Perpich News

MN Climate: A Creative Call for Change – November 6, 2019

Perpich Arts High School students invited the community to MN Climate: A Creative Call for Change on November 6, 2019. Students responded to climate change through Visual Arts, Theater, Dance, Spoken Word, and Music. The event was designed to coincide with the Santiago Climate Change Conference (COP25), the international meeting where world leaders gather to discuss ways to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. The COP 25 meetings will convene from December 2-13, 2019.

Perpich students wanted to give center stage to the unsung climate change artists who are lighting the way towards a just and sustainable future. Students, arts and environment supporters, and community members were in attendance.

The evening began with Priya Dalal-Whelan speaking. Priya (Perpich ’20) is seventeen years old and outreach director for MN Climate Strikes. When Priya is not working on the strike, she is studying creative writing at Perpich Arts High School. Then Deepak Ray took the stage. Ray is Senior Scientist at the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. He conducts research on local to global scale food security. Among the questions that he has explored are: does the productivity growth in crops track rising food demands and how does climate change already impact crop yields? To answer these and other broad questions, he works with colleagues from around the world using high-resolution global crop statistics that he builds. His goal is to explore, through the agriculture lens, ways toward a future in which people and the planet prosper together.

The Visual Arts Exhibition was produced by juniors in the visual arts department. Their works were responses to the question: what about climate change do you care about? The pieces addressed how we got the planet to where it is today. They addressed the people, places, and creatures affected. And ultimately, the pieces addressed what our future will look like if we don’t change. They ranged from informative pieces, to outcries, to soft reflections, and were all a call to action.

Music students performed ambient/ephemeral music based on sounds of the environment. Literary Arts students performed poetry and spoken word pieces. Some items were found poetry sourced from the most recent Climate Change Report. Attendees had the opportunity to compose letters to Planet Earth. Community groups like Golden Valley Garden Club, People for Pollinators Golden Valley, Veterans for Peace, and the Minnesota Zoo Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program were in attendance. Water Bar & Public Studio set up a pop-up onsite. They serve water – literally, and figuratively – at their free tap Water Bar, and through other artist-led projects, programs, and partnerships on water and climate. Their goal is re-centering the value of water in public life – through service, care, creativity, and collaboration across sector and with community.

The evening culminated with Climate Change Theatre Action. Perpich student directors performed eleven plays selected from the 50 available through Climate Change Theatre Action. The playwrights came from every inhabited continent on the globe, represented several cultures and Indigenous nations, were from industrialized and developing countries, urban and rural areas, and ranged in age from early-twenties to mid-sixties.

The selected plays were:

  • CANARY by Hanna Cormick
  • Bigger Love By Peterson Toscano
  • Drip By Yolanda Bonnell
  • Breathing Space By Yvette Nolan
  • Miss Viola Evie Anderson’s Dining Hall for Bees By Nathan Yungerberg
  • Ice Flow By Philip Braithwaite
  • The Arrow By Abhishek Majumdar
  • Blood on the Leaves By Madeline Sayet
  • You’re DAVID SUZUKI, aren’t you? By Nelson Gray

Perpich was in great company with this event! There were hundreds of other events organized around the world. See the full list here:

Founded in 2015, Climate Change Theatre Action (CCTA) is a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented biennially to coincide with the United Nations Conference of the Parties meetings.