Seeing the impacts of a changing climate through art

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CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – Wildfires across the country sparked an idea in Cathy Jeffers. She said she wanted to give artists a platform to express the climate challenges.

Jeffers organized the Climate Awareness Project Exhibit featuring 17 artists at the Woodbourne Library in Centerville. The artwork will be on display throughout the month of March.

“I felt really motivated to provide artists an opportunity to interpret things about the climate in their own words and their own visual communication,” Jeffers said.

She created a quilt inspired by the wildfires she saw spreading across the United States and Australia over the last two years.

“I think overall you will see the huge flames that are happening and these smoky grey skies in the distance to communicate how devastating these flames can be,” Jeffers said.

The exhibit features many different forms of art including photography, paintings, sculptures, and wearable art.

“One artist has talked about the problems at St Mary’s lake with the runoff between fertilizer and waste,” Jeffers said. “We also have what I consider beautiful paintings, watercolors of scenes of winter, that were beautiful just for the sake of our beautiful environment.”

Anyone interested in purchasing a piece of art featured in the exhibit can contact Jeffers at artworks1111@sbcglobal.net.

Tess Little is one of the artists selling her work. She sculpted bamboo that caught the eye of Georgia Mergler, the community relations manager for Washington-Centerville Public Library.

“I really like this bamboo piece,” Mergler said. “She chose bamboo as her subject matter because it is a sustainable alternative to our reliance on wood and pulp products.”

“As artists, if we can say something impactful about the climate,” Mergler said, “make people enjoy the art and also realize that it has climate I think we’ve done our job.”

The library is open Mon. through Fri. from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The timing of this exhibit was excellent because we expanded our hours again at the beginning of March,” Mergler said. ‘Now we’re open six days a week and we are open in the evening and on weekends so people have more opportunities to come into the Library and take in the art.”

Mergler said they originally planned to host the exhibit in October.

“We had not yet fully opened things up in terms of encouraging people to stay awhile in the Library,” Mergler said. “so we paused that.” 

“We are thrilled that we finally have the month of March for people to come see the exhibit,” Jeffers said.   

Mergler said the library will feature a quilting exhibit about the Oregon District in April.

“We are here for people as soon as they feel comfortable coming back,” Mergler said. “We have several safety measures in place, but we are here and we are open for business.”  

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