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A new series of works by choreographer Ann Carlson, pictured above, will be part of the "Feet to the Fire" festival on May 10.
Posted 05.01.08

Eco-Arts Festival Explores Impact of Climate Change

The Wesleyan community will explore its environmental impact through an eco-arts festival called “Feet to the Fire” on May 10 that will feature food, music, art, theater and a premier by a world-renowned choreographer.

Running from noon to 5 p.m. at Veterans Park in Middletown, “Feet to the Fire” will combine the variety of arts performances, interactive exhibits and a farmers market with food from Connecticut vendors. Exhibits coordinated by the Jonah Center for Earth and Art will highlight energy conservation, sustainability and resilient communities.

Ann Carlson, award-winning choreographer, launches a new series of performance works, Planet Next, that envision life on a future earth. The first of these works, "Green Movement," uses elements of humor and surprise while challenging the audience to intimately confront the realities of their present day existence.

"Feet to the Fire is an extraordinary campus-wide and community exploration of one of the most urgent issues facing our world today,” says Pam Tatge, director of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts. “The idea that so many students, faculty members, community members, and artists have collaborated to make works for the festival is simply thrilling.”

The event will also feature a sculpture garden, labyrinth, theater, dance, music, poetry, art and performances by Art Farm’s Circus for a Fragile Planet, Marion Belanger, Tom Callinan, Electric Junkyard Gamelan, Green Street Arts Center, Independent Day School, Kalimba Liberian Group, Geoff Kaufman, Jesse Karlsberg, The Middletuners, Mixashawn, Noah Baerman Trio, Oddfellows Playhouse, RJ and the On-the-Spot Jug Band, Susan Romano, Sirius Coyote, Toussaint Liberator, Wesleyan students and more.

The festival is a part of “Feet to the Fire: Exploring Global Climate Change from Science to Art,” an 18-month project that includes research opportunities for a team of students and faculty to explore first-hand the effects of global warming, fieldwork studies in art and science, performances, pedagogical exchanges in existing courses, commissioning of artists and convening of experts.

“All of us working on the Festival are united in the belief that the arts have the potential to help us see and understand the impact of climate change while at the same time assist us in envisioning a sustainable future,” Tatge says.

The project is funded in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Wesleyan’s grant is one of only eight grants given to challenge campus-based performing arts presenters to integrate their programs more organically within the academic environment.

The Festival is co-sponsored by Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts and Environmental Studies Program, the Jonah Center for Earth and Art and the City of Middletown, in collaboration with the Center for Creative Research and the Green Street Arts Center.

Feet to the Fire will take place from noon to 5 p.m. rain or shine. Admission is free and open to the public. The event is located at Veterans Memorial Park in Middletown, located off Newfield Street. For more information and directions call 860-685-3355.