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Art inspired by climate science exhibit makes Chicago campus debut

Northwestern Law alumna brings vital data to life with digital images

"Global Temperature and Carbon Dixoide (1880-2012)," a digital painting by Northwestern alumna Alisa Singer that depicts the direct relationship between CO2 emissions and global temperature since the Industrial Revolution. Courtesy Alisa Singer/Environmental Graphiti.
"Global Temperature and Carbon Dixoide (1880-2012)," a digital painting by Northwestern alumna Alisa Singer that depicts the direct relationship between CO2 emissions and global temperature since the Industrial Revolution. Courtesy Alisa Singer/Environmental Graphiti.
"ASAP," which stresses the urgency of addressing climate change following the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.
"ASAP," which stresses the urgency of addressing climate change following the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. Courtesy Alisa Singer/Environmental Graphiti.
"Drought," which depicts one of the more visible negative consequences of climate change. Courtesy Alisa Singer/Environmental Graphiti.
"Drought," which depicts one of the more visible negative consequences of climate change. Courtesy Alisa Singer/Environmental Graphiti.

In an effort to raise awareness of climate change and its consequences, one Northwestern Pritzker School of Law alumna has turned to her lifelong passion.

Alisa Singer (JD ’76) will feature her robust collection of contemporary digital paintings that depict the data behind climate change at a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. April 14 in the main atrium of the Arthur Rubloff Building, 375 E. Chicago Ave., on the Chicago campus.

“The whole concept is to get the science out there in an accessible way,” she said. “It’s a way to reach across walls and bring people together. It drives me crazy that science and politics get mixed together.”

The reception and ensuing free exhibit, “Art Inspired by the Science of Climate Change,” is one of numerous Earth Month 2017 activities sponsored by sustainNU, which is hosting the reception in conjunction with Northwestern Law. 

Each work is tied to a specific piece of data that explains the science of climate change and its impacts. One painting, “Emission levels determine temperature rises,” transforms an innocuous-looking line graph showing the direct relationship between rising emission levels and global temperature into a bright, popping canvas. 

Another piece imposes the body of a mosquito in color on a black background to highlight the alarming influence a warming climate has on the spread of vector borne diseases, which are spread by insects.

disease word"Vector Borne Diseases," by Alisa Singer/Environmental Graphiti. 
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“People understand global warming, but don’t have a concept of the ways so many different things — animals, people, the land — are affected by it,” Singer said. “The trajectories of the data are so compelling and dramatic, I asked, ‘How can I get this message out?’” 

Singer originally went to Washington University on an undergraduate art scholarship but chose to pursue a different discipline after only two days. She never received formal training as an artist but said she painted any chance she could between practicing corporate law and raising her children.

Now free from those restraints, Singer, who retired in 2013 after more than 35 years in corporate law, has since built a collection of 54 works. The collection morphed into an ambitious non-profit venture, Environmental Graphiti, which offers art at cost to environmental organizations and other non-profits and universities to help them raise money for environmental programs. Her art has been displayed at other universities, environmental organizations and conferences in the Chicago area, nationally and internationally. 

The exhibit will remain on display through April 30 in the Rubloff Building’s main atrium from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Singer’s work also is on display daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. through April 30 at the Norris University Center Galleria on the Evanston campus.

All images on display at the reception and the Norris Galleria, as well as other images on her website, are available for purchase at a discounted price, with all proceeds benefitting Northwestern’s sustainability initiatives. 

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