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Art for the Climate

Emphasize Climate and the natural world in the City’s “1% for Art” program and build on the successful Earth Day Poster and Film contest.

Photo of Barbara F
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Written by

Barbara Fukumoto

How are you connected to Sunnyvale?

  • I live in Sunnyvale.

What type of applicant are you?

  • Community member

Stage of Development.

  • Idea with active ongoing efforts (ready to be scaled for Sunnyvale)

What problem are you aiming to solve? (100 words)

For the transformational change required to reverse Climate Disruption, we need a variety of engaging ways to keep the climate challenge in our awareness, inform the community, and inspire action.

Tell us more about your climate strategy or solution (500 words)

According to Sunnyvale’s Community Vision, created after extensive public outreach, Sunnyvale aspires to be a “regional environmental leader” that takes “environmental preservation and protection seriously and consider[s] how each action will affect Sunnyvale for future generations.” Further, “The City will seek opportunities to utilize “green” practices in its operaton and delivery of services and encourage residents and businesses to adopt such practices.” pp. 2-34 and 2-36 This proposal seeks to strengthen and expand our existing environmental arts programs and to apply the City’s environmental vision to the “1% for Art” program. 1. Build on the successful Earth Day poster and film contest for students. Devote increased resources to promoting the contest and widely sharing the top submissions. Create a traveling exhibit of the winning submissions. 2. Work with the Arts and Sustainability Commissions to develop policies that encourage a significant proportion of the “1% for Art” funds to be invested into art that encourages a shift in mindset toward protecting the earth and the air and that highlights solutions to the climate crisis. In view of the urgency of the climate crisis and the shortage of such art to date, it seems reasonable that a much of this 1% funding be focused on climate/environmental art during the next five to ten years. Consider providing recommendations to developers/business owners to encourage use of their art funds to commission works with an environmental/climate theme. 3. Consider working with the Sustainability Commission to develop core messages that could be addressed through an additional arts contest.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (100 words)

Art can raise awareness, attract attention, capture the imagination and inspire action. It can make climate change visible. It can reach new audiences. It can plant seeds, open minds and bridge barriers. And it can touch the emotions in ways that facts alone cannot. Art is a powerful and underutilized communication channel.

Explain how your idea would be implemented in Sunnyvale (700 words)

Encourage Council to devote more resources to environmental outreach, including environmental art. Since the Master Plan for Public Spaces is currently being updated, planned to go to the Arts Commission in September, this would be a good time to talk with staff and Council members about how to go about encouraging the 1% for Art fund to direct a significant portion of its resources to Climate art. Apparently the formal outreach happended last summer, but perhaps community input would still be accepted. This page includes a link to sign up for updates on the update process.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (250 words)

Polls and the Community Vision indicate that the community would be receptive to climate art. Even nationwide polls indicate that there is broad support for actions to address Global Warming. Funds for Climate are are already available in the 1% for Art fund. Raising the profile of the existing Earth Day Poster and Film contest would require additional outreach funding. This proposal addresses the difficult and rather fuzzy process of raising awareness, sharing critical information in an engaging way, changing mindsets and inspiring action. The Art for Climate proposal’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions would be indirect, long-term, and impossible to measure. However, some of the most important things cannot be measured. Why not direct some 1% funds to a community priority? And the City’s Earth Day Art and Film contest engages youth and their families—strategic points of impact.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of people affected. (250 words)

Expanding outreach around the the Earth Day art and film contest would enable it to reach even more students and their families throughout the City. Not only would more artists be actively engaged, but their work would reach more people. The reach of the “1% for Art”piece of this proposal would depend on the number, quality, and placement of the installations. Placement at busy locations would reach even more people. Installations near playgrounds would touch children and their parents. There is a great opportunity for the city to use it’s own “1% for Art” funds to commission environmentally themed art for the new Civic Center.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (500 words)

The 1% for Art funds are already collected, and continue to be collected. To be determined is whether the Master Plan for Public Art will emphasize Climate Art, so that more of such art will be created. These issues will be determined by staff and Council, with resident input. If fundiing for expanded outreach to encourage even more students to enter the Earth Day contests is not allocated, staff could consider using volunteers to visit the schools to raise awareness about the contests. Developing guidelines for the 1% for Art Climate program would take staff time and consultation with the Arts Commission and perhaps the Sustainabilty Commission.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (300 words)

Further consultation with staff and Council members is needed It may be good to know if other cities have environmental arts programs and if so, how they are structured.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with our partners?

  • Yes, share my contact information


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jérémie Gluckman-Picard

Awesome to see you idea here Barbara F !

Thank you for contributing. I adore the level of detail you've included about all of the stakeholders who would engage with the project in some shape or form. I would be curious to discover what was the outcome of the Public Art Master Plan and how this effort might help boost the visibility of that:

I also wonder how we might engage the business community (especially developers) to participate in this effort?

As you continue to refine this feel free to explore the Circular Design Guide, this activity in particular provides a framework to map stakeholders:

Finally, don't forget to `Publish` before the deadline this Wednesday. Super excited for everyone to access your vision.

Photo of Barbara F

Thanks for the news article link.

The updated plan is expected to go to the Arts Commission in September. (It has been delayed.). I need to contact staff in charge to learn more.

Probably the first step would be to put forth a clear vision for the 1% for Art funds that the city collects from the developers who don’t choose to install art themselves.