On Friday, March 17, the Ronj will host the Sustainable Ethics Week Art Show. The show, organized by the EcoReps. is designed to promote an interdisciplinary take on sustainability while acknowledging and celebrating student achievements in the arts. The show will be primarily composed of photographs by students of all backgrounds and class years united under the theme “Your Environment.” This event is part of a series of events happening during the Sustainable Ethics Week to promote awareness and discussion about sustainability in the community. The show will be in the Ronj for a limited time that has yet to be officially announced.
Even though the Sustainable Ethics Week had its first edition last year, this will be the first art show associated with the event. Talking to some upperclassmen, I found that there used to be an event similar to the Sustainable Ethics Week. Since the art show is one of the new activities in the week, there is much to expect from it. The organizers are EcoReps: Katharine Gaillard ’19, Madeline Mcgonagle ’18, and Abby Horrisberger ’18. They have been working on planning for the event since mid-February and will curate the artworks as a group. I have heard excitement about what sort of conversations and discussions an art show under this theme may inspire.
According to the organizers, the theme came from conversations with the Bates Photo Club, which has supported the event in getting more submissions. The Bates Art Society, Outing Club, and various art professors have also helped in the publicizing of the event. The theme has called the attention of students for being open to interpretation: “Your Environment” can be represented however artists interpret it. In an interview with Gaillard, she mentioned that sustainability has a different meaning for each of us and talking about it may be a new way to connect with people.
Maddy Smith ’20 is one of the artists that submitted artwork for the show. In interview, they told me their reasons to submit photos came from a trip to Norway and Svalbard. “It was a trip that fundamentally changed my view of the environment. In the cruise ship I was on, we traveled up to the boundary of the sea ice, which was miles further north than normal because of the unseasonably warm temperatures there. While in Norway and Svalbard, I saw both unprecedented beauty and fragility. Seeing the effects of global warming firsthand made me fear for the well-being of the places I care about,” mentioned Smith. According to them, photography is a way to realize how beautiful the world is and why it is so important to preserve it.
Colleen Hoyt ’20 also submitted photographs to the show. Emphasizing the importance to have different perspectives on sustainability and on the environment, Hoyt seemed excited that each perspective on the environment will be unique in the show. “Shows like this are important to me and really everyone because they allow others to see the world from a fresh, unique perspective, which helps them learn more about the various people and cultures of the world,” mentioned Hoyt. Like many other Batesies, Hoyt is passionate about nature. In her words “there is just so much beauty and simplicity waiting to be found in the natural world.”
This coming Friday, March 17, one can expect to see a variety of ways to interpret the environment. The organizers mentioned that the show is aiming to promote an interdisciplinary understanding of sustainability. Hopefully, this art show will bring a new lens through which Bates students can understand their relationship to their environment and their responsibility as inhabitants of this planet.