the relative purity of the wilderness experience and try to attain that same clarity that I find in wild places.


Bill Hanson

Bill Hanson is an Alaskan photographer and writer based in Juneau. From his earliest childhood memories, he has been a curious explorer, a roamer of landscapes, a lover of wild things. He has worked as biologist, forester, and seafood processor since moving to Alaska in 1977 with Kate Troll.


Hannah Perrine Mode

Hannah Perrine Mode is an interdisciplinary artist and educator working at the  confluence of visual art, community storytelling, and polar science. Often  combining place-based making with participatory projects, her objects and  installations serve as proxies for climate change, Earth systems, geologic time,  and human connection. She teaches art as a tool for creative thinking,  communication, and outreach, utilizing abstract art to deepen our connection to  geologic forces and foster an intersectional approach to climate justice. 

Hannah has collaborated with environmental science and outdoor organizations  around the world. She serves a faculty member on the leadership team of the  Juneau Icefield Research Program in Southeast Alaska, and has been a Visiting  Artist with the International Arctic Science Committee in Iceland and Chulengo  Expeditions in Patagonia. Hannah was an Artist-in-Residence with Google, the  National Park Service/Parks Canada, Alaska State Parks, Vermont Studio  Center, and Central Michigan University. She has exhibited her work at venues  around the country, including 2021 group shows at the Anchorage Museum in  Alaska, Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, CA, SPARC in Los Angeles, CA, and  the National Park Service in Seattle, WA. She is a co-founder of Erratics, a  collaborative research group exploring empathy, geology, and climate change. 

Hannah has an MFA in Studio Art from Mills College and a BS in Studio Art from  Skidmore College. After splitting time between the Bay Area and Southeast  Alaska the past few years, she is currently teaching at Central Michigan  University.


Ilarion Kuuyux Merculieff

Ilarion Merculieff has more than forty years experience serving his people, the Unangan of the Pribilof Islands, and other indigenous peoples locally, nationally, and internationally.  He is passionate about traditional Elder wisdom for modern challenges, including climate change, a challenge he speaks to in this interview as interwoven with all other global issues we see today.  He addresses global audiences about climate change, strategies for culturally based adaptation, and the shift in consciousness needed for tending to our future.  

Ilarion was the first Alaska Native commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce and Economic Development.  He served as the chair of the indigenous knowledge sessions of the Global Summit of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change in 2009 and as the chair of the scientific committee for Snowchange in 2005, a consortium of indigenous leaders from eight Arctic countries focused on climate change.  Ilarion is the co-founder of the Indigenous Peoples’ Council for Marine Mammals, the Alaska Forum on the Environment, the International Bering Sea Forum, and the Alaska Oceans Network.  Ilarion is the co-author of Aleut Wisdom: Stories of an Aleut Messenger, co-author of Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning,  and author of Wisdomkeeper: One Man’s Journey to Honor the Untold Story of the Unangan People. 

Jennifer Moss

Inspired especially by polychromatic winters, summer days brimming with light, and our  northern extreme weather events, Jennifer Moss creates figurative and abstract imagery  in connection within the northern ecosystem. We are not separate from the natural world  but live within a balance of connected existence. As leaders in the age of humanity, we  must be good stewards of the Earth for our children to come and the sake of all life on  this planet. What we do today touches the world tomorrow. 

Moss studied at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and is currently an instructional  designer and adjunct faculty at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


Jessica Thornton 

Jessica Thornton (she/her/they/them) is an artist and community organizer currently  living in Dgheyey Kaq’ (Anchorage, Alaska). 

She was born in Åbo, Finland and raised in Huizen, the Netherlands. Before moving to Ahtna and Dena’ina lands, she lived in Scotland for 7 years where she earned her M.Sc. in  Environment and Development from the University of Edinburgh.

