The Art, Ecology and Climate Project

The Art, Ecology, and Climate Project

All art is ecological. It is composed of materials that bear ecological histories. It refers to the planet we inhabit in ways that register environmental changes and that shape its audiences’ ecological awareness, thinking, and habits. The Art, Ecology, and Climate Project brings such concerns to bear on Syracuse University’s art collection, at a time of intensifying and unsettling ecological and climatological change. Our research team has curated fifteen online galleries (e-museums) from the collection, each devoted to a different ecological topic, idea, or issue. A general instructor’s guide offers assignments applicable to any of the e-museums.

Detailed guides to individual e-museums offer additional tools for teaching ecology and climate through art, as well as instructional techniques for approaching art in the classroom – or on your own – through the lenses of ecology and climate. Additional guides focusing on individual artworks can be found on this web page.

E-museums

General Instructor's Guide

Black and white portrait of a female, in profile, with a crow in front of her, wings spread out.

Animals & Animality

Explore artworks that engage with animals, human animality, and animal-human relations.

E-museum
E-museum contents
Teaching guide

view of a tree in the middle of a desert, with ombre colored sky in tones of blue to yellow to orange

Atmospheric

Reflect on artworks that make air and atmosphere visible as media for light, sound, respiration, weather events, and aesthetic experience.

E-museum 
E-museum contents
Teaching guide

Bewilderment

Reflect on how artworks can raise ecological awareness by estranging their viewers from familiar elements, places, plants, or animals.

E-museum
E-museum contents
Teaching guide

Fine art print with a brown background with a deckled edge, depicting multiple scences of animals and western symbols laid out in a map like orientation

Entanglement

Discover artworks that capture complex interconnections, dependencies, and harms between plants, animals, and elements.

E-museum
E-museum contents
Teaching guide

Environmental Justice

Reflect on how ecological harms are entwined with cultural histories of inequity.

E-museum
E-museum contents
Teaching guide

black and white photo of inside a mine, with two figures extracting ore, with headlamps on

Extraction

Study artworks that depict processes of environmental extraction, from mining and quarrying to logging and silk production.

E-museum
E-museum contents
Teaching guide

 

street view of four hot dogs stands with yellow and blue umbrellas, and 4 vendors standing next to the stands, red brick building behind them with a sign that reads Sabrett

Food Systems

Study artworks that depict aspects of domestic and global food systems.

E-museum
E-museum contents
Teaching guide

tortoiseshell enameled box in brown and orange patterned speckels, lid open that is lined with red velvet

Materials

Discover artworks made of ecologically interesting materials, including  woods, metals, animal parts, fibers, semi-precious stones, and more.

E-museum
E-museum contents
Teaching guide

Pollution & Contamination

Explore artworks that engage with human activities that add ecologically harmful elements into air, water, or land.

E-museum
E-museum contents
Teaching guide

 

Screenprint of four animals running through flames. The animals appear as black silhouettes. The flames behind them are red and yellow.

The Anthropocene

Explore artworks that register humanity’s irreversible impact on the planet and its ecosystems.

E-museum
E-museum contents
Teaching guide

Image depicts a snow leopard lounging on a cliff ledge.

Wilderness & Wildness

Reflect on how artworks portray “wilderness” areas and “wild” life around the world.

E-museum
E-museum contents
Teaching guide

The Art, Ecology, and Climate Project team includes Mike Goode, William P. Tolley Distinguished Professor in the Humanities; Kate Holohan, curator of education and academic outreach at the Syracuse University Art Museum; Jeffrey Adams, PhD student in English; Jeanelle Cho, Architecture ‘24; and Abigail Greenfield, History and Political Philosophy ‘25. The project is supported by the William P. Tolley Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities, the Syracuse University Art Museum, the Graduate School, the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Engagement (SOURCE), the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Graduate Student Organization.