Art and the Environment

Art and the Environment: This KQED Arts collection focuses on artists whose environmental concerns are apparent in their work. Integrate the arts into eco-literacy, and discover different ways that artists address environmental issues through their art practice.


  • Painting A Future for Wildlife with Jane Kim and Ink Dwell | KQED Art School

    Jane Kim has painted hundreds of species of animals as a scientific illustrator who creates large scale installations and murals, “inspiring people to love and protect the earth one work of art at a time.” Take a trip to the California Academy of Sciences with Jane Kim as she draws inspiration from their collection and talks about an early obsession with teddy bears that led her to a life of using art to give the natural world a stronger voice.

    Check out the entire collection of KQED Art School videos here! 

    Grades: 6-12
  • Daniel McCormick: Visual Arts (Sculpture)

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, follow environmental artist Daniel McCormick as he creates temporary sculptures in the creek beds of West Marin.

    Grades: K-13+
  • Chris Drury: Visual Arts (Earthworks)

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, climb a tree with Chris Drury whose installations mimic the underlying patterns of the natural world. For more than a quarter-century, internationally recognized British artist Chris Drury has used the materials and processes of nature in his work. Drury's lyrical, often temporary installations mimic patterns that already exist in the natural world. Visit with Drury as he prepares a series of works for a six-week residency at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California, culminating in a show called "Whorls: Installations by Chris Drury," an indoor and outdoor exhibition featuring three site-specific nature-based installations. 

    Grades: K-13+
  • Andy Goldsworthy: Visual Arts (Earthworks)

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, meet British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy as he installs "Faultline" in the entrance courtyard of the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Goldsworthy creates artworks in the natural landscape using nature's materials to form sculptural work of deceptive simplicity, often while achieving amazing feats of balance and timing in the process. Whether ephemeral, permanent or designed to age with time, Goldsworthy's works inspire quiet introspection about the beauty of the world as a living organism in a state of continuous change. He hopes that his art serves as a gentle reminder of the threats that nature holds over us and how comparatively fragile we are. Original air date: June 2005.

    Check out the entire collection of KQED SPARK videos here! 

    Grades: K-13+
  • Jim Denevan: Visual Arts (Earth Works)

    Jim Denevan makes land art, temporary sculptures on the sandy beaches. Using only a stick and a rake, the drawings exist for a few hours before they are erased by the incoming tides. One has to view the drawings from 150 feet up or more in order to see them in their entirety. In this Spark video produced by KQED, Denevan composes two sand works and talks about his meditations and his process. Original air date: May 2005.

    Check out the entire collection of KQED SPARK videos here

    Grades: K-13+
  • Gregory Gavin: Visual Arts

    Gregory Gavin is an artist with a social cause. In this Spark video produced by KQED, explore his project called "Riveropolis," which was born out of his interest in bringing inner-city people together in a man-made environment reminiscent of nature.

    Grades: K-13+
  • One Tree(s): Natalie Jeremijenko

    When people think of science, many think of laboratories and researchers. In this video segment from Spark, the line between science and art is blurred when an art project involving genetically identical trees, doubles as a controlled experiment.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Invisible Forces: Ned Kahn

    Sculptor Ned Kahn designs and builds exhibits that explore the patterns of nature, like the beauty of wind and water in motion. His work places the spotlight on the mundane, allowing people to experience and reconnect with the natural world, the parts where nobody looks in their day-to-day life. In this Spark video produced by KQED, go behind the scenes with Kahn and his team of machinists to learn how he creates his work. His exhibits can be seen around San Francisco, including the Exploratorium the SFO BART station. Original air date: April 2003.

    Check out the entire collection of KQED SPARK videos here! 

    Grades: 4-12
  • Natural Selection

    In this video produced by KQED, explore Swarm Gallery as they open Natural Selection, a two-person exhibition featuring artists Vaughn Bell and Josh Keyes. Bell's installations involved both living and fabricated natural objects and conveyed an environmentalist message while giving urban viewers a break from the concrete jungle by offering an outdoor experience inside the gallery. Bell's work bounces between conceptual, performance, and installation art and reflects the Seattle-based artist's interests in ecology and public space.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Chinese-Born Artist Ma Li Makes Treasure from Trash

    Crafted from recycled materials, Ma Li’s dream-like sculptures celebrate individual freedom, imagination and play. In Ma Li’s hands, clear plastic bottles transform into suspended fields of jellyfish-like sculptures, and colored foam and clothes hangers resemble migrating flocks of birds. With references to Chinese history, ecological concerns, ritual and fantasy, the San Francisco Bay Area-based visual and performance artist weaves unlikely materials into large-scale immersive environments, and brings them to life with choreographed movements.

    Grades: 6-12