About art+environment

Mission Statement

Pitzer’s Art+Environment program explores the intersection of the arts and the environment and is funded by a four-year, $600,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project evolved from Pitzer’s twin beliefs in the importance of environmental stewardship and the role of art as not only a means for personal expression, but as an impetus for interdisciplinary inquiry and critical thinking. One of the objectives of the Art+Environment program is to think expansively about how humans interact with non-human nature, and how art can help us imagine other possible relationships with our environments.

The connection between the arts and ecological awareness at Pitzer dates back to the 1960s when Carl Hertel became the College’s first professor of art and environmental design. Pitzer continues to build on Hertel’s legacy through this program, which is designed to shape the College’s culture and curriculum while strengthening long-term collaborations with the other institutional and community partners.


Over the next four years, the Mellon Art+Environment project will:

  • Develop experimental interdisciplinary/team-taught courses that focus on art and the environment
  • Engage faculty and students in research and creative projects
  • Create an annual artist-in-residence program, allowing students and faculty to work on environmental projects
  • Mount exhibitions and lectures on wide ranging topics
  • Convene a capstone symposium on “Contemporary Environmental Art”