Originally planned for April, the Ecotactical: Earth Day at 50 exhibit examines the contemporary role of Earth Day 50 years after the first 1970 celebration, and features artists like Ants on a Log, Nicole Donnelly, Julia Way Rix, Kristen Neville Taylor, Tools for Action, Sophy Tuttle, Water Ways, and Pili X.
Do we still need Earth Day as it was conceived in 1970? What do we need from it now?
When the first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency did not yet exist, nor did much of what we now know as the tapestry of environmental laws in the United States. Often credited with launching the modern environmental movement, the first Earth Day took place in a political climate thick with protests against the Vietnam War and the major American civil rights movement. According to the Earth Day Network organization, Earth Day is now the largest secular observance in the world and is celebrated by more than a billion people each year. Over the years, commemorations of Earth Day have included political demonstrations along with celebrations of the natural world, tree plantings, and other encouragements of individual actions in support of environmental health. As we look toward the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in April 2020, it feels like a very different time. Yet, the turmoil of our own moment and the increasing urgency of the climate crisis give the historical roots of the first Earth Day new relevance. Artists have played an important role in Earth Day from the beginning, regularly contributing graphic posters and iconography to buoy the movement, participating in Earth Day exhibitions, and offering dramatic, performative actions. Recognizing this rich legacy, the Schuylkill Center will host a gallery exhibition of works that respond to the question of what Earth Day means (or should mean) fifty years after it was first celebrated. Site-specific sculpture opportunities along with programming and events are also available.
The virtual reception will be held on the Zoom platform and include introductions by our new director, Tina Plokarz, images of the artwork, commentary by the artists, and a Q&A. RSVP here
The exhibition will also be on view in person starting September 21, following Covid safety regulations. Masks are required, social distancing of 6', and up to three visitors are allowed in the gallery at once. There are also some pieces installed out on our trails - perfect to visit along a walk.