Concern about arts sustainability has become a part of a more increasing number of agendas these days and now the City of Santa Monica’s Cultural Affairs Division and the Office of Sustainability and the Environment are becoming more involved through a collaboration with the Arts called Earth Partnership (AEP).
AEP is dedicated to helping the cultural creative sector become environmentally sustainable. Membership in AEP is open to all artists or arts agencies that wish to engage in sustainable practices.
At the launch of the collaboration on June 26 at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica Mayor Ken Genser stated, “Santa Monica’s creative sector is really one of the dominant forces that molds our City. Equally, the environmental community gives so much character and sense of purpose to the City. I think that this has the potential for you (the artists) to overlay to whatever you’ve been doing this other issue of our planet, our environment, and our future. It will be really wonderful to see how this evolves.”
Genser mentioned the program is intended for the entire region. Ernest de la Hay from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Division told the crowd “The arts are in a unique position to lead the discussion on sustainability by practicing it ourselves, by spreading the word to our businesses, neighbors, audiences, and visitors which number in the thousands.” He then emphasized that, “even in these hard economic times we have just entered into a contract with AEP pledging all City owned cultural facilities to join this effort and meet their requirements for green certification. We plan to spread the word with regional open houses like this all across the City of Los Angeles this summer.”
When the co-founder of AEP and the President of the Electric Lodge Visual & Performing Arts Center in Venice, Justin Yoffe, looked at the green certification programs available and found they weren’t written for the unique needs of the artistic communit, he then founded AEP along with the Artistic Director of the Electric Lodge, Joel Shapiro. Certification requirements have eight areas of focus from energy efficiency to transportation. AEP has a group of auditors who can help artists and cultural venues learn about the certification requirements.
Membership in AEP also includes a free materials exchange program where artistic supplies can be traded and reused by artists. Shapiro hopes this will eventually cut down artists’ landfill contributions by half.
Green certifications from AEP will last for two years. The City of Santa Monica has agreed to pay the first year’s certification fee for the first group of responders who choose to be audited.
More information about AEP can be found at artspartnership.org.