Artists Tackle Climate Change at SummerFest 2018

Photo by WestBoundary Photography chris gill on UnsplashAn arts festival addressing climate change is coming to Northern Colorado.

“Mission Earth” is the theme for Off The Hook Arts SummerFest 2018, and more than 30 events, some free, are scheduled from June 24 through July 20 in Fort Collins.

Through a wide variety of concerts, lectures, films, art exhibitions and STEAM-based educational events for all ages, SummerFest will take a deep and thoughtful look at climate change and its impact on the planet. Mission Earth is dedicated to the life and work of late astronaut Dr. Piers Sellers. Among the festival’s highlights are world premieres by composer and Off The Hooks Artistic Director Bruce Adolpe and Artist-in-Residence Kate Doyle.

The centerpiece of Summerfest is Ouroboros, a multimedia project that features video, animation, music, and sounds from space and planet Earth created by Doyle and Adolphe.

This isn’t the first time the arts and sciences have come together to address our changing world.

Artists have been aware of climate change and vigorously responded to it for decades. Robert Rauschenberg designed the poster for the first Earth Day in 1970. A few years ago, his foundation launched the Climate Change Solutions Fund to provide grants for encouraging creative problem-solving toward a “vibrant, equitable, and sustainable world.” (See also the life and work of artist and activistJoseph Beuys, who helped found the Green Party.)

It’s timely to bring together art and science to consider the impact of climate change and the people driving local efforts to address it.

The City of Fort Collins and Mexico City were recognized by an international Bloomberg Philanthropies award as two of the “world’s most inspiring and innovative cities tackling climate change.”

The City of Fort Collins’ Climate Action Plan calls for the following goals: 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and carbon neutral by 2050.

SummerFest will host a variety of panel discussions, among them:

“What Businesses Can Do to Save Money and Act on Climate Change,” on June 27 from Noon to 1 p.m. featuring City of Fort Collins Climate Action Plan Program Manager Lindsay Ex, Dave Randall and Scott Denning of Colorado State University’s Atmospheric Sciences Department; Corey Odell of Odell Brewing; Software Architect Jeff Hill of Bounce Software; and Susan Quinlan of JAX Mercantile. Free. Donations welcomed. Registration required.

“Taking Climate Action Right Here,” on July 18 from Noon to 1 p.m., an informative conversation about what to do when it seems impossible to act effectively; about what makes Fort Collins” efforts innovation; and about the benefits of taking local action; featuring SueEllen Campbell who will offer resources to help us break down barriers to local action; Lucinda Smith and Lindsay Ex of the City of Fort Collins, who will discuss the city’s climate goals and progress, and the local campaign that focuses on a few simple things everyone can do to make a difference; and other community members talking about what they’ve been doing and how. Free. Registration required.

Tickets for Off the Hook Arts SummerFest 2018 range from $20 to $45 and can be purchased by calling 970-305-2261; or at A limited number of $10 student tickets available for each event. Advanced ticket purchase recommended.

Off The Hook Arts provides low-cost music education for students while cultivating a love of the performing arts through a stellar array of public concerts and special events featuring world-class and interdisciplinary collaborations between the arts, sciences, and humanities.

Katherine Valdez blogs about the arts at Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, Type your email address in the Follow box and watch for the confirmation email to complete the process. Check out her microfiction at and say hello on Instagram and Twitter @KatValdezWriter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Medium.

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