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
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
Follow these organizations to learn more about climate change and its impact
- Alaska Conservation Foundation https://alaskaconservation.org/
- Alaska Wilderness League https://www.alaskawild.org/
- Alaska Youth for Environmental Action https://akcentereducationfund.org/ayea/
- Arctic Youth Ambassadors https://www.akgeo.org/arctic-youth-ambassadors/
- Defend the Sacred AK https://www.defendthesacredalaska.org/
- Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition https://fairbanksclimateaction.org/
- First Alaskans Institute https://firstalaskans.org/
- Gwich’in Steering Committee https://ourarcticrefuge.org/
- International Arctic Research Center https://uaf-iarc.org/
- Native Movement https://www.nativemovement.org/
- The Alaska Center https://akcenter.org/
- The Northern Alaska Environmental Center https://northern.org/
- United Tribes of Bristol Bay http://www.utbb.org/
BECOME A SUPPORTER
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
Thank you for your contribution!
Your donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.