Addressing climate change from a communal perspective is the sentiment behind “Climate Transformer,” an interactive pop-up art installation that will be on view during the Town of Amherst Sustainability Festival on Saturday, April 22. More than 50 members of the Amherst College community—including students, faculty, staff and alumni—are contributing to the installation, with funding provided by an Arts at Amherst grant.

Amherst’s Alisa Pearson is the driving force behind the installation. She is the manager of concert programming, production and publicity in the College’s music department and a volunteer for a local organization that works to increase climate change awareness and action.

The goal, she says, is to encourage participants and viewers to “talk about climate-related issues and the various ways people can work together to help solve them.” Climate change is too big to fight alone, she says. “It’s something we have to begin talking about and working to solve as a community.”

“Climate Transformer” refers to the large structure the installation is centered around. Designed by UMass architecture students, it was built by Pearson and two others—Helena Burgueño ’19 and Jonathan Doyle ’91, technical director and production coordinator in the theater and dance department. The structure consists of nine panels that, when joined together, create various sections for exhibitions, performances and interactive activities to take place.

The installation contains such components as “The World We Love,” which features photographs from the Study Abroad Office’s Year Abroad photo competition, as well as photographs by local musician, conductor and photographer Greg Brown ’98. Siraj Sindhu ’17, Hannah Herrera ’17 and MacKenzie Kugel ’19 will contribute a mural about climate change solutions. 

Musical performances will take place in the performance section of the installation. Joshua Ferrer ’18E, Jayson Paul ’16 and Isa Goldberg ’17, among others, will perform songs with climate-related themes. David Ruth ’17, as part of his thesis in architecture, will direct sounds toward viewers in an effort to change how they see and experience the installation’s components. 

The installation also includes “Talking Truth Booth,” an interactive component based on a UMass Amherst initiative to create a record of how people feel about climate change. Visitors can write a handwritten note to add to the UMass Amherst collection. There will also be an interactive section where participants can help build a greenhouse out of plastic bottles.

Stop by the Town of Amherst Sustainability Festival to learn more about and participate in the installation on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Amherst Town Common.