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Vote 2013

Vote 2013 is the Global Alliance of Artists Environment Xchange’s celebration of its first anniversary and a call to action for its 2nd year. 

Earlier in the month, Xchange members and partners nominated projects they want to feature as an Xchange event in the coming year (September 2012-2013). Now, it's your turn to vote! Peruse the nominations below, and vote for your top  three favorite projects by clicking "Vote Now". Chose projects that you want to participate in and that you think offer exciting and inspiring possibilities for the Xchange. Top vote getters will be selected to be previewed at the Xchange’s Vote 2013 Revealing on September 20 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Voting will close August 31, 2012, and is limited to Xchange members and volunteers.

Save the date: Attend the Vote 2013 Revealing for a sneak peek of each of the selected projects: September 20, 6-8 pm, Chicago Cultural Center. Learn more here.


A. Openlands Lakeshore Preserve Tour
Fort Sheridan, IL

Description: The Openlands Lakeshore Preserve at historic Fort Sheridan is home to three unique ecosystems, numerous forms of wildlife, and several awe inspiring art installations - some of which were completed by Xchange artists. In this project, an Openlands volunteer will lead visitors through the Preserve, pointing out areas of ecological and historical significance while sharing stories of the Preserve's artwork. Bring your walking shoes (and your camera) for this relaxing stroll along Lake Michigan.
Why it's valuable to Xchange Members: Participants will see examples of collaborative projects between artists and a large land conservation organization based in the Chicago region.
Cost: No Charge

B. Rooting: Regional Networks, Global Concerns
Chicago, IL
Description: Our project is a 3-day symposium highlighting emerging programs and projects by artists, cultural workers, radical chefs, rural and urban farmers, and small businesses. The program will spotlight creative responses to the extreme environmental, social and economic changes facing local and global communities with a focus on the Chicago region in the United States and New Delhi and other regions in India. The event will pull together local, regional, and international presenters to share projects and best practices addressing soil health, water conservation, advocacy, food production and distribution, and building sustainable communities. Presentations will be documented on video and posted online with a companion online publication with contributions by symposium participants.

Why it's valuable to Xchange Members:
• The cross-disciplinary dialog will connect diverse sectors while presenting new hybrid models of sustainability.
• Programming will provide a meeting place for diverse creative communities to nurture new collaborations.
• New local, regional, and international cross discipline networks will be established and/or strengthened by this event and publication.
• Documentation of the exchanges, events, and discussions will be made publicly accessible through online publication and promoted by the social and professional networks of the organizers and participants.
Cost: Free to $25, depending on event

C. Climate Change Xchange
Chicago, IL
Description: We all play a part responding to a changing climate. Working as artists or conservationists, we can change our own behaviors and influence others to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to changes that are already being felt. This climate workshop will present the latest research on climate change, local impacts, effective strategies for community engagement and introduce major conservation initiatives in the region. We’ll also discuss ideas at the intersection of art and the environment: How can art inspire and motivate people to do something about climate change? How can we create art with a small climate footprint?

Why it's valuable to Xchange Members: Members will learn about the science of climate change, how the climate is changing locally and strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Girded with this knowledge, artists may be inspired to create new work, reduce their carbon footprint & find out about organizations, communities in the Chicago Wilderness region working on climate change. There may be opportunities for future collaborations among artists, educators and conservationists in the region.
Cost: Every effort will be made to keep the workshop will be free, but it may be necessary to charge a small fee (less than $10) to cover expenses.

D. Joe's Garage
Chicago, IL
Description: Artists tend to collect stuff that may— someday— be useful. Theatre artists are constantly building and striking sets, using piles of lumber and buckets of paint. Buying supplies can be expensive; storing and disposing of the excess can be a nuisance— and wasteful (just think— there’s a new theatre company across town that might be looking for exactly the kitchen sink you’re about to throw away). “Joe’s garage” will provide a venue for exchanging art supplies where artists can bring in the materials they don’t need and take new-to-them materials that they can use. This will be a one-time event, as a trial run for a more long-term solution to facilitating the continuous exchange of supplies among artists, accompanied by a web page where artists can pledge their commitment to reusing materials and share links to their creations.

