Empty storefronts across the city will come to life for a month-long art festival that gets people exploring.

The 2020 Creative Climate Awards, hosted by the Brooklyn-based Human Impacts Institute, will see 15 artists from five cultural organizations across the city creating multimedia art installations that highlight the climate crisis.

Siara Mencia’s “The Price of Convenience.” Photo: Supplied

The event will feature window installations in previously empty storefronts across four of NYC’s boroughs — from the 3rd Avenue BID in the Bronx to Astoria, Queens and all the way to Midtown, Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. It will run from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15.

Human Impacts Institute Founder and Executive Director Tara DePorte said sparking meaningful action on climate justice and equity was more important now than ever before. “We are already seeing the impact of the climate crisis on our communities and this year has proven how sweeping and devastating those consequences can be,” she said.

Featuring predominately artists of color and many first-generation Americans, the festival will showcase new art with an audio tour and interactive map to encourage visitors to venture out to each borough to stimulate local businesses and start a conversation around climate justice.

Three of the chosen artists are from The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn: Kimberly M. Becoat, Siara Mencia and Run P.

Mencia told the BK Reader she was elated to participate in a collective effort to push forward thinking and perception-shifting creativity. “I believe it’s important for artists to join together under a common calling, especially when it comes to social justice,” she said.

“I’m displaying an installation of parchment paper, pigment, and resin made to resemble single use plastic bags, symbolizing the disturbing comfortably we have with such a toxic material.”

Artist Kimberly M. Becoat, who is featured in the festival. Photo: Supplied

The other artists are from Bronx Council on the Arts in the Bronx; Materials from the Arts in Queens; Chinatown Art Brigade in Manhattan and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island.

The festival will kick off with a virtual opening party on Nov. 15 and continue through the month with the citywide walking tour, powered through Pollinate Art. Organizers are hoping to bring at least 10,000 people through Brooklyn on the walking tour.

They said the art and installations would look to inspire conversation around how the current climate crisis disproportionately affects marginalized communities.

The top-voted window display will win a cash prize. Photo: Supplied

“With people of color on the front lines of the climate crisis, the selected artists have been chosen to engage with topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion to create space for new voices that are often stifled and go unheard,” organizers said.

The festival will take votes through the month on the best window display. The winning artist will receive $1,000 cash.


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Jessy Edwards

Jessy Edwards is a writer based in Bushwick. Originally from New Zealand, she has written for the BBC, Rolling Stone, NBC New York, CNBC and her hometown newspaper, The Dominion Post, among others.

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