Close Panel

News Post

Art in Environmental Activism at the Santa Barbara Central Library

In the morning hours of January 28, 1969, a blowout on an offshore oil platform in the Santa Barbara Channel set in motion a series of events that sparked legislation, movements, and change. The three million gallons of oil that spewed into the Santa Barbara Channel was the largest oil spill off America‚Äôs coast at the time and now ranks third after only the Exxon Valdez (1989) and Deepwater Horizon (2010) spills and it remains the largest to have occurred in the waters off California.

As part of the Santa Barbara Central Library's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Santa Barbara oil spill, they have partnered with the Squire Foundation and the Energy Justice in Global Perspective Sawyer Seminar to host an artist talk and panel, Art in Environmental Activism, on Wednesday 1/16 at 6 pm at the Central Library. From the earliest stages, whether painters or graphic artists such as Robert Rauschenberg (who designed the poster for the first Earth Day in 1970) or environmental artists such as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, artists have participated in and helped bring awareness to environmental issues. This continues to this day as can be seen through the works of the four artists that will be featured at the event: Brenda Longfellow, Ethan Turpin, Myla Kato, and Tom Pazderka.

As Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the Department of Film, York University, and an award-winning filmmaker, Brenda Longfellow is no stranger to making the environment the centerpiece of her work. Longfellow will be presenting her new interactive documentary, Offshore, that looks at our fossil-fuel societies, resource extraction, and the energy systems on which our modern lives are dependent. Longfellow is currently an artist in residence at the Squire Foundation.

Joining Longfellow for a panel on how art has supported the environmental movement will be local artists Ethan Turpin, Myla Kato, and Tom Pazderka. These three artists bring a wide variety of experience and execution, yet all three have addressed the environment in their works. Using stereographic collage, Turpin recently focused on human relationships with nature while also drawing on religious themes. As a member of Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment (SCAPE), Kato uses her plein air paintings and figure drawings to increase public awareness of environmental and conservation issues. And Pazderka's latest series of paintings is a look at the darker side of that which surrounds us: landscape, nature, and memory.

Join the Central Library, Energy Justice in Global Perspective Sawyer Seminar, and the Squire Foundation for a look into art and environmental justice. 

Art in Environmental Activism

Wednesday, 1/16 at 6 PM

Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 E Anapamu St


Brenda Longfellow: 

Ethan Turpin: 

Myla Kato: 

Tom Pazderka: 

Energy Justice in Global Perspective Sawyer Seminar: 


Squire Foundation:


Contact: Jen Lemberger, Programming & Marketing Librarian

Phone: 805-564-5621


Top of Page