Arts & Climate Collective hosts annual festival, encouraging sustainability

People bang on drums during the Arts & Climate Collective annual festival. (Photo by Vishu Reddy)

On a bright Tuesday afternoon in front of the Hancock Foundation Building, students assembled huge paper trees and gazed upon sustainability-themed artwork for the Arts & Climate Collective’s (ACC) annual festival.

There, students listened as their fellow Trojans featured their sustainability-themed creations, from murals and sculptures to video games and drawings. Off by the side was a group of musicians who rhythmically played drums for the event’s duration.

The Arts & Climate Collective is a collaboration with USC Arts in Action, the USC Office of Sustainability and USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. Students from seven different USC schools have been awarded an annual grant. The grants go towards a multimedia or community-based project.

“The Arts and Climate Collective is where we want to look at the intersectionality between art and climate justice and really help fuel student-led projects,” said Au Chung, the ACC’s community engagement coordinator.

The grant takes applications every fall semester, awarding students $1,350 and providing “mentorship, programming, and networking opportunities” according to the ACC’s application guidelines.

At the event’s entrance stood a large mural which attendees could draw on to answer the question, “What’s one thing you want to see in a healthy, inclusive, sustainable Los Angeles?” Sprawled across its surface were drawings of trees, whales, flowers and hearts, interspersed with text calling for a cleaner environment.

In charge of overseeing the mural’s creation and handing out the markers was Monty Hughes, a senior majoring in public policy and an intern for the ACC.

“We love to do a co-creative thing like this at all of our events, just to get people thinking and drawing,” Hughes said. “We’re the Arts & Climate Collective, so of course we want people to make art.”

Student artists in the ACC’s cohort of annual grant receivers get to publicly showcase their projects that were funded by the ACC during the festival.

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