January 12, 2017—Chicago, IL—Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is pleased to announce it is the co-recipient of a $140k grant from the Humanities Without Walls consortium administered by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. Beginning in April 2018, Gallery 400 will present Garden for a Changing Climate , a mobile public art project and interactive event series conceived by artist Jenny Kendler in six community sites throughout Chicago. Comprised of a series of moveable planters of Native Midwestern species, Garden for a Changing Climate directly embodies the otherwise largely invisible, slow and dispersed threat of climate change.
A collaboration between University of Illinois at Chicago faculty Hannah Higgins, University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty Noah Feinstein, Gallery 400 director Lorelei Stewart, and Chicago-based artist Jenny Kendler, Garden for a Changing Climate fuses interdisciplinarity, formal and informal education, museum commissioning and programming, and the creation of a new artwork using a central effect of climate change to demonstrate how interdisciplinarity across art, science, education, and social science can model pedagogy in an arts-based interdisciplinary undergraduate curriculum and create effective education about the changing climate, its impact on their lives, and how they can join mitigation efforts. In addition to presenting a large-scale public artwork at several sites throughout the city, the project will provide a CPS classroom curriculum for student engagement; facilitate coursework at UIC and UWM; and present a series of public programs to educate communities of Chicago residents on the impact of climate change and about potential ways to join in climate change mitigation.
"One of the roadblocks on the way to helping the public to truly understand the impacts of climate change is how intangible it may seem right now. But artists, scientists and educators are very good at making the invisible visible," said artist Jenny Kendler. "Now is the time for cross-disciplinary partnerships to find new ways to illuminate this challenge and the support of Humanities Without Walls will allow us to do so."
The grant is part of the Humanities Without Walls research challenge "The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate," centering around a broad question that resonates with many contemporary humanist scholars—namely, what is the work of the humanities in a changing climate? Humanities Without Walls funded projects demonstrate how the “applied humanities,” through collaborations of artists, scholars in the humanities, and scientists can contribute to the work on climate change, arguably the most pressing grand challenge of our time.
Founded in 1983, Gallery 400 is one of the nation's most vibrant university galleries, showcasing work at the leading edge of contemporary art, architecture, and design. The Gallery's program of exhibitions, lectures, film and video screenings, and performances features interdisciplinary and experimental practices. Operating within the School of Art and Art History in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Gallery 400 endeavors to make the arts and its practitioners accessible to a broad spectrum of the public and to cultivate a variety of cultural and intellectual perspectives. Gallery 400 is recognized for its support of the creation of new work, the diversity of its programs and participants, and the development of experimental models for multidisciplinary exhibition.
Humanities Without Walls aims to create new avenues for collaborative research, teaching, and the production of scholarship in the humanities, forging and sustaining areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation. To learn more, visit www.humanitieswithoutwalls.illinois.edu and follow on Twitter.