Arts and the Environment: Is the Future of the Industry Green?

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Art is an industry unlike any other. It offers various media that not only provide pleasure to those viewing it but also influence society by allowing artists to create stories that transcend through time and cultural boundaries and even influence one’s own opinion. With this in mind, art can also be considered a form of communication that allows people of different cultures and walks of life to understand each other through photos, music, novels, films, and other art forms.

More importantly, art can also become a catalyst for change, whether it be social or political. From raising awareness to taking a stand, it helps communities to fight for what they believe in or bring a cause that’s important to them to light. Now, with the environmental crisis threatening our planet, one of the most prominent causes that artist communities are fighting for is a greener world. Even the art industry has had a significant impact on the environment, but with the rise of green consumerism, things are changing.

Find out how the current generation of artists is shaping the future of the art industry and what artists, patrons, suppliers, and manufacturers alike are doing to make the industry a greener one.

The Impact of Art on the Environment

Wasteful Packaging

In the past, most products would come in disposable packaging, such as plastic, which most people have no use for and are thrown away. The volume of art materials that some people buy on a regular basis can lead to excessive waste and an accumulation of non-biodegradable products that can harm the environment.

Toxic Materials

Some art supplies, such as paints and aerosols, can contain harmful chemicals that are detrimental to your health. Cadmium, polyester resin, lead, and trichloroethylene are among the few toxic materials that can be found in art supplies. Long periods of exposure to some of these chemicals can cause significant damage to vital organs, especially when inhaled or used too frequently.

Fossil Fuel and Water Usage in the Production Process

Many industrial facilities are known for using non-renewable energy sources, such as oil, coal, and natural gases, to keep the plants running. Other plants use excessive amounts of water when making different art materials. Unfortunately, the amount of energy used to create items, such as glass enclosures for museums and art supplies, has had a negative impact on our environment.

How the Industry Is Changing

visitor looking pictures in art gallery

Fortunately, despite these issues in the past, art communities are beginning to walk the walk in their efforts to transform the industry into a greener one.

Artists Showing off Their Work on Different Media

With the rise of digital art, some artists are moving their work from physical canvases to digital canvases. Tools, such as drawing tablets and different software, have made this transition easier and allowed artists to create unlimited art pieces without regularly buying new supplies. Other artists have ditched the canvas and are showing off their work on reclaimed surfaces, such as walls, furniture, and wood.

Artists Using Their Platform to Raise Awareness on Certain Issues

The wide reach of social media platforms has allowed those in the art community to create art that helps bring awareness to the social and political issues that influence society. As the pandemic continues to keep many people home, marches, rallies, and movements are being done online, and many are using art to show their support for different causes.

Distribution Has Become More Eco-Friendly

For those who continue to use physical media, such as canvases and walls, technology has made it possible for artists to reproduce fine art through giclee, lithographs, and print.

Art Tool Manufacturers Reducing Their Carbon Footprint

Green consumerism has been on the rise in recent years, with the younger generations demanding more sustainable products and packaging in an effort to save the environment. Now, companies and manufacturers are following suit and implementing more sustainable practices when it comes to manufacturing and distributing art supplies by using renewable energy to power their plants and machinery, practicing less water usage, and making use of recyclable and biodegradable packaging.

More Art Supplies with Natural Ingredients

Fortunately, more companies are working on creating safer alternatives to these chemicals. However, it’s still important to make sure that you have proper ventilation when dealing with toxic materials.

The Future of the Art Industry

In these uncertain times, it’s hard to say how different the industry will be in the near future. However, the new trends we’re seeing in the art scene, such as virtual galleries, non-fungible tokens or NFTs, more appreciation of street art and graphic design, and technology integration, may be among the game changers that will have a huge impact on the industry.

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