ART AND ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION
Creek College originated in the form of a question; how can we, as artists, make the broadest impact in aiding restoration efforts? We began to ask; can a poem benefit a creek? In what ways can sound, dance, sculpture, design, and other art practices bring attention to creek restoration?
Our aim is to catalyze a public response to environmental risks, and to consider the ways in which art, education, and environment create a sense of place, security, and meaning.
We partner with local watershed councils and ecologists to develop our barter system. Our classes are designed by local artists- many working at the intersection of art and conservation- for various ages, interests, and skill levels. In this way, the project creates a broad cultural context for diverse groups to connect, share, and examine the needs of the environment.
Over time the college will grow with the guidance of local community, working collaboratively to develop models for the needs of each neighborhood.
CONNECTION TO NATURE AND COMMUNITY
For many, the environmental crisis invokes fear, and through fear, feelings of paralysis and hopelessness. The creative process can help reconnect without distancing or numbing. Our programs allow participants to discover some of the inherent healing aspects to exploring nature, and to finding nature through art —physically, psychologically, spiritually.
Art allows us to explore the horrific, beautiful, peaceful, threatening. In this way, art has potential that perhaps traditional environmental education lacks - a natural way of forming meaning where important or difficult issues can be expressed sincerely, and where intuition and self-exploration can be guiding.
Creek College acts as a terminal. It allows dozens of participatory, visual, and social projects related to the creek to flow through and grow. Working on location at the creek site, participants experience the natural setting as a classroom. This promotes engagement with an outdoor environment’s gifts, along with connection to a unique and special place in the world- one that is possibly as close as their own backyard.
Our inspiration comes from a shared vision with other art education and conservation programs, the feedback we receive from our teachers and participants, and the vision for a healthy planet.