Art + Environment

Program Overview

Robert Rauschenberg was actively concerned about global warming and used his platform as an artist to raise awareness about environmental causes. In fact, he created the first poster for Earth Day in 1970 and would later generate a series of lithographs bringing attention to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in 1992. Now, more than two decades later the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation sustains its founder’s legacy through the Art+ Environment program. The program:

•  supported contemporary artists using their craft to re-frame and expand the general public’s understanding of this global crisis through programs like Marfa Dialogues/NY and Marfa Dialogues/St. Louis, as well as grants to produce Lars Jan’s Holoscenes and Maya Lin’s What is Missing? memorial to biodiversity.

•  created a new initiative called the Climate Change Solutions Fund, that invites organizations with a track record of working to address the root causes of climate change to apply for funding. 

•  established a new partnership with the Sundance Institute to support films and emerging media projects that tackle one of the most critical issues of our time – climate change and the urgent need for action.


Program Goals

The Art + Environment program was created to support effective methods for addressing climate change that leverage creativity and broad-based civic engagement.
Program Values and Beliefs

Consistent with our commitment to upholding the legacy of our founder, Robert Rauschenberg, all of RRF’s philanthropy programs operate with a set of core values that embody his work as both an artist and a philanthropist. These values include experimentation, fearlessness, and pushing boundaries. Rauschenberg also sought to learn from other cultures, and to share his own knowledge in exchange for what he learned. The Art + Environment program retained this approach with a particular focus on:
  • Creative problem-solving and solutions orientation – looking at an issue in new ways that actually shift its paradigm.
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration – experience and enthusiasm for working with people who have a variety of expertise, experience, and training, as well as those whose beliefs, values, and norms differ from your own.
  • Risk-taking – an ability to move outside of the status quo; comfort with uncertainty, improvisation, and/or iteration in the context of continuous learning.
Past Grantees
Sage Sohier
Photo: Sage Sohier