Earth Day kicks-off early this year with a gallery opening on December 13 titled Quality Air, Quality Life: A Print Gallery. The gallery exhibits prints created by high school students from Good Samaritan Afterschool Enrichment Program and East Central ISD that center on the topic of air quality, the theme for Earth Day 2019. A winning design selected by the Earth Day committee will be announced at the gallery and, in coming months, will be featured on t-shirts and promotional materials for Earth Day 2019. The arts endeavor was made possible through curriculum and training from The Air Quality Academy – an initiative put on by the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing and funded by the Aetna Foundation – La Printería, and Westside Development Corporation.
The project partnerships highlight the intersection between community, science, and art that is reflected in the prints students have prepared for the gallery. Over the course of five weeks, students received instruction that paired lectures from environmental professionals with workshops in printmaking. Students started training in mid-October with speakers from Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (AAMPO), March for Science, Environmental Defense Fund, UT Health, and AIGA San Antonio. Lecturers spoke to a wide array of topics related to air quality: health, energy production, advocacy, transportation and pollution. Printmaking workshops took place in the weeks that followed under the guidance of Harvey Mireles, founder of La Printería. The program presented an opportunity for students from historically marginalized communities to be exposed to various professionals from the health science, advocacy, and art fields. The workshops encouraged students to think critically on relevant issues of health and allowed them to apply their learning through hands-on printmaking training.
Students finished the program with a deeper understanding of how issues of environmental health relate to their daily lives and what behaviors can be changed to make a positive impact in their communities. Participants also developed printmaking techniques that allow for creative expression and have real labor-value. The gallery will be installed at the UT Health Dolph Briscoe Jr. Library, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr, San Antonio, TX, on December 10, 2018. The official gallery opening will take place on December 13, 2018 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. There will be light appetizers and refreshments. The event is an opportunity for students and families to be celebrated and recognized for their hard work while also being exposed to a premier training and research facility. All participating students will receive a $50 stipend from The Air Quality Academy.