Alongside being an artist and a small business owner, she currently works as Arts in Action Coordinator for Native Movement, an Indigenous-led organization that provides support for grassroots-led projects that endeavor to ensure social justice, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and the rights of Mother Earth.   

She works in various mediums including linoprint, screenprint, letterpress, pen and ink  and digital art. Her artwork is inspired by her Finnish heritage and culture, social and  environmental justice movements, Arctic flora and fauna, and the unseen, beautiful connections we have to our environment. She is passionate about the role of art in  building narrative strategies in social justice movements, and her art has directly  supported communities and coalitions including United Tribes of Bristol Bay and Defend  the Sacred AK.


Jody Juneby Potts 

Jody Juneby Potts is Han Gwich’in and an enrolled tribal member of the Native Village of Eagle. An avid hunter and fisherwoman, Jody has taught her children how to hunt and fish on their traditional lands. Passionate about wellness and Gwich’in values, Jody is a traditional Gwich’in tattoo practitioner, dog musher, snowboard instructor and wilderness guide. 

With a B.S. in Applied Indigenous Studies and Environmental Management, Jody’s work bridges together environmental science and Indigenous knowledge. She served as Vice Chair of former Alaska Governor Walker’s Tribal Advisory Council and as a board member to the Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. 

She is currently the Board Secretary for the Alaska Wilderness League and President/Co-founder of Data for Indigenous Justice. Jody is a tireless advocate for the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil development, guided by her Gwich’in elders and leaders who have fought to protect their homelands for generations. Jody is a public speaker on the impacts of climate change that she witnesses regularly while hunting on the land. 

Today when she’s not in Fairbanks where she lives with her kids and partner, she can be found at their family’s camp on the Yukon.  

Kate Troll

Kate Troll is an Alaskan writer who unites conservation, politics, outdoor adventure, and love of wild landscapes. Her career included coastal management, fisheries, climate, and energy policy. She offers a uniquely Alaskan vision for addressing climate change in her book: The Great Unconformity: Reflections on Hope in a Changing World.


Keri Oberly

Keri Oberly is a photographer, cinematographer, and activist based in Ventura, California. Originally from Lake Tahoe, she is a graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography.

She specializes in documentary photography and film, collaborating on environmental, Indigenous rights, and food-related stories.

Experienced in all aspects of production from pre-production to post, she has worked on award-winning documentary series, short, and feature length films from I’ll Be Gone In The Dark, The Innocence Files, The Kingmaker, The Biggest Little Farm, Foster, Gay Chorus Deep South, to Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind.

Work has been featured in Patagonia, The Washington Post Magazine, The New York Times, National Geographic Adventure, Vogue, Teen Vogue, ProPublica, Atmos, Vice, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian, HBO, Showtime, Variety, Esquire, Afar, Yes!, Men’s Journal, Huffington Post, Orion Magazine, Pacific Standard, Outside Magazine, Truthout, Intelligent Life-The Economist, ABC News, Indian Country Today, Anchorage Daily News, Reno Gazette-Journal, Ventura County Star, Cover Magazine, Edible Magazine, KTVN News, Sierra Sun, Tahoe Magazine, Semester at Sea, One World Futbol, Lands’ End, Mountain Standard, Africa Lens, Wounded Warriors, Lonely Planet.


Klara Maisch

Klara’s landscape based art is rooted in the wild places of Alaska. Her core practice involves painting large canvases directly in the field. Mountains, glaciers, and geologic forms are common features in her paintings. Her experiences in the outdoors allow her to directly interact with the physical forces that shape a landscape, informing the underlying visual dynamics in her work. 

Klara grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska. She attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks where she received a BFA in Printmaking and Painting in 2012. In 2019 she completed construction of an art studio and home in the woods near Fairbanks. Klara primarily works as an artist, though she 

seasonally instructs for Inspiring Girls Expeditions and works as a wilderness guide for Arctic Wild. She is passionate about developing cross-disciplinary ways of expression and thinking through art, science, and the outdoors. Her artwork has been featured in exhibits and public art commissions throughout Alaska as well as California, Hawaii, and Washington.


