Planet earth, the environment and our future – Advice Eating

Photo by Matthew TW Huang

WaterFire Providence presents Planet earth, the environment and our future at the WaterFire Arts Center (WFAC), an art and science exhibition that explores the beauty and fragility of our world. This exhibition will be on view at the WFAC from Saturday 19 March to Sunday 1 May 2022, with a closure for a ticketed event from Monday 28 March to Tuesday 5 April 2022.


Monday, April 18, 6:30 p.m Panel discussion “Climate Change: Optimism and Action” with the University of Rhode Island

Saturday, April 23, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m Papermaking workshop with artist Haley MacKeil

Saturday, April 23, 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.mCome feed the official RI State Coral with the Sharp Lab at Roger Williams University

Saturday, April 23 at 3:00 p.m Lecture “Climate and Sea Level Change in Rhode Island: Are UN Trouble?” with Prof. Baylor Fox-Kemper from Brown University

Thursday, April 28 at 6:30 p.m Lecture “From Denial to Obstruction: Why We Need to Understanding Efforts to Stop Action on Climate Change” with Brown University Prof. J. Timmons Roberts

Planet earth, the environment and our future is made possible by the generous support of the NASA Rhode Island Space Grant Consortium; Kathleen and Barry Hittner; the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography; University of Brown; and the Roger Williams Park Zoo. Refreshments and catering at the Plant City sponsored opening ceremony.

Experience Luke Jerrams Gaiaa massive 23-foot-diameter representation of the entire Earth that creates a sense of the “overview effect” that has often been reported by astronauts feeling a “cognitive shift” in their perception of the fragile “blue marble” found “in the emptiness hangs”. ” Space. Gaia was presented at the recent UN summit in Glasgow and includes images from NASA. Joan Hall presents her luminous, appealing and massive work algae bloom. Richard Friedberg has six of his amazing and fascinating large scale sculptures of atmospheric phenomena from a tidal wave to a 21 foot tornado. Judy Chicago, one of the founders of ecofeminism, recently returned to revisit this work with three bold re-imaginations for 2022. Dennis Hlynsky has developed a new technique for capturing birds in flight with wondrous results and more.

Planet earth, the environment and our future also includes a visual overview of the roots and evolution of the climate crisis, with scientific observations from 1826, when the use of coal was first foreseen as a possible threat to humanity, to our most recent efforts to solve the climate crisis, such as the National Leadership in the Offshore wind power development with Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island.

The exhibition includes works by William Bradford, David Burdeny, Judy Chicago, Richard Friedberg, Joan Hall, Martin Johnson Heade, Katsushika Hokusai, Dennis Hlynsky, Duane Isaac, Luke Jerram, Young Joon Kwak, Sarah Jane Lapp, Janice Lardey, Haley MacKeil, Qing Liu, Joseph E Yoakum, David Whyte, and Faith Wilding

Admission is free for everyone, donations are welcome.

That WaterFire Arts Center opening hours are Wednesday – Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; open until 21:00 on Thursdays and Fridays. (The addition of Friday nights is unique to this exhibit.)

With special thanks to the many Rhode Island institutions that helped us create this exhibit, including the Providence Public Library Special Collections, RISD Museum of Art, New Bedford Whaling Museum, Rustigian Rugs, Providence Marriott Downtown, Dassault Systèmes , Providence Fire Fighters IAFF local 799 , Providence Fire Department, The Providence Journal, The Providence Parks Department and the Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History.


The beauty and grandeur of the earth has long fascinated and inspired artists and scientists of all cultures. Both use sight to understand the empirical facts of the real world – and again use images to convey their ideas and conclusions. This exhibition presents over thirty spectacular works of art by contemporary artists that expand on the connected nature of the world. It also provides an overview of the history of the climate crisis from the first scientific observation in 1826, which foresaw the use of coal as a possible threat to humanity, to our most recent efforts to solve the climate crisis, as the Rhode Island national leadership in of offshore wind power.

Also included are historical artwork and photographs from multiple cultures, spanning the continents and spanning two centuries, some of which trace Rhode Island’s connections to this larger history of discovery, exploration and exploitation.

The curatorial approach is not through the lens of art history, but rather [to better match its subject] It examines what we might call the ecology of our perceptual understanding and framing of the interconnected webs of theory and knowledge related to the environmental crisis. These often hidden values, contexts, metaphors and perspectives determine and frame each of our understandings of the reality of the crisis and even our moral relationship to truth, to the world and to one another. The differences between these many understandings complicate our conversations about the environment and make it difficult to reach consensus on the best solutions.

The climate crisis is the greatest existential threat our species has ever faced, and yet it is a crisis that we are entirely of our own making. We know this is true; and we know how to solve the problem, but we are still struggling to reach consensus to take action. This exhibition examines aspects of this mystery in the hope that we can learn to better identify, discuss and solve the challenges we face and find a way to build a just future for our planet.

The creativity of artists, the ingenuity of scientists and last but not least the insights into the diversity of different cultural perspectives are required to find our way forward. Just as the “overlook effect” gave astronauts a new perspective on the fragile beauty and wholeness of our planet, the arts offer a window into new ways to better understand the interconnected wholeness of our world, thereby rekindling our resolve to meet these challenges master.

About the author

For the past 10+ years I have worked alongside some incredible staff and volunteers to build the organization that WaterFire Providence is today. As Director of Creative Services, my team and I work on visual communications, graphic design, visitor experience, merchandising, and project management for programming at WaterFire Arts Center. To be a part of the Rhode Island experience for tens of thousands of people is incredible and I am very proud of Downtown Providence and the Valley neighborhood.

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