The artsPlace water exhibition combines science and art to create change

“I hope people feel something when they see works of art. I think it’s one thing to read a scientific paper that tells you about climate change, and it’s another to really feel what climate change is in your gut when you look at a picture. When people feel things, it creates a change in their lives. ”

CANMOR – Carrying out the message of climate change can be a challenge, but the hope of the virtual water gallery is to blend art and science to open people’s eyes to the natural world around us.

“It was an amazing collaboration between artists and scientists working together during the pandemic to create works of art that express feelings and reactions to climate change,” said program director Nicole Fuger. “They document landscapes that are in transition right now.”

The virtual water gallery launched in the summer of 2020 to bring together artists, water experts, conservationists and the public to reflect on the challenges of climate change. Now the virtual water exhibition has become a personal exhibition at artsPlace, which will run from May 21 to June 17.

Switching from a virtual exhibition to a personal exhibition was relatively easy for the gallery.

“This is such a beautiful exhibition. It contains works by professional artists, “Fuger said. “It contains works of art by people who are scientists and artists, and there is even a section with works of art by children from the Bow Valley.”

The aim of the exhibition was to bring together people from different disciplines to find solutions to the problems facing the world.

“The whole idea behind it is that it launched as an online space to connect artists from all over Canada, but also water experts from the Global Water Futures program,” said lead curator Louise Arnal, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Hydrology. “The philosophy behind it is that we believe that sharing views between communities of artists, indigenous peoples, scientists and so on can really help us find solutions to the challenges we face in the water.”

While science and art may seem like two disciplines that would not go together, mixing the two can have a big impact on people who experience the result.

“People are more open to that now and they see the value of merging the two worlds,” Arnal said. “It is with this interaction between the two worlds that new creative and holistic ideas can emerge.

Mixing science and art can create a unique perspective that changes the way one looks at a situation, especially one as complex as climate change.

“Scientists share research using articles from journals and participate in conferences, but they are for part of the population,” Arnal said. “Not everyone understands scientific graphics, so being able to convey this through these collaborations and artistic environments is a great way to bring this important information to a wider audience.”

The aim of the exhibition is to change people’s point of view, especially in a place like Canmore, where residents can see the changes in the environment first hand. Residents can now come and see in the exhibition what they have witnessed in their lives and how scientists share their own views on this.

“I hope people feel something when they see works of art. “I think it’s one thing to read a scientific paper that tells you about climate change, it’s another to really feel what climate change is in your gut when you look at a picture,” Fuger said. “When people feel things, it creates a change in their lives.”

After the opening of the exhibition, there was an immediate response from residents, according to Arnal.

“We see the effects this virtual water gallery has on the local community,” Arnal said. “We received fantastic feedback from the opening event and it gives me hope that the people living here are receptive to these events.”

Visitors to the exhibition are also encouraged to fill out questionnaires funded by government grants at artsPlace or online. These studies look at the changes in perspective on the water challenges and climate change that the exhibition is causing.

“We hope this shows that we have a positive impact.”

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