Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Art and Art History

Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Julian Barnett

Second Advisor

Steve Budington

Third Advisor

Alison Brody


Studio Art, Environmental Art, Interactive Art, Climate Change, Mindfulness, Nature


Societal forces that push ideas of productivity, individual gains, and material wealth have distorted humankind’s relationship with the natural world. The sooner more of us acknowledge that nature is composed of living entities whose fates are interlaced with our own, the sooner we can alter our lives to focus on a relationship of respect and reciprocity with the natural world. Art is a medium that can communicate threatened aspects of nature due to climate change, while also provoking viewers to become more aware of their connections with nature. Drawing and painting are contemplative processes that can tell a story of times past, loss, and hope for the future. My project consisted of drawings signifying the effects of climate change on local Vermont species to distill such a vast issue into a comprehensible and personal form. These drawings were incorporated into a website allowing for clear explanation beyond the artistic interpretation of the viewer. Finally, my project invited the public to experience the artistic process for themselves by painting with water on “magic” canvases that turn black when wet and fade as the water evaporates. The public’s encounters with these canvases invited people to break from the hustle of everyday life. The outdoor setting and adjoining online graphics encouraged people to reflect on their relationships with nature. As the water evaporated, the fading of people’s paintings represented the metaphorical loss of biodiversity we face worldwide. People responded to this experience in notable ways, including recognizing the importance of nature in their lives and what we stand to lose. Unlike existing forms of climate change art that instill fear in viewers as a call to action, my project allowed people to recognize their appreciation for nature and as a result find more ways to enjoy and protect it. The poignancy of this experience will carry with people and inspire us all to strengthen our relationships with the Earth and consequently safeguard it.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.