Garden for a Changing Climate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Erin Nixon, Assistant Director, 312 996 6114,

Garden for a Changing Climate A city-wide public art project about climate change created by artist Jenny Kendler
April 23–August 25, 2018

Planter Composite Img 6932
Jenny Kendler, Study for Garden for a Changing Climate, 2017

Partners and Locations: American Indian Center, Albany Park; Marshall Square Resource Network, Marshall Square/Little Village; Sweet Water Foundation, Washington Park; 360 Nation, West Garfield Park; Office of Sustainability, University of Illinois at Chicago

Created by Artist Jenny Kendler

April 9, 2018–Chicago, IL–Garden for a Changing Climate is a community-driven participatory public art project created by artist Jenny Kendler that uses a traveling garden of local plants to give Chicagoans a dynamic and tangible experience of the effects of climate change.

Through this moving and multi-sited garden, Chicago residents can envision the otherwise largely invisible, slow, and dispersed threat of climate change, and understand how a shifting climate will change our urban environment. Community-based organizations in Albany Park, Little Village, UIC, Washington Park, and West Garfield Park shape how the Garden project draws participants into an understanding of how environmental changes will affect them directly.

Filled with diverse Midwestern plants and constructed with reclaimed materials, the fleet of planters are the center of community-based activities, walks, and conversations considering the coming climate-related effects on Chicago. Artist Jenny Kendler describes the work of this community co-created project as an opportunity “to create plant-based infrastructure which will provide meaningful resilience as our planet warms, systems shift—and perhaps even collapse.” Working with these community organizations to create a series of public programs, Kendler focuses on collaboration. “At these climate change street fairs, GCC works side-by-side with Chicago residents to envision positive post-climate-change futures—staking out strategies to claim physical and cultural space against the forces of disaster capitalism, preparing our communities to thrive in this rapidly changing climate.”

Garden for a Changing Climate programming will take place from April through August 2018 on UIC’s campus and across four Chicago neighborhoods. The launch event will celebrate Earth Day at UIC and their ongoing Climate Change Commitments to create a resilient campus that recognizes, responds, and educates the campus community about the impacts of climate change. This outdoor pop-up event, planned by UIC students as part of Garden for a Changing Climate, features booths and activities from various organizations on campus and throughout Chicago that explore sustainable and green practices for everyday life.

At its heart Garden for a Changing Climate asks participants to consider our relationship to a changing climate and asks: What does climate change mean to the lives we live here in our city? How will the lives of humans, plants, animals, insects, and other species change or be altered? What unexpected opportunities to restructure a more just world may be provided with these changes? What are we hopeful about in re-shaping our futures? Garden for a Changing Climate aims to encourage citizen science and bring new sense-based awareness to the oftentimes imperceptible issue of climate change. Reconnecting our sensitivities with nature’s shifts in time and space can help us understand the new paths being made in this quickly changing world—and give us a compass by which to chart our own way forward, together.

In addition to events accompanying the Garden planters, local residents are featured, alongside scientists and naturalists, in a documentary video by filmmaker Nellie Kluz that maps out, in clear and engaging ways, the impact of the ecozone shift and the effects of climate change in the city of Chicago—from human health impacts to new plant environments, from extreme weather conditions to housing instability.

Gallery 400 Garden for a Changing Climate Programs:

Monday, April 23, 10am-2pm — Earth Day Sustainability Fair with Garden for a Changing Climate, University of Illinois at Chicago
Saturday, June 16, 11am-4pm — Garden for a Changing Climate at the Juneteenth Celebration, Sweet Water Foundation
Early July — Marshall Square Garden Appreciation Tour Hosted by Esperanza Health Center Garden at Telpochcalli School and Hammond Elementary
Monday, July 21, 12-4pm — Garden for a Changing Climate Street Fair, American Indian Center
Thursday, August 9 — Freedom Camp Community Celebration, 360 Nation at Charles Sumner Math & Science Community Academy

Additional program details to be announced. For a complete list of programs visit


Gallery 400 also offers guided tours for groups of all ages. Tours are free of charge but require reservation. Please complete our online form (accessible at to schedule a tour of Garden for a Changing Climate. For more information, or to discuss the specific needs and interests of your group, please contact us at 312-996-6114 or

This collaborative, community engaged project is funded by the Humanities Without Walls consortium based at the Illinois program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Humanities Without Walls consortium is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Partners in producing the project are artist Jenny Kendler, curator Lorelei Stewart (Director, Gallery 400) and art historian and educator Hannah Higgins at UIC, education researchers Noah Weeth-Feinstein, Alexandra Lakind, and Cori West at UW-Madison, as well as numerous students, scientists, and community activists.

All Gallery exhibitions are supported by the UIC School of Art & Art History; the UIC College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts; the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


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 & 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.