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Renée Fleming, Al Gore & More to be Featured in COAL + ICE Events

The COAL + ICE exhibition will also include work by eight artists newly added for the East Coast premiere.

Renée Fleming, Al Gore & More to be Featured in COAL + ICE Events

Asia Society and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced initial programming for a six-week festival of events paired with the East Coast premiere of COAL + ICE, a documentary photography exhibition that brings together the work of over 50 photographers and video artists from around the world to visualize the climate crisis-its causes and consequences-as a large-scale immersive experience. The COAL + ICE exhibition will also include work by eight artists newly added for the East Coast premiere: Noah Berger, Sean Gallagher, Meridith Kohut, Barbara Kopple, Dana Lixenberg, Darcy Padilla, Gordon Parks, and Camille Seaman.

Developed by Asia Society in collaboration with the Kennedy Center's International Programming department and Georgetown University's Environment Initiative and Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, the festival will include events for all ages-featuring music, theater, panel discussions, art-making, and more-that engage with local, national, and international communities. Among the highlights throughout the six-weeks of COAL + ICE are a conversation between youth climate leaders and Al Gore, former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, about the role of the arts in climate education; a Musical Homage to the Earth featuring Renée Fleming, Martha Redbone, Abigail Washburn, and Jiebing Chen; the U.S. premiere of Allana Mitchell's one-woman play, Sea Sick; and We Hear You, a performance inspired by Greta Thunberg launching a global climate storytelling project by emerging artists. Panels will include conversations with local and International Artists, cultural leaders, journalists, and authors.

In commemoration of World Water Day (March 22), the Kennedy Center, located on the banks of the Potomac, will display Nordic Swan, a 2015 work by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. Presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Denmark, whose national bird is the swan, Nordic Swan will be on display by the REACH reflecting pool through April 18. Known for crafting large artworks out of waste material, Dambo's sculptures show the potential in material that is often discarded, becoming a threat to the natural world. Nordic Swan is constructed from more than 300 recycled plastic buckets. Nordic Swan is supported by Embassy of Denmark in Washington D.C., the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and the Ministry of Culture of Denmark.

A robust slate of education activities will be supplemented by onsite and virtual exhibition tours and specialized student and teacher resource guides. The Moonshot Studio, the Center's learning lab for the arts, will host Celebrating the More Than Human. This suite of hands-on projects and activities, curated in collaboration with artist Caitlin Nasema Cassidy as part of the related COAL + ICE exhibition, invites visitors to reflect on their relationship with the natural world and create art that celebrates that bond. Featuring the ever-popular Mixmaster Stations, with sounds and videos by Madame Gandhi, alongside takeaway projects just in time for planting season, visitors can drop in for a quick experience or reserve a time at one of our project tables to dive a little deeper. Visit for details.

Programmed as a part of the Kennedy Center's 50th Anniversary season, this free, one-of-a-kind exhibition and programmatic series utilizes the flexible outdoor and indoor spaces at the Kennedy Center's REACH campus and runs March 15-April 22, 2022.

All festival events listed below will take place in the COAL + ICE tent on the REACH Plaza except for the COAL + ICE: Musical Homage to the Earth concert. While pre-registration is not necessary to visit the exhibit, pre-registration for festival events is required via the Kennedy Center website. Registration available beginning March 3. Additional events and participants will be announced at a later date.

Art as Community Activation: a Conversation Featuring Local & International Artists

Wednesday, March 16, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

A conversation with image-makers and activators who are innovating at the intersection of art and climate. The conversation will include Freedom Futures Collective founder OnRaé LaTeal; hip hop artist, songwriter, educator, and youth advocate Tarik "Konshens The MC" Davis; French photojournalist and organizer of the Dysturb/#ReframeClimate Initiative Benjamin Petit; South African COAL + ICE photographer Gideon Mendel; and Finnish interdisciplinary artist Sari Nordman. Includes a guided tour of the exhibition.

