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December 9, 2020

Rebecca Schultz Rocks Climate Activism Through Art

About the Author
Austin Berman

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Rebecca is one of over 300 amazing artists that InLiquid serves throughout Greater Philadelphia. For audiences everywhere, we offer free arts programming, including virtual studio tours, artist talks, online galleries, art-making workshops and downloadable content for young people.
Raised by a couple of avid gardeners in Pittsburgh, young Rebecca Schultz enjoyed nature and the outdoors, but perhaps took them for granted. Decades later, informed by the gravity of the environmental climate crisis, Rebecca has channeled her concerns into developing her own style of artistic climate activism. She strives to address these issues within her community, which being an InLiquid member has helped establish and expand. “My public and participatory work examines the interplay of reverence and grief I feel for the ecosystems that sustain us and humanity’s conflicted relationship with the larger web of life. As the natural world is pushed to the fringes and honest dialogue about the intertwined threats of climate change and biodiversity loss is still marginalized, I feel increasingly compelled to employ visual metaphor and experiential art-making to make the emotional connection to these issues tangible.”

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Using scientific expertise gained from residencies in Iceland studying rock formations and in New Hampshire studying the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, Rebecca imbues her geology-centric art with (actual scientific data). Currently, Rebecca is working on a series of paintings that convey the Hubbard Brook scientists’ research (paintings of minerals under a microscope, geologic and topographic maps of the forest, and structures and patterns within the rocks themselves). Her paintings, set to appear at the Abington Art Center in January, will feature an innovative virtual reality component. Holding up your phone to the paintings will reveal a series of digital layers that will have actual scientific data on geologic time and thin sections of minerals.
Participatory work is also a key component of her visual arts practice. Having spent 20 years exploring theater and community performance projects, Rebecca understands the importance of community engagement and arts accessibility – especially as tools for creating social change. Through her work with Mural Arts Philadelphia, Rebecca has designed two nature-themed murals. Her most recent mural design, going up at the Wayne Junction Train Station showcases images of plant life from Germantown and Nicetown drawn by community members from Rebecca’s workshops.
“It is a real gift to be an artist. Today, there are more ways than ever to use that gift.”
Rebecca has also done a variety of art installations in public parks – for example, she traced the root systems of trees in Elkins Park’s High School Park. At its core, her art focuses on making visible the often-invisible structures and systems around us. “The pandemic has made me think a lot more about how to make work so that it’s really accessible and that it’s something where you don’t have to go into a gallery or museum to experience it.”
We at InLiquid humbly ask you to support your creative community in this challenging moment. When you make a gift today, our Board of Directors has pledged to match your donation, doubling your impact. Can you support art in your community with a gift today?

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