South Bend teen organizes climate change awareness art exhibit at Main Library

By: Marenda Escobar

Meet seventh grader Rebecca Wagman, nonprofit owner and advocate for climate change awareness. Through her non-profit, Art for Climate South Bend, Wagman organized an art exhibit at Main Library that features the work of students ages 3-14 from ten local schools. The exhibit aims to raise awareness of the devastation of climate change, and the voices and hopes of young people.

The climate change awareness art exhibit is an immersive experience. Upon entering the smART box at Main Library, visitors will see multiple pieces of art spanning wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. The artwork includes drawings, paintings, collages, posters, floating displays and 3-dimensional creations made from recycled materials like plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, and CDs. The exhibit is also interactive. After viewing the art, visitors will have the chance to write down their hopes for the future on sticky notes and add them to a tree.

Wagman began reaching out to local teachers in August 2022, and started collecting art pieces for the exhibit in February 2023. With the help of family, Wagman put together the exhibit in the smART box at Main Library in April. The art exhibit opened to the public on Earth Day, April 22, 2023 where community members gathered to view the art and speak to Wagman.

Wagman has long been passionate about bringing awareness to climate change. She was inspired by young climate activist Greta Thunberg when she read No One is Too Small to Make a Difference. Reflecting on the exhibit, Wagman says the art is like a quilt, where many hands come together. “There is something quite spectacular about seeing messages on climate change made by young people. It proves that even the young understand, perhaps with more clarity than some adults, the devastation of climate change.” – Rebecca Wagman, 7th Grade.

Visit the climate change awareness art exhibit and experience the work of many local students in the smART box at Main Library by May 20.

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