Why it's valuable to Xchange Members: Members will have access to new – and unimagined— materials to use in their creative work. Members will also have a chance to pass on the materials that have never come in handy or the half-worked projects that have refused to come together, while making space in their studio to set down their coffee cups.
Cost: Free to attend the exchange. Costs of materials will vary—from free (for artists who have brought in materials to exchange or who pledge to responsibly recycle or pass on materials when they are done with them) to $5 a bag (for people who haven’t brought in exchange materials or choose not to make a pledge).

E. Art for the Birds
Chicago, IL
Description: Most of us have heard or seen a bird strike a window— and bird collisions with glass pose a significant hazard to birds that migrate through cities and towns every spring and fall—across North America, 100 million to 1 billion birds die from collisions every year. During the day, birds can fly head-on into windows, confused by the reflection of trees, clouds, buildings, or skyline in building facades—but designers and scientists have been discovering how to use design to break up these reflections to help birds ‘see’ glass. Artists will be invited to submit their designs to the “art for the birds” competition. Artists will design and install patterns on windows to reduce collisions, then submit digital photographs of retrofitted windows to be reviewed by a panel of experts on bird collision, art and design; the top three designs, judged on creativity, effectiveness and artistic merit, will win cash prizes ($50-$100) and all entries may be used for educational program on bird-friendly buildings. To help artists prepare, artists will have access to information about design strategies that help birds to avoid collisions with glass; recent research has shown that birds will avoid glass when the glass has been overlain with a pattern that leaves gaps less than 4” wide or 2” tall (hawk silhouettes are not enough!).

Why it's valuable to Xchange Members: Xchange members will have an opportunity to use their creativity—exploring a new medium: glass, the context of a window— to have a direct, immediate benefit to the environment, community and migrating birds. Members will receive recognition for their work— credit will be given to the artist (and photographer) when their photos are used for education and outreach. And— 3 people will win cash prizes and additional recognition for their creative solutions to bird collisions.
Cost: No fee to enter the competition. Cost of creating the work varies depending on the artist’s choice of materials— ranging from salvaged vines to inexpensive paint to extravagant materials.

F. Buckthorn, Birds and Beauty
North Park Village Nature Center, Chicago, IL
Description: Explore the beauty of the North Park Village Nature Center, learn how to make a buckthorn loom, and explore opportunities for artists at the Center.
Why it's valuable to Xchange Members: The North Park Village Nature Center offers a number of programs as well as building exhibits that feature the arts. This is a great opportunity for artists and partners to learn how they can get involved.
Cost: TBD

G. Art Outside: The Tour
Cook County, IL
Description: The Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) is interested in exploring the intersection of art and nature and the potential use of arts as a tool for the interpretation of nature/environment/environmental issues by providing artists and arts groups with the opportunity to create work in, on and about its holdings. Art Outside: The Tour is the beginning of an exploratory process that we hope leads to Art Outside events at FPDCC sites. The Tour is an opportunity for artists and arts organizations to see a number of FPDCC sites with FPDCC staff and other artists/arts groups. The possibilities for collaboration and partnership, we think, would best be realized as artists see sites and venues and get inspired by the sites themselves. We plan to hold as least one tour of interesting sites in 2013 and could potentially hold more if there is interest. We propose a 4 to 6 hour bus trip with staff to a number of sites, with some sit down time for brainstorming and other discussion about ideas and possibilities.
Why it's valuable to Xchange Members: Xchange members will see unique sites where they may be inspired to create or develop new artistic pieces and collaborations. Xchange members will have direct access to FPDCC staff who are interested in the alliance between the arts and nature and using the arts as an interpretation tool. Xchange members will better understand the opportunities, challenges and considerations that come into play when collaborating with a governmental agency whose focus and mission are on protecting natural areas and connecting people with nature.
Cost: No Charge

H. Garlics & Greens: accessible soul food stories
Chicago, IL
Description: GARLIC & GREENS offers programs, stories, and multi-sensory materials showcasing the intersections between food heritage, migration history, social justice, the arts, and disability studies. Right now it is focused on connecting vegetable gardening to cooking traditions through a tactile documentary book. It makes a special effort to reach audiences with low or no vision because Black Americans are at a higher risk for sight loss from glaucoma, diabetes and hypertensive retinopathy.

