Art Activism and Social Change

Using the beauty of art to inspire social change activism that mitigate s the effects of climate degradation and injustice.


A R T / S O C I A L   C H A N G E

"HOWL" Mary Kay Neumann, Watercolor 30x22

"HOWL" Mary Kay Neumann, Watercolor 30x22

"Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it".  -Bertolt Brecht

Throughout history, art has chronicled dramatic changes in the world. Art can be a source of healing and a powerful agent of social change. I donate 10 percent of all my sales to non-profit groups and progressive organizations that fight for social justice, civil rights and groups that are active in fighting the effects environmental degradation and climate justice. In this way, art making can become a form of activism. I imagine my art having a higher purpose..... bringing awareness of the perils of climate change and injustice...and raising money for causes that make life better for the earth and her people.

I am especially proud of the activist collaborative endeavor I have been working on for the past 5 years with Helen Klebesadel, "The Flowers Are Burning: An Art and Climate Justice Project". This joint effort uses our artwork to bring attention to the myriad of problems our world faces due climate change. We seek to educate and inspire people to take concrete actions to protect and defend what they love. "With knowing comes caring."-Dr. Sylvia Earle, legendary oceanographer

Here are a few couple of my favorite organizations:

ROCKY INTERTIDAL LAB AT UCSC: Leads the effort to understand the catastrophic Sea Star Wasting Disease that has decimated the sea star (commonly called starfish) population all along the West Coast. Sea stars are a "keystone" species, meaning that the strength of their population directly and dramatically affects all other species in their ecosystem. One of the most important efforts we can make is to support long-term monitoring of these ecosystems.This dedicated group of scientists has been a leader in trying to understand what is happening to the sea stars. They need our support.

THE OCEAN CONSERVANCY: Healthy oceans mean more than beautiful coasts and vibrant ocean wildlife. If the oceans are not healthy, neither are we. Because the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breath this very second comes from our oceans. Ocean Conservancy works to solve some of the greatest threats to our oceans, bringing people, science and policy together to champion innovative solutions and fight for sustainable oceans. For over 40 years they have worked to protect vital ecosystems, defend critical legislation and enforce accountability of leaders and legislators and rally the world’s largest effort to remove trash from our beaches. Because a healthy ocean means a healthy planet.

FAIR WISCONSIN EDUCATION FUND: Educates the public about the harmful effects of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered and Queer people. They build coalitions with other LGBTQ groups to fight for equity and civil rights. This group of devoted activists were at the forefront in Wisconsin's fight to strike down the constitutional amendment denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Joyously, on Friday, June 6, 2014 LGBTQ families in Wisconsin have the full recognition and protections of marriage. However, transgender people can still be fired, evicted or turned away from public places simply because of who they are, and Fair Wisconsin pledges "not to stop our efforts to end this discrimination, for a single moment". Let us keep fighting the good fight.

SANCTUARY FOREST: A non-profit land trust located in the temperate rainforest of Northern California's "Lost Coast". Their conservation efforts include the protection of ancient redwood groves, old growth Douglas fir, wildlife corridors, other precious habitat and healthy stream flows in the Mattole watershed and surrounding regions. They are working to protect a wondrous and spiritual place that is very close to my heart.

THE CENTER FOR COURAGE AND RENEWAL : Founded by teacher, writer and activist Parker Palmer,  it is a growing global network that supports courageous leadership. It helps people lead lives of integrity, authenticity, hope and love. Their mission is to create a more just, compassionate and healthy world by nurturing personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it.

MISSION BLUE: Oceanographer, Sylvia Earle, unites a global coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness to create Hope Spots, a global network of marine protected areas large enough to restore the ocean, "the blue heart of the planet".