Exploring Climate Change Through the Arts

516 ARTS is organizing a collaborative season of public programming in the fall of 2015 that explores climate change through the arts to create a platform for education and dialogue. The public programs for HABITAT: Exploring Climate Change Through the Arts include: a series of exhibitions at 516 ARTS; the popular Downtown Block Party; special events with guest speakers; film screenings; and youth programs.

Climate change is an urgent issue of both global and local concern. The Southwest can be considered one of the most "climate-challenged" regions of North America, with rising annual temperature averages, declining water supplies, and reduced agricultural yields. In New Mexico we've already seen destabilized and unpredictable weather patterns, water sources going dry, forests not recovering from fire, loss of urban trees, and crop failures. Public programs for HABITAT strive to raise awareness about these issues by taking an innovative approach to engaging with social and environmental change, and by bringing the community together to focus on sustainability.


Knew Normal and Off the Charts
August 29 - October 31, 2015

516 ARTS presents concurrent exhibitions focused on navigating changing environments.  Knew Normal, curated by Nancy Zastudil, features paintings, drawings and photography and small props that bear witness to the effects of climate change on our environments, bodies and psyches.  Artists include: Gala Bent, Magda Biernat, Nick Brown, Mel Chin, Adriane Colburn, Naomi Kizhner, Lee Lee, Wendy Mason, Nina Montenegro, Ryan Pierce, Liliana Porter, Dario Robleto, Miriam Simun and Cedra Wood.  Off the Charts, curated by Rhiannon Mercer and Claude Smith, explores the visual language that artists use to document, process, map and manipulate a better understanding of the ever-evolving world we inhabit.  Artists include: Sandow Birk & Elyse Pignolet, Anne Gilman, Jerry Gretzinger, Mary Iverson, Bethany Johnson, Jane Lackey, Mitchell Marti, Nathalie Miebach, James Sterling Pitt, Ross Racine, Matthew Rangell and Alexander Webb.

Scott GreeneBewilderness and Beau Carey: Rise 
November 21, 2015 - January 9, 2016

516 ARTS spotlights two of Albuquerque's most prolific painters with concurrent solo exhibitions exploring contemporary changes in the landscape from human activity while referencing the rich history of classical and 19th century American Landscape painting.  Scott Greene: Bewilderness suggests a place existing beyond imagination, myth and reality where awe-inspiring pristine wilderness endures side by side with the idea of nature as something to be controlled and exploited.  Beau Carey: Rise references navigational coastal profiling and compositional structures of the 19th century American landscape painters to examine how modern landscapes came to be spatially constructed.  Rooted in globalism and environmental dominance, these paintings look at how we will navigate and view a rapidly changing physical world.


516 ARTS presents a series of speakers to address the issues around climate change from both the science and art perspectives.  Ruben Arvizu who, together with Jean-Michel Cousteau, was named Ambassador of the Global Cities Covenant on Climate and serves as Director for Latin America with the Cousteau Society (November 12, 5:30pm, presented in partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center).


516 ARTS is offering STEM+Arts workshops with artists Abbey Hepner and Rubén Olguin at local schools in partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, STEMarts Lab and The Paseo.  We will also host student groups at 516 ARTS for exhibition tours, discussions and hands-on activities throughout the fall.



Mel Chin Keynote

516 ARTS, in partnership with UNM College of Fine Arts, presents The Potential Project, a talk by special guest artist Mel Chin, which introduces a response to climate change through a model of sustainable economic freedom coming from a people without national status.

Interactive Art Projects, food, music and fun for the whole family!

516 ARTS presented its third Downtown Block Party on Saturday, September 12, 2015 on Central Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets Downtown, which expanded the gallery exhibitions (Knew Normal and Off the Charts) into the street.  The event was presented in partnership with the Downtown Albuquerque MainStreet Initiative in celebration of the Downtown Albuquerque Arts & Cultural District.  It highlighted outdoor artworks and projects that address alternative energy, food issues, and land and water use in the future, all with a focus on positive solutions and dialogue.  GhostFood by Miriam Simun, is a performance and interactive/participatory event that explores eating in a future of biodiversity loss brought on by climate change. The GhostFood mobile food trailer served scent-food paintings that were consumed by the public using a wearable device that adapts human physiology to enable taste experiences of unavailable foods.  Little Sun Pop-Up Shop, by artist Olafur Eliasson (Berlin, Germany) and engineer Frederik Ottesen (Copenhagen, Denmark), showcases an attractive, high-quality solar-powered LED lamp they have developed, which serves as a social business focused on getting clean, reliable, affordable light to the 1.2 billion people worldwide without access to electricity. 

BP crowd





516 ARTS
Albuquerque Public Schools
AmeriCorps VISTA 
Central Features 
Civic Plaza Presents 
Downtown Albuquerque MainStreet Initiative 
Downtown Grower's Market 
National Hispanic Cultural Center 
The Paseo 
STEMArts Lab 
University of New Mexico:
    Art & Ecology 
    Center for Advanced Research Computing 
    College of Fine Arts 
    Creative Writing Program 
    Landscape Architecture


The Albuquerque Journal 
Bank of America/Merrill Lynch 
Bernalillo County Community Events 
Conservation Voters New Mexico/Juntos 
Heritage Hotels: Hyatt-Regency Downtown
Hotel Andaluz
Levitated Toy Factory 
Mid-Region Council of Governments 
Positive Energy Solar 
Union of Concerned Scientists 
University of New Mexico    
    College of Fine Arts 
    School of Engineering 
    Office of Research/Provost


The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
Bernalillo County Community Events
The City of Albuquerque:
   Mayor Richard R. Berry, City Council
   & Urban Enhancement Trust Fun
The FUNd of ABQ Community Foundation
McCune Charitable Foundation
New Mexico Arts, a division of the Office of
Cultural Affairs, with the National Endowment for the Arts

Click to download the PREVIEW PRESS RELEASE (pdf)
Check back for updated information


read: HABITAT: Exploring Climate Change Through the Arts, by Emily Beneen, Local Flavor, November 2015.


Image: EVII from Jerry's Map by Jerry Gretzinger, Crowd view from the HABITAT Downtown Block Party