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The Climate Justice Mural Project

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The Climate Justice Mural Project is a collaborative art installation organized by the Thurston Climate Action Team on the western retaining wall on Harrison Avenue above the 4th Avenue bridge.

The mural was an outgrowth of TCAT’s Chrysalis Project in which a series of online meetings held in 2020 engaged over 200 area participants who shared writing, painting and other creative responses to the climate crisis using the lifecycle of a butterfly as thematic inspiration. In an acknowledgement that people of color are expected to be disproportionately affected by climate change, six area artists from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds were chosen to design major portions of the mural under the direction of artist Carrie Ziegler: Imani Mabwa-Childress, Ahna Rader, George Galvez, Darishma Alphonse, and Karina Greenlee.

In these times of multiple overlapping crises upending our ability to live our daily lives, art has a unique, critical, and powerful role to play in helping us to bring our full humanity as we struggle with what is sometimes unthinkable. This is true of the triple crises we currently face: climate change, the COVID pandemic, and racial injustice. We propose to create an opportunity for members of the Olympia public to better come to terms with these crises using the power of art, and then using that new power, to determine steps they will take towards creating a world where each of us, our children, and our grandchildren can thrive. We are often bombarded with negative, hard things in response to climate change. This project takes a different perspective, one filled with hope and art, one that can break down barriers and inspire real action.

—excerpted from Thurston Climate Action Team’sgrant application for the climate mural project

All photos by Lindsay Dalthorp. Click to view full-size images.

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Earlier tonight, I was driving home along Harrison Ave around…