From what we’ve read and discussed in class so far, it seems to me that one very important and sometimes challenging part of moving towards sustainability is including the community itself in the process and being sure to take into account views and what they want to see happen rather than just bringing in an expert from the outside to change things. Recently, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) sponsored community art shows and mural launches in Fresno, CA (bottom), and in LA’s San Fernando Valley (top), events which included interactive urban planning workshops, local artists, and youth activists, as a creative way to bring a discussion of sustainability to the community and literally allow their vision to be seen (read more about them here). The event was designed to bring youth and local artists together as a unique way to focus on what they wanted to see. Leading up to the events, workshops were held in the community to discuss sustainability issues and allow the artists to take in feedback about the “collective vision”.
The EDF says that they wanted to focus on sustainability through art because they, the environmentalists, want to connect with people that they need to build trust in in order to accomplish their goals. Said Keith Gaby of EDF, “we need to accept that other people’s priorities- economic or cultural- are valid and important.” The idea is to use art to recognize the local needs of the community. Murals and other public art is a way of fostering communication about these issues in a way that is accessible to the community.