Franke James speaks on Climate Change Art

mcmichael logo On October 10/07 Franke James spoke to 150 high school students and educators at the McMichael Gallery about Climate Change art. Franke presented her animation of A Green Winter: Will Global Warming be Good for Canada and Six Tools to Make Climate Change Art.

Franke wanted to give the students insight into what climate change art is, and the thought process she uses to construct her visual essays. So she developed a presentation for them that explained the six basic building blocks she uses…

The Six Tools to Make Climate Change Art:
1. SYMBOLS: How to show climate change when you can’t see it
Give old phrases new meaning
3. WITNESS: How do you help the viewer see what you see?
4. CULTURE CHANGE: What will we lose?
5. HUMAN NATURE: Can you touch a nerve?
6. ACTION: Do something green and record it

Franke’s ‘call to action’ for the students was: “Do something Green and document it! Make a story. Draw pictures. Take photos. Tell the world what you’ve done and why.”

Feedback: A Parent
“Thank you for the delightful presentation at the McMichael last week. My daughter does not consider herself artistic… or did not until you showed your Six Tools to Make Climate Change Art presentation… like you, she has a quirky sense of humour and sees the world a bit differently. You showed her how one can use WORDS and humour to make art and influence people! Many thanks for your energy and inspiration.”

Feedback: Scott McDonald, Director Education and Programmes, McMichael Canadian Art Collection:
“Rarely do the talents of a professional artist and educator come together in equal measure as they do in the work of Franke James. Her Six Tools for Climate Change presentation at the McMichael was the ideal vehicle for presenting complex material in a compelling and accessible format for everyone in attendance.

Franke has the rare skill of presenting important abstract concepts with immediacy and relevance through her art. Simply outstanding.”

Feedback: Christa Gampp, Art Educator
“Your presentation must have lit quite a few “green” lights in the minds of our young audience! I am positive that the students went away with that “spark” to start on their own creative project. Today’s youth can very readily relate to your imagery and messages due to your use of media. Your artwork is very creative and relevant to our times. I loved your mentoring message to the students: to choose a topic that is related to their own surroundings and interests. I am looking forward to seeing the student art exhibition at the McMichael next year and I am sure I’ll be able to spot your positive “influence” in the artworks! Thanks again!”

Feedback: Stephen Leahy – Environmental Journalist:
Make Climate Change Art, Not War
“Toronto artist Franke James is doing great work both in expressing her concern and understanding in her colourful and insightful visual essays about climate change but also as a teacher of others in workshops for young artists — Six Tools to Make Climate Change Art.”

Feedback: EcoSherpa: Franke James’ Audio Visual Essay?
Anyone who has read this blog on a regular basis will know that I’m a BIG fan of Canadian artist & environmentalist Franke James



The McMichael Gallery holds a special place in Canadian art history as it boasts one of the largest Group of Seven collections in the world. You can read about its founders, Robert and Signe McMichael. The event was organized by Scott McDonald, Director Education and Programmes and Rosa Calabrese, Educator at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection to inspire the students to make art about climate change. The student’s work will be featured in a juried exhibition in 2008.

Leave a Reply