Nature and Art

Yvonne Murphy, Central New York Center, SUNY Empire State College writes:

“The relationship between humans and the natural world has always been a rich topic for artists, musicians, dancers and writers of all genres.  Artistic responses to the natural world offer audiences opportunities to better understand themselves, seek greater meaning, compare and contrast specific beliefs and ideas and to practice appreciation.  Ecological Art or Eco Art is a contemporary form of nature or environmental art created by artists who are concerned about local and global environmental issues and situations.  The field is growing rapidly with a variety of individual artists and art collectives working and creating around the world. It is a deeply interdisciplinary field that celebrates diversity and embraces innovative uses of materials (often including recycling, conservation and re-purposing movements) combined with music, performance and the written word.  This art is created in order to educate participants and stimulate conversation, connections and actions.  Frequently, eco-arts draws upon scientific and academic research to inform and bolster visual and theatrical components.  This form of investigation also includes examples of eco-activist art, art that actually changes the environment for the better, rather than solely representing it.”

Below is a list of resources on this topic. Find a more complete list of resources with links for learning and teaching about this topic on our Pinterest site: Follow Sustainability’s board Nature and Art on Pinterest.


A Short Guide to Writing About Art (The Short Guide), Sylvan Barnet

Writing With Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process, Peter Elbow

Web Resources

Natalie Jeremijenko, Pollution Pencil and Child Labour

Chris Jordan, a TED talk found at, Chris Jordan runs the numbers on modern American life — making large-format, long-zoom artwork from the most mind blowing data about our stuff.

Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Valley, NY.

Sustainability and Contemporary Art | ideas / events / inspirations.

The Unlikely Activist: Larry Grob

The Green Museum

A blog post in the Huffington Post about art and sustainability