Art meets the environment in new Sustainable Cherry Hill task force

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Natalie S. Barney is passionate about art. She’s also passionate about the environment.

As a volunteer with Sustainable Cherry Hill, Barney discovered she could combine her two passions to create a unique new task force.

Sustainable Cherry Hill is launching a new task force called Art and Sustainability. Its aim is to carry on Sustainable Cherry Hill’s mission of informing the community about sustainability, but doing it through artistic mediums.

Barney does a variety of artwork during her spare time. She feels art is one area where Sustainable Cherry Hill has yet to dive into.

“Art touches an emotional place for a lot of people,” Barney said. “That was kind of where the idea came from, this idea that communicating and educating about sustainability is very important.”

Barney believes Sustainable Cherry Hill can attract new members who may not have thought about joining previously through reaching out to local artists. She has reached out within her network of artists to gauge some interest in the group.

“I know people within the arts community who are hoping to participate in some of the work that we are planning to do,” Barney said. “I have reached out personally to a couple of people. Definitely I want to get people involved with organization who might not have been interested in the past.”

Barney is collaborating with Chris Eattock, an executive board member for Sustainable Cherry Hill, to launch the group and come up with ideas for events and activities related to sustainability. The task force plans to meet once monthly and hopes to hold events on a seasonal basis.

“We want this group to be hands on and to come to events,” Barney said. “We were planning to doing some art nights where people can come out. Each art night will have a specific theme.”

The task force is not meant to compete with the Cherry Hill Arts Board or the recreation department’s events. Barney said the task force hopes to work with them to co-host some events.

All of the task force’s events plan to have a sustainability theme. One of Barney’s ideas was to have an upcycling art show that would include works made out of recycled material. An example Barney used would be to use newspaper to make a bouquet of flowers.

“Not everything is kind of a one use thing,” she said. “A newspaper is something you read and get news from, but it can be manipulated and used for something else.”

Other possible events would include paintings, drawings or other artwork depicting nature and sustainability. Barney said the task force will not be restricted to visual arts. Artistic expression such as music and poetry will also be on its agenda.

The task force is open to anyone who has an interest in art or sustainability. The group plans to make many of its shows open exhibits rather than juried ones.

“People don’t need to feel like they’re artists or have artistic talent to get involved,” Barney said.

The task force is expected to establish a regular meeting schedule in the near future. For more information, contact Barney at nkshaf@gmail.com.