Helen Mayer and Newton Harrison

“Widely known as the parents of the eco-art movement, the Harrisons have become world-renowned for using art to tackle environmental problems on a massive, global scale. Over more than four decades, the Santa Cruz-based husband-and-wife team have inspired the public to get behind environmental issues, from climate change to the impact of urbanization on the ecosystem — and on occasion have even successfully helped to bring about high-level environmental policy change.”

Among the amny projects is a 50 year long environmental art collaboration between the Harrisons, scientists, and members of the Washoe Tribe at UC Berkeley Sagehen Creek Field Station in the Eastern Sierra Nevada.  It involves moving groups of plant species to hibernate in an effort to increase resiliency to the rising temperatures of climate change and higher altitudes.

Felix’s colleague, Jeff Brown, says the Harrisons’ art — for instance, the huge, colorful, topographical maps they create for many of their projects — helps transform cold science into a meaningful story. “They’re allowed to get visceral,” Brown says. “They’re allowed to get emotive. They’re allowed to connect with people in ways science just can’t.”1


1 Veltmna, Chloe.”How Two Santa Cruz Artists Changed the Course of Environmental History.” KQED Arts. 11 Feb 2016.





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