Recycle Runway Blog

Creativity, Climate Change, & the Atlanta Airport Published: 12.11.2019 at 5:57 pm by Nancy Judd

Junk Mail Fan Dress

In 1998 I accidentally discovered the power of art to help people think differently about trash. I created a flamenco dress out of junk mail for an event that I co-founded called the Recycle Santa Fe Art Market and Trash Fashion Show, that is still part of Santa Fe’s vibrant art scene. Using my arts and sewing background, I unknowingly set the trajectory for the rest of my life by making my first up-cycled fashion to promote the event!

Creativity is a powerful way to engage people in difficult and complex issues; it is also how we solve problems. To me art is about solving a challenge we create for ourselves: How am I going to draw a face? Sing about fear? Solve a math equation? The challenge I have been answering for the last 20 years is “How do our actions impact the earth?” My creative response has been to create fashion-sculptures made from trash and use them in public exhibitions that inspire action and change. Behavior change theory tells us that positive, fun, and creative public engagement is more effective than facts, scary images, or guilty messaging.

Carton Couture, Pacifica, The Trash Man’s Suit

Next year I will engage millions of people at the Atlanta International Airport with the question of “How do we transform the way we live on the earth?” through an exhibition called Alterations: Tailored Solutions to Climate Change. I will install my sculptures in 5 cases located in concourse T of the Airport in a year-long exhibition starting February 2020. This is such an exceptional opportunity that I decided to “go big” and bring in 13 subject-matter experts to help plan, design, write, video tape, and photograph the various elements of the exhibition. The show will include:

  • 14 of my newest sculptures each connected to climate change solutions;
  • over 20 dynamic text panels;
  • an educational take-away brochure;
  • two videos; and
  • Indigenous perspectives throughout.

Inspiring people to reduce carbon in the atmosphere is at the heart of the exhibition. I am very excited to be collaborating with and Project Drawdown because their Drawdown Ecochallenge is the perfect tool to make science-based solutions understandable and accessible. provides this award-winning website, the Ecochallenge Platform, to encourage gradual and sustainable behavior change. And the Drawdown Ecochallenge actions are based on extensive research by Project Drawdown and proven to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon dioxide. Examples of sculptures paired with Ecochallenge actions include:

  • Carton Couture encourages reducing food waste;
  • Pacifica inspires us to eat seafood that supports a healthy ocean; and
  • The Trash Man’s Suit asks us buy less stuff!

My 1st Atlanta Airport exhibition in 2011-2012

Two engaging videos created by award-winning documentary filmmaker Brady Holden will reinforce the exhibition’s message about how we reduce carbon in the atmosphere.

  1. A ten-minute video that describes how the sculptures are made and encourages the public to take action will loop 24 hours a day in one of the cases and be seen by approximately 11 million people.
  2. A 60-second video, highlighting the exhibition and Ecochallenges, will play daily on ALL monitors      throughout the Airport and be seen by potentially every traveler, 107 million people over the year!

A comprehensive outreach campaign will expand the reach of the exhibition worldwide. It will include a dedicated webpage, blog and social media posts about the exhibition, coverage through television/radio stories, and newspaper/magazine articles.

When the Alterations exhibition is over at the airport, it will begin a five-year tour to museums and art centers across the country. The exhibition’s first stop will be the Muscatine Art Center in Iowa from May-August 2021.

My 1st traveling museum exhibition

The success of the project will be measured by the number of Drawdown Ecochallenge actions taken by Alterations visitors and the actual decreases in carbon emissions as a result of their actions. The exhibition goal is 11,000 personal commitments to action.

THANK YOU to all the people involved in creating the Alternations exhibition, it is going to be very powerful and I am so excited! If you would like to be part of making this exhibition a success, your contribution to my fundraising campaign will play a vital role. Thanks to the people listed below who have already given generously!!

Creativity is not just about making art, it’s central to being human! We are all creative, it’s just a matter of discovering how it shows up in our lives. We need all of our creative imaginations to mitigate climate change and address the impacts of climate collapse as they come. This is the time to make radical changes in how we live, I invite you to engage your creativity in transforming our impact on the earth!

I am overwhelmed by your generosity and enthusiastic support of my work!

Becky Judd, Barry Morgenstern, Sandrine Perez, Josh Judd, Jennifer Tuvell, Diane Pansire, Ian Bell, Jayne Vetter, David Judd, Martha Sorensen, Kim Davison, Melanie Alexander, David Macek, Barbara Backstrand, Arwen Kuttner, Toby Herzlich, Joyce Helling, Camille Riley, Derek Peterson, Russell Parks, John G Clark, Bette Bradbury, John Lawrence, Mary Beebe, Jeana Edelman, Horizons Sustainable Financial Services, Lee Carrothers, Jenifer Prendergast, Box Studio (Kevin and Jennifer Box), Susie Peterson,  Donna Murphy, Russell Parks, Annette Bellamy, Agnes Noonan, Mary Hoffman, John Olson, Bruce Yates, Dylan Lawrence, Carrie Williams, Mercedes Encinias, Shana Morris, Loretta Martinez, Lisa Hatchadoorian, Leemil Hardiso, Ned Morris

If you would like to support this exhibition please visit my fundraising campaign.

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