“Visions of a Sustainable Valley” Retrospective

OASIS Fine Art & Craft, an artists’ co-operative with a storefront gallery in downtown Harrisonburg, helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020 by featuring a collection of original art created in response to a call for works reflecting on “Visions of a Sustainable Valley.”

With the encouragement of local grassroots environmental organizations Earth Day Every Day Harrisonburg (EDED) and the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV), Barbara Camph, OASIS artist and EDED team member, and Karen Lee, of EDED and CAAV, took up the challenge of creating this invitational show. Their efforts, combined with other OASIS artists, gave rise to a remarkable and diverse collection of creative works meant to inspire, educate and help viewers imagine a way toward resiliency in the face of growing environmental and societal threats.

EDED, formed in 2019, is bringing local attention to the crisis of plastic pollution and the waste inherent in single use plastic. CAAV members are working on promoting the 50by25 campaign, urging more renewable energy and increased energy efficiency in Harrisonburg. Members of these two groups felt our area artists could offer a valuable means of instilling efforts like theirs into the fabric of our community. And be a great way to honor Earth Day.

“Visions of a Sustainable Valley” was generously sponsored by James McHone Jewelry, Earth Day Every Day Harrisonburg, Hess Financial, Eugene Stoltzfus Architects, and Steven Toyota. The works were judged and prizes awarded to three winners and a “People’s Choice” award pick.

Additionally, Barbara worked with art teacher Christopher Michael at East Rockingham High School late last year to have his advanced art students illustrate the harmful effects of plastic waste. Their works served as an inspiration for a “Plastic Waste Blues” public art mosaic for downtown Harrisonburg. OASIS displayed the students’ work along with those of the artists contributing to “Visions of a Sustainable Valley.”

The 23 works by 10 local artists comprising “Visions of a Sustainable Valley” and 15 works by 14 art students for “Plastic Waste Blues” were displayed at OASIS throughout April and May 2020, but because of COVID-19 shutdowns, few people were able to see the art in person. Thanks to OASIS and EDED efforts, these works were available for virtual viewing on Facebook including an opportunity to vote for the “People’s Choice” award. The opening reception planned for April’s First Friday had to be canceled and with it the means of publicizing and giving the project the recognition and attention it deserved.

We acknowledge OASIS Fine Art & Craft for the fine work of its organizers. Just putting on an invitational show is a feat in itself–a major effort with lots of steps and coordination. They responded to CAAV’s invitation and pulled it all off beautifully, including inventing Harrisonburg’s first virtual art exhibit in the pandemic! 

Karen Ryder Lee, Earth Day Every Day, Climate Action Alliance of the Valley, and contributing artist

In hopes that these works can be more widely viewed and appreciated for their contributions to the sustainability conversation, photos of the “Visions of a Sustainable Valley” projects, together with commentary from some of the artists, are featured below. Please find photos of the student works and more about the “Plastic Waste Blues” project here.

CAAV is working to broaden our own, and our community’s, understanding of the importance of resiliency on an individual and a collective basis. Resiliency includes sustainability, adaptation, and mitigation. Education is critical for needed action. Art is a wonderful way to do that and we sincerely thank OASIS for their role. We believe what follows helps illustrate useful concepts and ideas.  Enjoy!

Joy Loving, Climate Action Alliance of the Valley liaison for the 50by25 campaign


Artists were asked to create art which depicted our valley in the future. Some chose to show valley scenes which are beautiful and hopefully will remain so. Some chose to show sustainable practices which will maintain the beauty in our valley.  –   OASIS


Windmills

Janet Kuller

1st Place Winner


Four Seasons in the Valley

Natalie Darling

2nd Place Winner

My thoughts when deciding to create this piece for the show:
Things that we often take for granted but shouldn’t. Like the beauty of the changing seasons in our valley. Keep it green and keep it clean, that we, and future generations, may continue to enjoy the seasonal changes and renewals in the Shenandoah Valley.

Natalie Darling
Four Seasons in the Valley
Second Place Award


Solar Power for ALL!

Barbara Camph

3rd Place Winner


Afton Mountain

Pam Tittle

People’s Choice Winner


Fertility

Bahir al Badry


Protest

Bahir al Badry


UNFCCC

Bahir al Badry


More Wind Power Please!

Barbara Camph


Autumn in the Valley

Natalie Darling


Crystal Clear

Natalie Darling


Augusta County from Ravens Roost Overlook

Laurence Heine

On a gorgeous sunny and cool spring day we went on a ‘field trip’ to visit some places of interest in Nelson County and take some pictures. On the way home, we drove north on the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped at the Ravens Roost Overlook to view the scene.

I have always been attracted to the many folds in the Blue Ridge Mountains and this was a great location to photograph them.

This image is an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image made from three separate photographs taken at three different exposures.

Photograph date: 6/21/2019
© 2019 – Laurence G. Heine


Lacey Spring Sunrise

Laurence Heine

We enjoy numerous sunsets near our home but usually we are not up early enough to see summer sunrises. On this day I woke early. When I looked out the front windows I grabbed my camera and ran into our front yard to capture this sunrise. I had photographed an almost identical sunrise two years earlier.

Photograph date: 7/7/2018
© 2018 – Laurence G. Heine


Threatening Clouds

Laurence Heine

My wife and I were out for a drive one sunny afternoon and we saw a dark cloud with ominous-looking wisps descending from it. We drove toward it for about 15 minutes looking for a place to stop and photograph it. The picture was taken in Rockingham County along Sky Road, near Greenmount.

Photograph date: 5/7/2017
© 2017 – Laurence G. Heine


Bowl with Bears

Kathy Kavanagh


Cherish the Valley I

Kathy Kavanagh


Cherish the Valley II

Kathy Kavanagh


No Higher Task Than Building Living Soil

Karen Ryder Lee


Zero Waste Dream

Karen Ryder Lee


Tenacity II

Jessica Martinkosky


Victory Garden

Jessica Martinkosky


Metamorphosis

Charlotte Shristi

“When the Eagle and Condor once again fly wing tip to wing tip, it will herald a time of partnership, love and healing, and the Earth will come back into balance. When the People of the Eagle help the Condor soar again, they will cease making the choices that are destroying the Earth, and their own sense of isolation, unhappiness and stress will vanish.  Together, they will make a new design for the children and for future generations, for the good of all life everywhere.” – Carol Schaefer, Grandmothers Counsel the World: Women Elders Offer Their Vision for Our Planet

Excerpted from Charlotte’s artist statement about this work. Read her complete statement here.


Natural Chimneys

Pam Tittle


Ravens Roost

Pam Tittle



Take a virtual tour of the artwork as it was installed at OASIS during April and May 2020. Click on the image above to find a link to the tour.

Please find photos of the student works also featured at this show and more about the “Plastic Waste Blues” project here.