We Hear You: Youth & Climate Performance

Friday, March 18, 2022, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

An evening of climate storytelling with emerging artists and climate leaders, inspired by Greta Thunberg's urgent question, "Can you hear me?" This event is part of We Hear You-A Climate Archive, a global performance project co-conceived by Caitlin Nasema Cassidy and Jacob Hirdwall that explores youth perspectives on climate crisis/chaos. The performance features Ashanee Kottage, Elliot Williams, Lilli Hokama, Myiah Smith, and Nadia Nazar. We Hear You-A Climate Archive is a collaboration between Dramaten (The Royal Dramatic Theatre of Sweden), The Earth Commons-Georgetown University's Institute for Environment and Sustainability, The Embassy of Sweden in Washington, DC, and The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics with additional support provided by the Swedish Arts Council. Special thanks: The Greta Thunberg Estate.

Sea Sick by Allana Mitchell

Tuesday, March 22, 2022, 7:00-8:00 p.m. U.S. Premiere

A celebration of World Water Day includes a performance of Sea Sick, a one-woman show by award-winning Canadian journalist, author, and playwright Allana Mitchell (New York Times, CBC's Quirks & Quarks, Globe and Mail, National Geographic) exploring the ocean, environment and climate change. Inspired by Mitchell's international best-selling, award-winning book of the same name, Sea Sick is directed by Franco Boni with Ravi Jain and is produced by The Theatre Centre, Toronto.

Al Gore in Conversation with Climate Youth Leaders

Wednesday, March 23, 2022, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Al Gore has dedicated the last 20 years of his life to finding creative ways to communicate about climate change, from powerful presentations in front of world leaders, to award-winning documentary films. These days, it is more important than ever to find new and creative ways to communicate about the climate crisis, from photography and film, to poetry and performance. This evening will feature Gore in an intergenerational conversation with youth climate leaders from Georgetown University who are focused on just that-using art and community building to raise awareness about the climate crisis.

COAL + ICE: Musical Homage to the Earth

March 24, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. in the Terrace Theater

A special concert featuring Renée Fleming, Martha Redbone, Abigail Washburn, and Jiebing Chen.

Seeing Change: Climate Storytelling from the Arctic

Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

COAL+ICE and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting present an evening devoted to telling the stories of climate change in the Arctic. Through arts, photography, podcasts and exhibitions, Seeing Change, is an exploration of storytelling on the frontline of climate change. Including COAL + ICE photographer Camille Seaman and Canadian documentary photographer and filmmaker Louie Palu, the event will feature a selection of work from the Pulitzer Center, Indigenous Photograph Launch Photo Call, Louie Palu's melting ice block work Arctic Passage, and a conversation between the artists.

An Evening of Music with the Bard East/West Ensemble

Saturday, April 16, 2022, 7:00-9:00 p.m.

A program of Chinese music and art featuring a Chinese traditional music ensemble led by Jindong Cai, director of the US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music.

Earth Day at COAL + ICE

Friday, April 22, 2022, 6:30-10:00 p.m.

COAL + ICE closing night event celebrating Earth Day.

About the COAL + ICE Exhibition

48 projectors will illuminate an immersive 30,000-square-foot purpose-built exhibition space on the REACH Plaza. Beginning with stunning suspended photographs of the Himalayan mountains and glaciers juxtaposed against historical and contemporary portraits of coal miners, the visitor explores the relationship between coal and ice as they go deeper into the immersive space and a story of the climate crisis unfolds. The imagery, drawn from over a century's worth of diverse materials, from glass plate negatives to smartphone videos, documents our relationship to fossil fuels and the consequences triggered by their continued use. At once about climate change and the resilience of humankind, the exhibition ends with an opportunity for reflection and response.

The COAL + ICE exhibition is co-curated by Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas and renowned exhibition designer Jeroen de Vries, and is a project of the Asia Society, led by Orville Schell, the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations. First developed as an exhibition for Three Shadows Photography Art Center in Beijing in 2011, it has since been shown across China, in Paris during COP21, and most recently in 2018 at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture in San Francisco. Find out more at

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