“Art, Climate, and the Environment”

On Wednesday, July 28th, SPOKE will host its second WeSPOKE Gallery Talk “Art, Climate, and the Environment.” This timely discussion with Allison Maria Rodriguez, Franklin Marval, and Carolina Aragón, will explore how and why these artists have put climate change at the center of their work here in Boston and beyond. Donna Brown, Executive Director of South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation & SPOKE Board member, will moderate the panel.

This discussion will be presented alongside Allison Maria Rodriguez’s current show at the new SPOKE Gallery “Once in a Lifetime,” the latest in a series of solo shows entitled Layered Time. Curated by Kathleen Bitteti, Layered Time features Boston artists working in a range of media exploring themes of time and its passage. Rodriguez and Marval are also working with SPOKE on the project “New Art in Old Colony,” a creative placemaking initiative in South Boston’s Old Colony neighborhood.

Rodriguez’s new video installation draws directly from her time volunteering in Costa Rica, the title inspired by the jarring, unique experience of witnessing an endangered juvenile blue whale becoming washed up on the shore of the Playa Cabuyal beach. The work, according to Rodriguez is, “both a memorial to and a witnessing of this particular whale, as well as a summoning within the viewer of a sense of the presence of interconnection. . . Multiple biologists stated that to see a blue whale this close is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. The title of this project comes from the tension I experience in this phrase.” Rodriguez provided further context for this experience at her gallery opening discussion with Bitetti on July 14th.

The panel discussion also coincides with ”FutureSHORELINE,” Carolina Aragón’s temporary art installation that illustrates projected flooding in Boston due to sea level rise. Aragón’s installation, similar to Rodriguez’s, uses visual art to raise awareness and inspire urgency in Boston residents when considering the impending impact of climate change.

The WeSPOKE Gallery Talk series began in May exploring artist Amanda Shea’s video BODY, where a panel of black artists and creators engaged in a deeper conversation around their journey with their own body and how it shaped their livelihood. This ongoing series of gallery talks addresses the role of the artist in timely topics such as climate change, racial reconciliation, and addiction and recovery, building on SPOKE’s nearly 30 years of activating art to triage critical community needs.

“Art, Climate, and Boston” will take place in the SPOKE Gallery at 840 Summer Street in South Boston from 6:30-7:30 pm. Register on Zoom for this hybrid in-person and virtual event here.

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