FIVE years ago, Carol Anderson was all set to go to the Climate Art March in New York City.
“I had been looking online at something called climate art,” remembers Anderson. “I was making plans to go because that was a new thing for me. Groups made stuff, big things to carry in the parade.”
However, as luck would have it, the train Anderson would have taken suffered a wreck in Florida and never made it to Savannah to take her to the march.
“It was a bit of a letdown, but I said, ‘I’ve got to do something,’” says Anderson. “My background is in teaching, and an idea comes and you just work and work on it.”
That’s how Anderson created the International Student Climate Art Project, or ISCAP (pronounced “icecap”).
Now in its fifth year, ISCAP invites artists of all ages and skill levels to create art inspired by the climate, which Anderson notes is not held to a strict definition.
“If any student asks, ‘What is climate art?’ the answer is kind of, ‘What do you think it is?’” says Anderson. “It can be a photograph of some climate work on our coast, it can be making something with repurposed materials. People come up with really beautiful, maybe quirky works of art that are fun.”
The work created for ISCAP is on display this Saturday, Feb. 9, at Asbury Memorial UMC.
“We’ll have probably 50 or 60 donated works of art,” says Anderson. “Lots of different things, from professional artists’ work—what you might call ‘serious’ art—to art from children as well. In the call I said ages five to 105.”
As the title indicates, the project is open to international artists and students as well.
“I have a lot of contacts through my husband’s work, because he was the international studies director at Armstrong,” says Anderson. “I used to travel with him, and I still do, to other countries where there are exchange programs and those sorts of things. They’ve put me in touch with the right teacher. Sometimes it falls on deaf ears, and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Over the past four years, there have been contributions from four continents, eight countries, 14 cities worldwide, and 13 schools in the Savannah area.
“When I first started [ISCAP], I thought, ‘Okay, it will have to be high school kids. Well, no. I was completely wrong,” shares Anderson. “One, high school kids are very busy and focused, though we still have gotten wonderful things from high school students. But kindergarten kids, if they’ve got the right teacher and are introduced to the topic, they can just do the sweetest things.”
Anderson’s niece, a teacher at Green Tree Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri, had her class make pinch pots of endangered animals.
“A couple people have asked all along, ‘Why don’t you want to do a curriculum for this?’” says Anderson. “And the answer is no, it’s free for people to investigate on their own and lead their students as they want to. I’m not interested in mandating; I’m interested in facilitating and making an opportunity for them.”
Two important partnerships for ISCAP are Asbury Memorial and the Savannah Arts Association, so the funds raised will benefit them in some way.
“The Savannah Art Association has been generous with their spaces, so I want to pay them back or pay it forward,” says Anderson. “Another [benefit] is to give some money to Asbury’s children education fund.”
This is the first year of selling the artwork. Anderson notes that the artwork is priced to sell, with pieces ranging from $2 to $200.
“We’re having this show right before Valentine’s Day, so I’m hoping that the ‘love your mother, love your mother Earth’ idea will permeate,” says Anderson. “Maybe they will take home something that attracts them as a Valentine’s gift for someone.”
Ultimately, Anderson’s goal for the display show and sale, and for ISCAP in general, is to [teach]
“I want to increase awareness of what’s going on with our beautiful planet and appreciation for Earth’s beauty,” she says, “and express how you feel and what you’ve learned through artistic creation.”