Messages pass through art faster than most other media. Art connects with the heart and the soul. Why do we feel that art is so important at Boston GreenFest? When art is born from materials that are given new purpose, there is a powerful message that is conveyed to the viewer. It engages artist and viewer in a dialogue about the essence of our existence on planet Earth. It provides a potential platform for transformation.

"What is art?" is the question asked by Impart's Emilie Pichot of Christina Mrozik, an artist from Michigan.

"I would argue that to answer the question 'what is art' is the same as answering the question 'what is communication?' I would define communication as the interchange of ideas, thoughts and opinions. In order to communicate efficiently, we need to acknowledge different types of learning. It is commonly understood that people learn through auditory, kinesthetic and visual means, and while everyone learns through a combination of the three, most people tend to have a clear preference. While art is often portrayed through visual means, there is also a plethora of examples of art being auditory, written and performed."

What is the purpose of art?

"I think it is the artists' ability to share what they've learned and experienced. Through sharing, art creates a speaking and listening cycle. It presents information to the viewer, and the viewer then receives and processes that information: agreeing, connecting, embodying, debating or refusing, yet engaging with that work. If you can impact someone's perception, you congruently will affect their actions. The viewer's response may spark a new idea and a discussion is born. The art informs the person, and the person in turn informs the art. I think that this type of communication is the key to good relationships, where we better understand the needs or expectations of the community, and that understanding creates value." Is art important? Why is art important?

"Art is only important if communication is important. I believe that when examining a situation or problem, it is useful to examine any situation from multiple perspectives, including but not limited to a logical, emotional, verbal, non-verbal, scientific, religious, locational, gendered and linguistic viewpoint. Being able to view a situation through multiple lenses creates more facets for understanding, and art is a means of viewing. Art has the power to create spaces that tap into multiple perspectives. For instance, it can create a space of intimacy, where someone can be met in their deepest place that is outside of words. It also has the power to create spaces for discussion, where politics, social injustice or cultural diversity can be approached in another form that transcends language. Or further, it can create spaces for connection where people can take on a symbol from an image and use it as their personal mascot. Art creates a cycle of sharing and receiving information and makes ideas accessible to every kind of learner."

George Sabra's Plastic Caps
George Sabra's Plastic Caps sculpture at Boston City Hall

This leads to the wonderful artists we work with during Boston GreenFest. George Sabra is a sculptor who has brought one of his pieces to grace the entrance of Boston City Hall. Here is the story behind it as told by Jeff Avila of Mobile Broadcast News:

Always on the lookout for new inspiration, George Sabra has recently become aware of the artistic possibilities inherent in the world of plastic. "Every second thousands of bottles of water and soda are being tossed," he explains. Thus, when a neighbor brought him a collection of plastic bottle caps and explained that the caps are not always accepted for recycling, Sabra was intrigued and challenged. "Every time I walked past those colorful caps, I realized that they had such beautiful artistic potential, but the question was 'for what?'" The answer came one morning over a cup of coffee.

He explains "There is this café where I go and sit outside beside beautiful water, trees, and native plants. While there, I happened to notice a plant called a bulrush reaching up toward the sky. It had such clean lines, and tapering ends - blowing in the wind. In a moment I realized that this wild plant was my inspiration for my bottle caps. In an instant I could clearly see how to put the natural world and the man made world together." With the help of more than 800 volunteers who collected and others student volunteer cleaned and sort thousands and thousands of bottle caps, and lids Sabra's vision began to take shape. The result is a beautiful and colorful 21 foot high sculpture that made its debut at the 2011 "Green City Festival" in Austin, Texas.

Says Sabra, "When we unveiled it, the crowd that had gathered seemed pulled toward it, as though it were a magnet. Then, as they walked around it and looked upward watching it blowing in the wind, they gasped when they realized it was a 'plant.' They got it. It was a very emotional moment!" The plastic caps sculpture was on display outside Austin City Hall during the Green City Festival on Sunday October 23, 2011. Sculptor George Sabra created a large scale public sculpture 21 feet tall made from thousands of discarded, reclaimed plastic caps and lids.

Join George, Dan and Peter of Fireseed Arts, Jason, Erica and Gloria as we put a call out to all artists to make Boston GreenFest a memorable and extraordinary artistic experience.

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Boston GreenFest is organized by
Foundation for a Green Future, Inc.