Earth Stories  Curator's Statement

Art is more than just pretty pictures. Throughout history, art has served as commentary on the social, economic and political climate in which it is created. Art can educate and enlighten; art can make a statement or even serve as a call to action. Artists express what is important to them through their work — their life experiences, their morality, their religion, their personal beliefs and their emotions. Art reflects our world and our lives and compels us to think, to learn, to adjust our viewpoints, and sometimes to act. Earth Stories is an exhibit that asks all that of you, the viewer.

Each artist chose a project they believed in, something to which they felt connected, simply something that will improve our planet that speaks not just to who they are as artists, but to who they are as human beings. As the curator of this show, I was surprised and pleased to see the evolution of a wide range and variety of projects that went far beyond what I had expected. Some artists were inspired by large scale and far-reaching projects like Architecture for Humanity’s focus on post-disaster development, design and reconstruction of seismic-resistant housing as seen in Torn Earth by Carol Larson. Valya explores the work being done by The National Geographic Genographic Project studying human migration in He Knew That She Knew That I Know. Regina Benson’s look at an Alternative Future draws attention to the work of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Others found their inspiration in smaller projects whose work was closer to home like the revitalization of buildings in Leipzig as depicted in Il y a des idées pour un peu de soleil by Britta Ankenbauer. Marion Coleman’s Tender Gardens celebrates the Tenderloin Neighborhood Community Garden in San Francisco. Thinking about the effect on landfills of every disposable coffee cup moved Lynn Krawczyk to create Latte Landfill. Simply considering the consumerism that leads to an accumulation of “stuff” prompted the creation of Kathy York’s Crowded House. Some found their inspiration in work being done to change the way we humans use the earth’s resources, like Cooking with the Sun by Jennifer Day, preserving the healing minerals of the Dead Sea in Maya Chiamovich’s A Source Of Life In The Dead Sea, and teaching sustainable farming techniques to droughtstricken areas of Africa in African Farmers by Jean Herman.

Earth Stories is a collection of 24 extraordinary artworks. So first, examine and appreciate the talent and vision of these artists, drink in the beauty and impact of each of these powerful pieces. Once you have enjoyed the art, look beyond their composition and color and consider the message. Look at the artist’s expression of concern and hope and take a few moments to learn more about the person or project that inspired each artwork.

In addition to their large installations, each artist also made a smaller piece (shown as an insert on each left-hand page) and all twenty-four will hang together as an overview, not just of the pieces in this show, but of the many projects in the world and those who have taken it upon themselves to selflessly work towards the common good.

It is my hope that you will enjoy this collection of artworks, but also take something away on a deeper level—that you will feel you have been educated, enlightened and compelled to become involved, if not with one of these projects, then with some other positive Earth Story.

— Leni Levenson Wiener
Curator, Earth Stories

Leni Levenson Wiener is an art quilter and instructor living just outside NYC. She has authored four books and gives workshops and lectures on art quilting, as well as coaching emerging artists. Her work is in various exhibitions across the U.S .and abroad.