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5-day event will focus on environment

For many, Earth Day is just another date on the calendar. For others, it’s an opportunity to spend some time thinking about humanity’s impact on the environment.

Our Art/Our Planet, a five-day series of environmentally-conscious programming, begins Tuesday at the Ohio State University Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus. It will include two tours of the rooftop garden, an exchange of mix CDs that will focus on nature and a screening of the environmental documentary “Dirt!”

It will conclude on Saturday at the Franklin Park Conservatory, where the OSU Urban Arts Space will take part in Lighten Up 2011, an Earth Day celebration featuring local art.

OSU Urban Arts Space Operations Assistant Jackie Little said she believes this program will provide an opportunity for the environmentally conscious to learn more about the way the earth works.  

“I think that if anyone has any kind of interest in the environment, no matter how minimal or new, these events will help them to start thinking in new ways and to provide further education about our relationship with our planet,” she said.

The series kicks off on Tuesday with two tours of the Lazarus Building’s rooftop garden. Elizabeth Celeste, a deputy director of the OSU Urban Arts Space, said both tours are already full. Regular tours are offered on the first Tuesday of every month.

There will be a special Earth Week edition of the Urban Monthly Mix Exchange Wednesday, an event in which music fans can bring in mix CDs and exchange them with other attendees. As part of Our Art/Our Planet, this month’s theme is “songs to be at one with nature.”

The documentary “Dirt!” will be screened Thursday at the OSU Urban Arts Space. The movie provides a look at a part of the Earth that many take for granted.

“It was important to me to screen a film that covered an issue not regularly discussed to the extent of other concerns, like trash and pollution,” Little said. “The documentary really changes the way you consider and view what is truly the foundation of our planet and raises attention to the fact that we are severely abusing it.”

Our Art/Our Planet will come to an end Saturday with Lighten Up 2011, a celebration at Franklin Park Conservatory which was planned by Green Columbus and ARTillery Ohio. The Urban Arts Space’s booth will feature an art-making activity that will use only reclaimed materials.

Eric Rausch, a founding member of ARTillery Ohio, said the Urban Arts Space is not only attending the celebration but is also helping to promote it.

Celeste said the Urban Arts Space has long made environmental responsibility a priority.

“Hoping to serve as an example for other arts organizations, we have incorporated sustainability as a unique facet of our gallery’s mission,” she said. “The Space is housed within the largest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold-certified renovation in the nation: the historic Lazarus Building in downtown Columbus.”

Celeste also said that she hopes these events will inspire students to check out what the Space has to offer.

“We hope to show students that we are more than just an art gallery,” Celeste said.

All events at the OSU Urban Arts Space are free and open to the public.

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