"Future Generations,'" an oil pastel on repurposed cardboard by Lydia Wollard of Vanguard High School, received an Honorable Mention at the 2022 Climate Crisis Art Exhibit in Waco. Courtesy of Waco Friends of the Climate.
Feb. 16, 2022
A Waco-based group says art can speak volumes when it comes to climate change.
After being held virtually last year, the show returns in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
The juried installation will run April 4 to April 29 at Art Center Waco, 701 S. 8th St. in Waco. Deadline to enter is April 1.
Dr. Alan Northcutt, leader of Waco Friends of the Climate, holds one of the yard signs given away by the group. Courtesy of Alan Northcutt.
Waco Friends of the Climate grew out of an anti-Iraq War coalition called Waco Friends of Peace.
In 2012, the group changed its name to focus on what members saw as humankind’s greatest threat — global warming.
Today, the grassroots group has about 50 active members, led by Dr. Alan Northcutt, a retired pathologist.
For more than a decade, Northcutt has used a multi-pronged approach to raise climate awareness in the city of 140,000, halfway between Dallas and Austin.
One of the Waco Friends of the Climate's ongoing billboards. Courtesy of Alan Northcutt.
Northcutt said the group's actions include holding educational meetings, participating in climate protests, distributing reusable shopping bags and yard signs, lobbying Waco City Council for climate reform and funding an ongoing climate billboard. The group also started a styrofoam recycling program, which was later adopted by the city of Waco.
THE ART OF ADVOCACY
The group’s Climate Art Show was launched in 2017 as way to reach the public on an emotional level.
"Flooded City," an oil on canvas by Tuyen Bien of Tennyson Middle School, received an Honorable Mention last year at the Waco Climate Crisis Exhibit. Courtesy of Waco Friends of the Climate.
While Pew Research polls show the majority of people across 19 countries say climate change is a top threat, Northcutt says we still aren’t doing enough as a society to meet goals that many scientists say are necessary.
“Intellectually, we realize that if we don't keep global temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius, the world faces devastating impacts of climate change, which may even threaten human civilization,” Northcutt told GreenSourceDFW. “Our goal is to promote the visual arts to reach the emotional engine of people and thus ignite inspiration to fiercely and consistently combat global warming.”
"Collateral Damage," a Prismacolor pencil drawing by Jeremiah Ocampos of Midway Middle School, won the 2022 People's Choice Award. Courtesy of Waco Friends of the Climate.
According to Northcutt, since the show launched in 2017, the number of entries has grown to around 100, including more participants from schools and colleges.
The show is open to both amateurs and professionals. There is no age restriction and no fee to enter. Artists must be current Texas residents.
The show has a monetary incentive funded by members — cash prizes range from $50 to $1,000.
A variety of medias are accepted but the show is designed for art that can be hung on the walls. Small sculptures are also allowed. Read more about the show’s guidelines.
"What Does Climate Change Have To Do With Me?!," an oil on canvas by Shawn Knuckles, won First Place in 2022. Courtesy of Waco Friends of the Climate.
Judging is performed by members of Waco Friends of the Climate and a professional artist. Winners will be announced at a reception on April 22, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Waco Art Center.
Northcutt said interest in the show has been growing over the years.
“One year, the reception at the Waco Winery was packed with people — standing room only. For last year’s virtual show, there were over 1,000 unique visitors as I recall.”
Firelight, an oil on canvas by Natalie Stitt of Baylor University, won Second Place in 2022. Courtesy of Waco Friends of the Climate.
6th Annual Climate Crisis Art Exhibit
About: Annual juried art exhibit hosted by Waco Friends of the Climate.
When: April 4 to April 29, 2023
Where: Art Center Waco, 701 S. 8th St., Waco
Deadline to Enter: April 1. Note: Organizers request that artists email their demographics for each piece, along with their division by March 15.
Art drop off: March 31 and April 1.
Reception: April 22, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. when awards will be announced.