The Flowers Are Burning: An Art and Climate Justice Project

The Flowers Are Burning: An Art and Climate Justice Project


"Burned by the Fire We Make" Collaborative Watercolor 22x30, Mary Kay Neumann and Helen Klebesadel


A n  A r t  a n d  C l i m a t e  J u s t i c e  E x h i b i t i o n

b y   H e l e n   K l e b e s a d e l   &   M a r y   K a y   N e u m a n n




September 16, 2017 - February 25, 2018

Science Inspires Art: OCEAN*

A juried group art and science international exhibition of digital prints of original works

New York Hall of Science

New York, NY



*The Art Exhibition*

Mary Kay Neumann and Helen Klebesadel offer an exhibition of watercolor paintings that considers the search for beauty and strength that sustains us in the face of adversity. The flowers are metaphors of power found in unexpected and overlooked places. Mary Kay and Helen exhibit both individual and collaboratively created artworks in which the energy of flowers burning with beauty AND power is illuminated.


*The Climate Justice Project*

The Flowers Are Burning is a traveling art exhibition and climate justice project. Climate justice is a social justice issue that highlights the environmental degradation with the racial, social and economic inequities it perpetuates. Every single human being depends on the environment. The intention of this exhibit is to link people's concerns about the natural world with resources that encourage involvement in making changes that protect what is in peril. During each art exhibition we ask our audiences to reflect on these two questions:

What do you love that needs protecting?

What are you moved to do about it?

We provide a place to sit, to ponder, and a book to write in. We ask people to write their stories of what they love that is missing, or endangered. We want ideas about what our community members are doing to actively create a more beautiful world that promotes protecting what they love. An invitation is extended to share resources, websites, and organizations that work towards involving people in everyday activism.

We share these resources on our website  The book of stories will travel with us to each exhibition and be an ongoing testament to our interconnectedness. Our goal is to add to the growing global community of caring people, who are inspired to be part of the solution.

A personal relationship with nature leads to appreciation and even love for those varied but important parts that make up the whole of our ecosystems.  Designed around the belief that we will act to save that which we love, the Flowers Are Burning is a collaborative visibility project urging each of us to take immediate action in whatever way we are able to alleviate the damage of climate change.  

The project starts by using art, and art making, as a way to mitigate the distress and denial that may overwhelm us at the idea of the unthinkable losses we are experiencing in the natural world.  The project asks us to begin to think about how we can learn to resist that which separates us and come together to make the changes we need to create and maintain the world we want to live in. We recognize that the costs of climate change are not borne equally by all people, often affecting those with the fewest resources. It is important we acknowledge our privilege as a Western nation.

Please check out the efforts and organizations we are gathering and send us information about art/science collaborations, organizations working to mitigate the effects on climate change, pollution, overuse, and habitat destruction that you know of that we should include. We especially seek connections to efforts related to building coalitions aimed at taking actions, small and large, on behalf of the planet and all the creatures that inhabit it. 

Decide what you love enough to do something to save it.  Please share with us those efforts so others can do the same. 


-Helen Klebesadel and Mary Kay Neumann

 Madison, WI


PRESS for "The Flowers Are Burning: Incandescent Watercolors"

Isthmus Picks July 2015

Isthmus Newspaper July 10, 2015 Flower Power

Wisconsin State Journal "On View: The Flowers are Burning:

Madison Magazine, July 2015
Beautiful Danger by Katie Vaughn:
"If you expect watercolor flowers to be delicate, fragile and carried out in soft, muted tones, you've come to the wrong show in The Flowers Are Burning. In this new exhibition at Overture Center Galleries, flowers by Mary Kay Neumann and Helen Klebesadel are strong, bold and harbingers of an important message--that we're ruining the planet. Roughly fifteen works, many large-scale and several made collaboratively, use flowers as a metaphor for the planet heating up. Their beauty attracts viewers so they can contemplate the issue and help think up solutions.
'Art creates a means in,' says Klebesadel. 'It's not just doom and gloom; it's beauty and action.'"