Pollution Prevention Summer Exhibition and Events Engaging Youth Leaders, Empowering the Community

Youth participants in The Art Effect’s curatorial programs are embarking on a journey into youth-led art and environmentalism with the support of funding from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) Community Grants Program. A series of community clean-up days, alongside initiatives to promote, educate, and institute community discourse around pollution prevention are planned through August 2024. 

Earth’s Reflection International Juried Exhibition brings together a compassionate roster of artists who specialize in ecologically informed work that brings attention to pollution prevention and offers creative solutions for one of humanity’s most pressing global crises. Artists explore themes inspired by the Earth; translating the sciences of ecology and geology into experiential art. This exhibition features artists working in the 2D and 3D mediums of painting, digital art, sound, video, performance art, and upcycled materials. With the education and support of local artists and activists including Dr Jane Lucas from the Cary Institute, Dr Deon Knights, Professor at Vassar College, and Sheri Deneen Reid, Environmental consultant, the youth curators have equipped themselves with the skills to think outside the box and inspire collective action in Poughkeepsie. This exhibition will be open from June 14 through August 9, 2024 with an opening reception for the community and artists on Friday, June 14 from 5-7pm. 

“Pollution prevention in Poughkeepsie isn’t just about protecting our environment; it’s about safeguarding our community’s future. Each individual’s actions, no matter how small, contribute to the collective effort in tackling climate change and preserving the beauty of our city for generations to come” says Dr. Jane Lucas, Community Ecologist and Scientist at The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

Students from The Art Effect’s workforce programs including Media, Art, and Design Lab (MADLab), Spark Studios, Trolley Barn Curatorial Team, and Youth Arts Empowerment Zone Liaisons, as well as students from The Art Effect’s Chapter of The National Art Honor Society are working together to improve their local environment through cleanups throughout the Youth Arts Empowerment Zone in Middle Main, Poughkeepsie. The Art Effect is also joined by the students of Enjin Arts Co-Creation program who are working on the creation of a unique sounds project that will be unveiled as part of the Earth’s Reflection exhibition. Additional clean-ups are scheduled for July 19, and August 3, and will provide tangible opportunities for youth to actively engage in improving their local environment. To get involved, email info@thearteffect.org.

Earth’s Reflection features artists from the Hudson Valley and across the country, including Mary Ann Agrest, Gisela Archibol, Destiny Arianna, Sarah Bachinger, Brandin Barón, Barbara Bose, Harrison Brisbon-McKinnon, Phineas Cashman, Gail Chapman, Co-Creations, Grace Davies, Amy DiMare, Serena Domingues, Jennifer Farley, Erica Frisk, Nic Galloro, Ilene Gold, Lauren Hollick, Danielle Jones, Emily Koch, Catherine Lavoie, Maxine Leu, George Lorio, Kristen Martin-Aarnio, Jen Mecca, Edward Mills, Kellyann Monaghan, Lala Montoya, Franc Palaia, The DIRT Project, PalmSun, Jack Straton, Naomi Teppich, Nathaniel Udell, G. E. Vogt, and Elena Zotova. 

As part of The Art Effect’s youth workforce development programs in creative fields, the Trolley Barn Gallery uses an innovative mentorship model to train youth to curate the gallery’s exhibitions and develop new initiatives for community engagement and placekeeping. “Planning this exhibition and the cleanups have further validated my strong feelings about environmental issues. I will continue using my voice for environmental impact and justice for the earth” says Crystal Serino, member of the Trolley Barn Curatorial Team.

Support for this exhibition is provided through the NYSP2I Community Grants Program. Funding is provided by the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Any opinions, findings, and/or interpretations of data contained herein are the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions, interpretations, or policy of Rochester Institute of Technology and its NYS Pollution Prevention Institute or the State.

The Trolley Barn Gallery is located at 489 Main Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. Hours are Thursday and Friday, 2–5 pm, and Saturdays 12–4pm during exhibitions. Visit trolleybarn.org for more information and a virtual exhibition or follow @trolleybarngallery for updates. 

All events are free and open to the public.

Friday, July 19, 4-5pm

Live! with Dr. Jane Lucas: Exploring the Microbes Beneath Our Feet 
Dr. Jane Lucas of the Cary Institute will be leading a live podcast recording on soil and microorganisms – exploring how the world beneath our feet is more diverse, complex, and essential than we can imagine. There are microbes in our bodies, ecosystems and agriculture and in her work Dr Jane advocates for sustainable agricultural practices to maintain healthy ecosystems while meeting global food demands. RVSP Suggested, Walk-Ins Welcome. Seating Limited. 

Saturday, July 20, 12-4pm
Community Art Workshop with Nature’s Impact

Founder of Nature’s Impact, artist and activist Serena Domingues will be leading an art making workshop in the Trolley Barn Gallery. This all-ages workshop will allow community members the chance to participate in a public art sculpture created with upcycled materials and inspired by theories of environmental justice. 

Saturday, August 3, 3-5pm
“70% Water: A Discussion on the Human Impact on Eastern Waters Ways and Ecosystems

The Art Effect’s YAEZ Liaisons will be facilitating a panel discussion between leaders in sustainability and ecology and artists inspired by climate change activism. The panelists will engage in an educational discussion about local water sources, hydrology and pollution prevention practices in the Northeast. The panelists include: Dr. Deon Knights, Assistant Professor of Earth Science and Environmental Studies at Vassar College; Chris Bowser, Education Coordinator at Norrie Point Environmental Center as part of the NYS Water Resource Institute at Cornell University; Maxine Leu, Interdisciplinary Artist, Educator and Environmentalist; and Destiny Arianna, Afro-Indigenous Multidisciplinary Artist. Seating Limited. 

About the Youth Arts Empowerment Zone (YAEZ): The YAEZ is a long-term plan to establish a youth arts district along Main Street in Poughkeepsie, with The Art Effect at the Trolley Barn as the anchor arts institution. It will focus on youth-driven placemaking and place-keeping in and around the Trolley Barn. In its early stages, there will be annual arts festivals around community-inspired artworks, created by local youth and professional artists, all of which will empower the local community.

About The Art Effect: For more than 40 years, The Art Effect has empowered youth to develop their creative voice to shape their futures and bring about positive social change. As the largest nonprofit arts organization in the mid-Hudson region, The Art Effect facilitates educational programming for more than 3,000 students annually, inviting them to explore, experience, and excel in the arts. It engages an additional 5,500 visitors through exhibitions and events. Programs provide an introduction to visual arts and media, allowing participants to develop real skills and guiding them toward achieving their academic and career goals.

About the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I): Funded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute is led by Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and is a partnership between RIT, Binghamton University, Clarkson University, Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the NYS Manufacturing Extension Partnership. NYSP2I’s goal is to make the state more sustainable for workers, the public, the environment, and the economy through pollution prevention. Pollution prevention is reducing or eliminating waste at the source by modifying production processes, promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances, implementing conservation techniques, and reusing materials rather than putting them into the waste stream.