An Inside Look at the Cool Globes Project-Traveling Eco Art


Cool Globe by Artist: Karen Perl, “New Orleans: Towards a New Paradigm”

If you live or work in Boston, you’ve most likely noticed a number of artsy globes along the Boston Common on Tremont Street. You may want to take a closer look. More than just cool street art, the globes are part of a traveling art exhibition called: “Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet.” Here in an exclusive interview with Cool Globes Project artist, Karen Perl, Eco News Network shares some inside info on the project.

Started in Chicago by Wendy Abrams back in 2007, the “Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet” concept is for artists to design three-dimensional globes that educate people about environmental issues. Since the Cool Globes Project debut in Chicago, the project has been seen around the world including in Copenhagen, Jerusalem, Amsterdam, Marseille and now in Boston through October 15th.

Cool Globes came to Boston in summer 2013 through a partnership with Mayor Menino and the Greenovate Boston team. In addition to the installation along Tremont, the globes can also be seen on The Esplanade, in Copley Square, and at Logan Airport. The globes travel from city to city and local artists and even schools get involved in each city’s exhibition. For example, in Boston children from pre-kindergarten through ninth grade from Brookline’s Park School participated by contributing artwork that teacher Andrea Sparks then put together to create a Globe centered on biodiversity.

BOSTONCOMMONGLOBEOne of the original artists who participated in the 2007 premiere in Chicago, Karen Perl, explained to Eco News Network that she still gets e-mail notifications telling her the current location of her globe. Perl’s globe titled “New Orleans: Towards a New Paradigm” urges people to strive to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina. She chose her topic because it has special meaning to her. “My brother and sister-in-law live in New Orleans so we have a firsthand experience with Katrina,” Perl says. “I thought this would be interesting because first of all it gave me a reason to reach out and talk to them about their experience.”

The actual execution of her idea was more difficult than Perl had anticipated. “I have a book filled with notes and I have tons of preliminary drawings,” Perl shared. Perl added that doing this project taught her a lot about the situation in New Orleans after Katrina and that she tried to put it all into her globe.

The building of the globe itself was also a challenge. Perl said it took several months to complete. “It was the first time I had ever done anything like that. I had a big studio but I couldn’t fit it through the door,” she adds. She explained that she had to work out of a loft that was donated to the initiative with five other Cool Globes artists. However physical manipulation was not the largest obstacle, Perl said, “the real challenge was working three dimensionally, the big idea, you have to think what it will look like from a distance. It had to go beyond just painting what just comes out of your paintbrush.”

-Ivanha Paz

Photos: Eco News Network

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