Why it's valuable to Xchange Members: This is one of the most creative projects I have ever heard about. It's focus on people with disabilities is leading to such innovative programs and products that will benefit everyone--help all different types of people connect to food, gardening, and nature in new ways that touch on all the different senses. I think we should support it and learn from it. It takes "heritage gardening" to a whole new level. 
Cost: No Charge 

I. "Growing Roots" (Echando raíces): Paintings by Luis De La Torre
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, IL
Description: This fall the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum will feature in its flat art gallery the art of Luis De La Torre, a Chicago artist whose pieces depict a collision of worlds—the worlds of sleeping and waking, of man and nature, of the ancient and the modern. An inherent tension exists between these opposing worlds; a tension that is rooted in our history with the earth and our desire to shape an uncertain future.

Why it's valuable to Xchange Members: Xchange members will see art by a diverse local artist who works in a variety of media including oil, mixed media, and watercolor. The work shows a connection between humans and nature—sometimes empowering and at other times a heavy burden. His work directly speaks to the mission of Xchange members to explore social and environmental issues. Experimentation is a hallmark of Luis De La Torre’s work. His laboratory is his art studio, located in an old factory building in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. De La Torre’s work is difficult to classify because of its variety of media and subject matter, but De La Torre enjoys creating contradictions. The artist’s influences are wide ranging and include Mexican muralists Jorge González Camarena and Jose Clemente Orozco, surrealist painter Rene Magritte, and American Academy of Art professor and watercolor artist Irving Shapiro.
Cost: Free to Museum Guests - $9 Museum entrance fee for adults, $7 for Seniors, $6 for children 3-12

J. T-shirt Re-Purposing
Chicago, IL
Description: Depending on interest level, we were thinking of a workshop - 4-5 hours where we turn an unwanted t-shirt(s) into something else. We'd have to work out logistics in terms of interest and skill level. For people who have never used a sewing machine, we could make throw pillows or something of a similar nature. If there is interest with sewing experience, we could turn t-shirts into some other wearable item - skirts, embellishments, caps, or simple jackets. The sewing projects would be simple enough that they could be done by hand.
Why it's valuable to Xchange Members: Every one has unwanted tees. It's come to light that many donation programs are profiting from excess t-shirt donations and the donations are not really furthering the development of those in need. This work shop is one that could be passed along to other groups and youth organizations.
Cost: $0-25

K. Fragile Relations: Art, Nature and Environment
Chicago, IL
Description: The Fragile Relations: Art, Nature, and Environment exhibition highlights the work of Illinois artists who focus on issues relating to both exterior and interior environments. Nature and the environment is a starting place for the work to begin. The artists interpret their environment and are inspired by it using sculpture, photography, mixed media, video and installation.

Why it's valuable to Xchange Members: The exhibition and special programming will open a dialogue between artists and the general public about the issues artists are concerned about relating to their environments and the world around us.
Cost: No Charge

L. Random Acts of Doodleness
Chicago, IL
Description: Random Acts of Doodleness is an experiment in spontaneous art creation outdoors.Instead of taking the doodle with me, I leave it to be found by someone else. I mostly draw on found materials on-site, but also make a doodle out of material itself. The purpose is to be spontaneous, but also not attached to your creation. I always leave the piece behind, initial it, date it and take a photo for the record.We can do this as a disperse and gather event where we could share what we created. Or even collaborate!
Why it's valuable to Xchange Members: I feel that every artist sometimes gets stuck in their process. Spontaneous art/doodle creation would help them be playful, get out of their studio, be outdoors and help them not to be attached to what they create.
Cost: No charge

M. Myron Mills Ensemble
South East Chicago, Peoples Park
Description: The Jazz band plays Jazz and R&B while the artist paints the music and the dancer dance to the music. It is a happy atmosphere.
Why it's valuable to Xchange Members: The music is therapy to the ears while the sight of the artists painting is therapy to the eyes. We invite your group to dance with us!
Cost: $10