Nathaniel Wilder 

Nathaniel Wilder is a photographer and lifelong Alaskan based in Anchorage. He is drawn to stories  that illustrate the value of wilderness, its inhabitants and visitors, and which elucidate the importance of  mans’ relationship to the natural world. His work appears in Smithsonian Magazine, National  Geographic Proof, Patagonia’s Cleanest Line Blog, Runner’s World Magazine, and New York Times. 


Quannah Chasinghorse Potts 

Quannah ChasingHorse, age 18 is from the Han Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota tribes and lives in Fairbanks, Alaska.  She is an Indigenous land protector for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, protecting those sacred lands from oil development and fighting for climate justice.  Quannah’s deep connection to the lands and her people’s way of life guides and informs everything she does and stands for.   Quannah sits on the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Climate Justice Task force, which was created as a result of a climate emergency resolution she and her friends wrote and passed at the AFN Annual Conference in 2019.  She is passionate about Indigenous rights, MMIWG and representation.  She is an avid snowboarder,  guitar player, and is apprenticing as a traditional Indigenous tattoo artist.  Quannah was honored to make the 2020 list of Teen Vogue’s “Top 21 under 21.”  She is an IMG Fashion Model.  

Sheryl Reily

Sheryl Maree Reily is a conceptual artist working in all media, who originally came to Alaska from New Zealand to work in healthcare.

The gravity of the global situation prompted her to transform her creative practice as a self- taught photographer and healthcare professional into an arts-based advocacy for human and environmental wellbeing. Her work draws upon an expanded field of sculpture, performance, installation, and media technology.

Reily’s work is represented in all the major public collections in the State of Alaska, she has participated in wilderness artist residencies with US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service, Department of Natural Resources, and research residency Fellowships with the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and Santa Fe Art Institute. Sheryl serves as an artist activator on the Artists Thrive platform with the Emily Tremaine Foundation and is the recipient of a 2019 Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist award to support her current project, ReWilding.  


Sophie Sakar and Marie Sakar 

Sophie Sakar and her youngest daughter Marie Sakar are Yup’ik women living in Chuathbaluk, a village of about 100 on the Kuskokwim River in Western Alaska.  Sophie moved from Aniak to Chuathbaluk in 1967, to a village leveled by a flood.  She helped to rebuild the village by aiding elders in translation to apply for grants.  Later she became the village health aid, a vital role that she held for 42 years.  Marie is a mother, grandmother, and works as an elementary school teacher.  She attended University of Alaska Fairbanks where she learned Eskimo dance amongst her other studies.  She teaches the traditional dances of her people to the young ones in the village.

Tim Musso 

Tim Musso grew up in the wild foothills of the Motherlode, just 20 miles  from where gold was first discovered in California in 1848. Musso’s  childhood was filled with exploring the forests, rivers, and mountains of the Northern Sierra Nevada. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts  degree and Master of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design and  Printmaking respectively at California State University, Long Beach.  

While Musso enjoys living in the urban environment of Southern  California he finds it important to ‘run to the hills’ for extended  periods of time. In the wilderness he hikes (~4,000 miles to date),  sketches, photographs, and creates rubbings of natural objects. This  extensive documentation of the natural world then becomes the  reference material for his intricately detailed prints and drawings.  

Musso exhibits his work internationally with works in both museums and  private collections. He was recently featured in an award-winning  short documentary film titled ‘Passing Through’ that shows his  creative artistic process.


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We need you! Your support is key to bringing Why We Won’t Just Leave to local and global audiences through virtual curation and programming. A gift today supports…

* The development and presentation of a virtual gallery exhibition
* Physical materials and supplies to support the virtual exhibition and programming
* Ancillary programs that engage adults and youth in deeper explorations of climate change

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