Yaddo Artist Forums

Fighting Climate Change

The climate crisis threatens the survival of every species on Earth. Global warming currently impacts millions around the world, especially those who live in poverty. Art does—and must—play a significant role, subjectively and emotionally influencing thinking, revealing long-ignored realities, providing a vital counterpoint to the objectivity of science.

And so we are very excited to bring together leading artists and thinkers from the fields of literature, visual arts, and filmmaking to discuss the essential question: 

Can art transform the way we see climate change?

Please join us Thursday, June 24th at 6pm ET via Zoom for this urgent and important conversation.


Patricia Spears Jones is a poet, playwright, educator, cultural activist, anthologist, and recipient of 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize and is author of A Lucent Fire New and Selected Poems and 3 full-length collections and five chapbooks. She co-edited the groundbreaking anthology, Ordinary Women: An Anthology of New York City Women (1978) and organized and edited THINK: Poems for Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Day Hat (2009).

Her poems are widely anthologized most recently in African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song and Why To These Rocks: 50 Years of Poems from the Community of Writers. Her poems are published in PlumeThe New Yorker and The Brooklyn Rail. Essays, memoir and interviews are published in Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American PoetryThe Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience and Change Agent; and journals including The Black ScholarBomb, www.tribes.org, PangyrusThe Poetry Project NewsletterRumpus and The Writers Chronicle. The Museum of Modern Art commissioned the poem “Lave” for the exhibition, Jacob Lawrence: The Migrations Series. Mabou Mines commissioned and produced two plays “Mother” with music composed by Carter Burwell and Song for New York: What Women Do When Men Sit Knitting with music composed by Lisa Gutkin. She has performed with Jason Hwang, who has set several of her poems to music, and Ras Moshe Burnett. The Patricia Spears Jones second book prize for women poets was inaugurated in 2021.


Nicolas Brown is one of the UK and USA’s leading documentary filmmakers. His latest feature film, The Serengeti Rules has won 22 major awards at festivals around the world including Wildscreen and Jackson Hole. His other films have won 3 Emmy awards, two BAFTA awards, and over 60 major festival awards in the USA, China, India, and Europe. For the past 7 years he has worked for Passion Pictures in London, England, and ran Passion’s Blue Media Lab (a conservation think-tank). For PBS, he directed and produced H2O: The Molecule That Made Us and Earth: A New Wild: the latter won a Panda Award at Wildscreen for “Best Series”. He also directed National Geographic’s award-winning Giant Screen IMAX film Pandas 3D: the Journey Home (in IMAX cinemas now).

A regular at the BBC, Nicolas produced and directed the award-winning Earth’s Natural Wonders, and the BAFTA-winning series of Human Planet, and the multi-award winning Climate Chaos with Sir David Attenborough. For the Discovery Channel his film The Truth About Global Warming with Tom Brokaw won the Emmy for Best Long Form Documentary. Other credits include the Emmy nominated Mankind (The History Channel), First Peoples (PBS), and the Emmy nominated series Frontier House and Colonial House (PBS/Channel 4). He is now in production with Off the Fence on a film about Pope Francis and his encyclical (book) titled Laudato Si’.


Pamela Sneed is a poet, writer, visual artist, and performer. She earned her BA from Eugene Lang College and MFA from Long Island University. Sneed is the author of the books Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery (1998) and Kong and Other Works (2009), as well as the chapbooks Lincoln (2014), Gift (2015), and Sweet Dreams (2018). Her poetry has appeared in 100 Best African American Poems (edited by Nikki Giovanni, 2010), Best Monologues from Best American Short Plays (edited by William Demastes, 2013), and Zoe Leonard’s Transcript of a Rally (2016). Her writing has appeared widely in magazines such as Art Forum, Hyperallergic, and the New York Times Magazine. She has performed and curated performances in venues from the Brooklyn Museum to Central Park SummerStage, Joe’s Pub, the Public Theater, and Lincoln Center Out of Doors.

Pamela Sneed has taught solo performance and writing for solo performance at Sarah Lawrence College and was the 2017 visiting critic at Yale and at Columbia University. She teaches online for the low-residency MFA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is a visiting artist in the summer MFA program. She is an adjunct assistant professor at the Columbia University School of the Arts.


Since his first visit to the Museum of Natural History in New York as a child, Alexis Rockman has been interested in the natural world. Over the past two decades, his work has explored issues ranging from evolutionary biology and genetic engineering to deforestation and climate change, often with a great deal of wit. He says of his practice: “I want to embrace ambivalence, confusion, sadism and humor.”

Many of Alexis Rockman’s works have been inspired by his travels around the world, including Costa Rica, Brazil, Madagascar, Guyana, Tasmania, and Antarctica. Rockman has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows, and in 2010 Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow, a survey of Rockman’s career, was featured at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Rockman also worked with director Ang Lee on the 2012 film Life of Pi, creating hundreds of sketches of aquatic species to serve as visual inspiration.