Where art and environmental issues collide: Earth Day Festival fundraiser

Jeff Ingram, owner of Standing Rock Cultural Arts, prepping to show his short film on Kent Environmental Council at the “Go With the Flow” event Saturday, March 24, 2018.

Taylor Patterson

Blues, beer and homemade blueberry pie brought the community together for Standing Rock’s Earth Day festival fundraiser Saturday night.  

“Go With the Flow” is an annual event hosted by Jeff Ingram, owner of Standing Rock Cultural Arts, that raises money for Kent’s “Who’s Your Mama” Earth Day festival.

“We are trying to remind everybody, you have a mother,” Ingram said. “She provides food and water for you, and you should take care of her.”

The event focused on watershed awareness and intended to bring environmental consciousness to the community through conversation and art, Ingram said.

Musician Ian Penter charged the air with soulful Mississippi Delta blues as guests ate homemade vegan chili and drank crafted beers and mead. Hoppin’ Frog Brewery donated beer for the event.

“It takes clean water to make good beer,” Ingram said.

A short environmental film on the Kent Environmental Council (KEC) was featured as a sneak peak for the Environmental Film Festival, which will take place on April 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Kiva. KEC was founded in 1969, making it older than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and they have become a staple in the community.

“I think it’s important for people to be aware that environmental issues don’t go away,” said Anne Ward, KEC member since 1979.

“Who’s Your Mama” creates a crossover between art and environmental issues. KEC is policy and science driven, and it’s essential to have an artistic convergence, Ward said.

“Artists see truth in a different way, with a special eye,” Ward said.

Among the creatives at the event was musician and visual artist Sam Ludwig. He has lived in Kent for over 30 years and owned an underground art gallery, “Mantis,” in the late 1980s through the early 2000s.

“You gotta keep people focused on the real issues,” Ludwig said. “Everything is so vapid now with the 24-hour news cycle.”

He has expressed environmental issues through art and has helped Jeff with “Who’s Your Mama” in the past. Art is essential to political issues because it expresses human emotion and reality, he said.

“If we don’t take care of the earth,” Ludwig said, “we will have nothing.”

Taylor Patterson is the business and downtown reporter. Contact her at [email protected].