Stories from the Grassroots: The Greengrants Blog

A Future We Can Vibe With

Aug 17, 2017 | No Comments

Each day at Global Greengrants Fund, our global network of people on the frontlines and donors comes together to support communities to protect their ways of life and our planet.

The ways in which that support is offered can come in a variety of forms.

On August 12, graphic designer and artist Marcela Szwarc hosted a charity art show in Brooklyn, New York to support Global Greengrants Fund and our work with communities worldwide.

The event, called “A Future We Can Vibe With”, featured donated artwork from local artists spotlighting the potential for a more harmonious future – a future where people are able to live with one another and the world without exploiting people and resources. Attendees were able to purchase the artwork on the spot, with proceeds going directly to Global Greengrants Fund.

The opening night of the event was a huge success with around 100 attendees, live music, and the sale of a number of paintings, prints, drawings, and zines. People were able to continue to visit the venue and purchase art throughout the week.

We sat down with Marcela to learn how she came up with the idea for the event, and why she believes in helping local people act as forces for change.

Q: How did you find out about Global Greengrants Fund?

A: I found Global Greengrants Fund because I started looking into the 2014 Summit on Women and the Climate, which I had stumbled upon through my own research about sustainably-driven design studios. Women’s rights and climate justice are two causes that I feel very strongly about, and I’m always looking to address through my own design work.

Q: How did you get the idea for “A Future We Can Vibe With?”

A: Shortly after the presidential election, I noticed a lot of people were reading 1984 by George Orwell on the subway. I had just finished reading some science fiction by Philip K. Dick, and it occurred to me that most popular narratives about the future of humanity are pretty depressing. If we’re not colonizing another planet for resources, we’re grappling with a nuclear war or an android takeover. So I want to flip that script. Rather than pull from problem, how can we pull from potential? What if we can relearn to live with one another without exploiting each other? I think this narrative has yet to be discovered, and I wanted artists to take it into their own hands to create one in their vision.

Q: How do you think artists can play a role in supporting grassroots groups and protecting the planet?

A: Sometimes artists have to be willing to seek out these groups, with or without compensation. I think artists can get really caught up in the conversation of how to value your art, and when is it worth it to make work for free? Many of these groups are either so marginalized or negatively affected by capitalism, that bartering or skill trading is a more appropriate form of compensation. This exhibit is an effort to get artists in this conversation – it wouldn’t be possible if they hadn’t generously donated their artwork.

Q: What do you think are good ways that anyone could get involved in promoting a more harmonious future?

A: Be generous and take the extra step. We live in a capitalist society in which it’s easy to be wasteful and not consider the problem of war or poverty as a whole. Capitalism is designed to serve self-interest. Reuse materials as much as you can, which is a drop in the bucket but makes an impact over time. Also, take time to educate those around you about sustainability – if people are in the conversation, they’ll start to understand that it’s in everyone’s best interests to learn these practices. Find out how you can use your skills for good. Another important part of this equation is getting people from a variety of backgrounds into power. Overall, when women and people of color are involved the decision-making process, the culture is more egalitarian.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Marcela for organizing this event, and to all the artists and attendees for making the art show a success. It’s thanks to people like you that we’re able to provide resources to those with solutions to environmental harm and social injustice around the world!

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