Promoting climate action through art: Social Art and Culture and Arts at the Aspen Institute announce new cohort of “Artivists”

March 7, 2024

The two organizations collaborate to invest in future artist-activists who will join Aspen Ideas: Climate in Miami Beach from March 11-13.

WASHINGTON, DC, March 07, 2024 – Today, Arts at the Aspen Institute, in collaboration with Social Art and Culture (SAAC), is pleased to announce a new cohort of Artivists, artist-activists, who will participate in Aspen Ideas Climate. Social Art and Culture in collaboration with the Arts Program at Aspen Institute have launched the first cohort of  the Environmental Justice Artivist Fellowship®.

This initiative will train and provide professional development, networking, and a platform for artivist voices seeking to bolster strategies in climate action and environmental justice through the lens of visual, performance, literary, and multi- and interdisciplinary arts.

Nine fellows were chosen from a diverse group of DC area-based arts leaders, to participate in the 2024 pilot of the Environmental Justice Artivist Fellowship® (EJA Fellowship®). Each participant is committed to developing a community-based art project that focuses on one of five climate-related issues impacting Wards 5, 7 and 8: clean air, water quality and safety, clean energy, food equity, and land and pollution waste. As the landscape of climate solutions becomes increasingly urgent, creative thinkers and artists’ contributions are necessary to understanding these needs and proposing creative solutions.

“It’s imperative that artists have a direct hand in reimagining our environmentally- resilient future,” said Aspen Institute’s Vice President of Policy Programs and Director of the Arts Program, Danielle Baussan.

“Artivists’ seat at the table in climate and environment conversations must be included. We want to highlight the need for the resources, research, funding, and data so they can be stewards of culture and climate, as well.”  Karen Baker, Co-Founder and Board President of Social Art and Culture 

The EJA Fellowship® program will run from March 11 to November 14, 2024. Each fellow will:

  • Engage in diverse programming hosted by STEM experts, alongside the Aspen Institute and Social Art and Culture;
  • Access exclusive in-person learning sessions with leading experts on issues including water quality and safety, clean energy, clean air, food equity, land pollution and waste, and corporate responsibility with a focus on community resilience;
  • Conduct practice-based research and engage the community to execute their final public art project presentations in November 2024.

“Solutions without artists can only lead to a future that isn’t built for our humanity,” said Elliot Gerson, Executive Vice President of Policy Programs and International Partners at the Aspen Institute. “Through our collaboration with Social Art and Culture, these Artivist Fellows will have the platform to directly engage with leading policy across a broad spectrum of climate solutions.”

The 2024 Artivist Fellows are: Lynda Andrews-Barry, Leonina Arismendi, Melani N. Douglass, Billy Frieble, Stephanie Garon, Jaren Hill Lockridge, Noël Kassewitz, Murat Cem Mengüç, and Sherri Roberts Lumpkin.



The Aspen Institute Arts Program champions the role of artists and cultural influencers as critical thought leaders, futurists and changemakers to connect them with leaders across all fields to enlighten and inspire. Based in Washington, D.C., the Arts Program ensures the inclusion of artists in addressing some of society’s most complex problems. For more information, visit

At Social Art and Culture (SAAC), Creativity is an economy. Founded in 2009 as a 5013c, SAAC proudly resides in Southeast Washington, DC’s historic Anacostia Arts and Culture District. Using the power of the arts to educate and advance marginalized and underserved communities, SAAC strives to lead the new narrative around how to invest in the creative economy—a new economically sustainable framework that invests in artisans and their culture.  This framework continues to build SAAC’s aperture for socially responsible artisans, collaboratively showcasing their works’ impact through exhibition, media arts, fellowships, and curated experiences. Learn more at:

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