University of Vermont


Eco-Art Gala on Earth Day

by Charles Martin '16, Sustainability Intern

I had the pleasure of experiencing a plethora of forms of environmental-based art at the Eco-Arts Gala on Earth Day. The Gala featured work created by students in Stephanie Kaza’s section of ENVS 195: Environmental Literature, Arts, Media, a new class offered for the first time this spring as well as students from Adrian Ivakhiv’s section of ENVS 295: The Culture of Nature. Students from the ENVS 195 class described the new class as “experimental, discussion-based, and creatively challenging” and said that they would recommend it for arts-based, creative students.


Although all of the pieces displayed were wonderfully and creatively done, there were a number that stood out to me.The first was “Spork” byKristina Puris, promoted by the “I chews to reuse” 2014 Eco-reps campaign here on campus. The campaign promotes using reusable sporks as ecoware at dining facilities around campus. This piece was made up of plastic, disposable spoons and forks. It really demonstrated the amount of waste generated through the mass use of a product that is generally accepted as the norm.  

A second piece, “Green perceptions” by Aidan Wahl, also caught my eye. The message of this piece, inspired by Aidan’s peaceful experiences of long walks through beautiful Centennial Woods, was to capture the fragile state of nature. Furthermore, it points to how easy it is for the art in Nature to be deformed and destroyed by careless human activities. This impressionist-style drawing showed the interconnected elements of Centennial Woods; demonstrating a creative expression of the fragile natural beauty offered by this unique woodland next to UVM campus.

One of my favorite pieces at the Gala was Remy Crettol’s “Back to the Basics”, which demonstrated the different stages of transforming a piece of wood into a wooden spoon. These carvings demonstrate and reflect the impact of technological advances on human activities.When we hold, say, an iPhone, we tend not to consider the steps that were needed to turn natural resources into this seemingly unnatural tool. However, by going back to the basics and examining, say, a wooden spoon, we can clearly see how it was derived from wood offered by nature.

The Eco-Art Gala was a great celebration of Earth Day as it exhibited final projects unified under the theme of an appreciation for the environment. After seeing the creative outcomes of these two interesting classes, my interest in taking an eco-art class has definitely peaked. I am excited about the opportunity to join my peers in creative expression of the environment!