Campus summit explores the intersection of art and environmental justice
“Paying Homage: Soil and Site,” a free, full-day interdisciplinary summit to promote dialog on the interplay of environmentalism, social justice, the arts, and community identity, will take place on the campus on Saturday, Sept. 8.
Presented by Artspace and cosponsored by the Yale University Art Gallery, the summit will be held 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the lecture hall of the Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel St. Artspace, located at 50 Orange St., will host a closing reception 5:30-7 p.m.
The summit will respond to the Artspace exhibition “Ball Snake Ball,” which presents objects and installations by a group of emerging and mid-career artists across the United States who use clay to confront issues of environmental justice specific to their communities, and artwork created by participants in Artspace’s 18th annual Summer Apprenticeship Program. Scholars, activists, educators, and civil leaders working on environmental justice issues will explore the politics surrounding environmental needs as well as the consequences of historical environmental racism on local communities. The summit will also examine the land itself as a lasting monument to these and other injustices. The day’s agenda will place the arts at the center of these conversations, investigating how creative engagement with the land through the artistic medium of ceramics can offer a new understanding of the links between land and justice.
Elizabeth Yeampierre, an attorney and environmental and climate justice activist of African and Indigenous ancestry, will be the keynote speaker at the summit. Yeampierre, a former dean of Puerto Rican student affairs at Yale, is currently the executive director of UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization. In 2015, she was part of the leadership of the People’s Climate March Mobilization, a march of over 400,000 people. She has been honored for her environmental justice leadership with the 2015 Earth Day New York and Natural Resources Defense Council Advocate of the Year Award, among many other honors. Her talk will take place 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.