University of Minnesota

U of M Institute on the Environment opens art exhibit dedicated to sustainability

Reception for Downstream/Upstream: A Journey Through the Urban Water Cycle scheduled for February 6

February 1, 2013

What do you get when you combine the arts, sustainability and education? "Downstream/Upstream: A Journey Through the Urban Water Cycle" by Jonee Kulman Brigham, a visual display detailing a two-week adventure taken by 39 children ages 4–6. The exhibit includes photographs, maps, artists’ books, and diagrams documenting their exploration of the water cycle.

The exhibit opened December 21 in the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment (IonE) Commons on the St. Paul campus. This is the first exhibit to be displayed in the IonE Commons, which will host an event to commemorate the new exhibit on February 6, noon–1:30 p.m.

The event, which is open to the public, will begin with presentations in the IonE seminar room, then move to the IonE Commons for music and refreshments. Presenters include Camille Gage, manager of Arts-Based Outreach and Engagement from On the Commons, and the artist, Jonee Kulman Brigham, a research coordinator at the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the U of M.

IonE is focused on discovering solutions to the Earth’s most pressing environmental problems, and encouraging people from a wide range of disciplines to get involved with this work is important to developing new leaders and partnerships.

"Finding sustainability solutions is not just for environmental groups or majors; it is for everyone," said Beth Mercer-Taylor, sustainability education coordinator with IonE. "Artists, writers, musicians, and other engaged in creative work have a role to play, too."

Art exhibits in the IonE Commons blend several different elements, such as art and science, to display how relevant sustainability is to everyone, and to underscore that everyone is needed to create a truly sustainable planet.

"Integrating sustainability into every facet of our world is what will make the biggest impact on people, and people are what shape our environment," Mercer-Taylor said.

To learn more about the gallery and sustainability education at the University of Minnesota, visit For information on future exhibits, please visit the IonE events calendar at

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