Special artist showcase encourages Wacoans to combat climate change

Serena Rigby signs the The Waco Friends of Peace/Climate's petition for Waco to enact more environmentally friendly laws. Jessica Hubble | Multimedia Journalist

By Courtney Sosnowski | Reporter

Waco Friends of Peace/Climate kicked off their special artist showcase Art Exhibit on Saturday night in order to raise awareness about climate change.

Environmentally themed art decorate the walls of Terry and Jo’s Food for Thought, which guests could view while listening to the acoustic tunes of classical guitarist Frank Exum and eating desserts. Throughout the night, guests submitted their votes for “people’s choice” while two judges selected the pieces worthy of cash prizes.

They are hosting “Climate Change Art Exhibit: The Art of Survival,” sponsored by Waco Friends of Peace and Climate, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., every Tuesday through Sunday from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1.

Miami senior Caitlin Charlton was one of the dozens of people who attended the open-house styled event.

“I think climate change is one of the biggest threats to our world,” Charlton said.

She has attended Waco Friends for Peace/Climate’s monthly meetings for about a year, and had participated in some of the groups petitions and protests throughout her time at Baylor.

The first place winner of the $1000 prize was John Ciaburri, for his digital art depicting a girl wearing a gas mask standing on a pile of trash. Behind her, billows of smoke float out of factory towers.

“Basically I was just trying to something post-apocalyptic climate change,” Ciaburri said. “I have a few pieces; I’m doing this whole series of kids in a neglected and changed future…I’ve always believed that we’re in control of our future when it comes to the climate.”

Many of the artists who contributed work for the exhibit attended the event. Travis Hipp created “solar powered art” to inspire others “to take activism to their daily lives.”

The piece, which consists of two large pieces of wood which hang from a mount, depicts the words “Be the change you wish to see.” Hipp burned the Gandhi quote into the wood using a hand held magnifying glass and sunlight over the course of several days.

Free renewable grocery bags and tips for environmentally-contentious living were provided to guests, as well as an opportunity to participate in Waco Friends of Peace/Climate’s recent petition for the city of Waco. The petition, which has a goal of 1000 signatures, asks the Waco City Council to commit to making Waco renewable energy efficient by 2050.

“Action is happening at the city, state and regional levels right now and so what we’re trying to do is get Waco to join some 40 plus other cities so far that have pledged to go 100 percent renewable by 2050,” Waco Friends of Peace/Climate director Alan Northcutt said. “We can make this [night] not only about education and enjoyment of the beauty of this art [but] also about taking action.”

The other winners of the art competition were Sean Knuckles for his piece depicting the end of the planet titled The Escape Party and Kathryn Ruth with a colorful acrylic painting of the coral reefs, Saving Color.

The people’s choice winner was Bodhi Heilskapa’s photograph, Cedars. A special award was also given to teenage artist James Johnson, for his contribution titled “Obras son amores y no buenas razores” translated “Actions speak louder than words.”

All of the artwork will be on display and available for purchase at the venue though the month of September.