The 45th Anniversary of Earth Day Inspires a Tribute to Robert Rauschenberg’s Lifelong Commitment to Environmental Activism

Apr 22, 2015


Earth Day, 1970


The protection of the planet has been central to the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s mission since its founding by the artist in 1990. In 1991, through the sale of an edition and poster designed by Rauschenberg, the foundation raised  funds and greater awareness for the Earth Pledge that was announced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that same year. The foundation continues to uphold that original pledge “to make the earth a secure and hospitable home for present and future generations.”

For the next thirty days, in celebration of the forty-fifth anniversary of Earth Day, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation will highlight some of the grants and programs that extend the artist’s legacy as a champion of the environment. You can join the conversation by following the foundation on Twitter and Facebook. News items include:

Today the foundation is announcing $250,000 in grants to agencies working in Southwest Florida, including a grant to the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Fund, which focuses much of its work on the preservation of Florida’s fragile wetlands and other ecosystems. All of the awardees were identified through a partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to advance social innovation in the region. Southwest Florida is an area where Rauschenberg lived and worked for forty years and a place of ongoing investment for the foundation. To learn more about this partnership and the $250,000 in grants, you can read more here.

You can also read the newly posted Art in Context to learn more about Rauschenberg’s commitment to the environment in his art and activities. Among the highlighted artworks is Rauschenberg’s Earth Day poster, created for the first annual Earth Day on April 22, 1970, to benefit the American Environment Foundation in Washington, D.C. The poster is the first of many editioned works that the artist produced to support the social and political causes most important to him.

This Monday, April 27, 2015, will mark the beginning of a month-long gathering of artists, scientists, engineers, and activists at the Rauschenberg Residency on Captiva Island, Florida. Entitled Rising Waters Confab, the meeting aims to spark new thinking and to influence civic will toward finding and spreading solutions for the rising waters of climate change. Participants will contribute to a blog that captures key themes and ideas.

Over the next month, the foundation will share more highlights of its work to support a healthy, sustainable planet, including announcing the inaugural grantees of its Climate Change Solutions Fund, a new initiative that spurs the use of cultural and civic engagement to advance solutions to global warming.