A central question facing society today is how can interaction with and participation in the visual arts (photography) serve as a mechanism to increase understanding of and elicit positive stewardship for the environment? This question has far-reaching practical consequences for how powerful visual imagery can build an emotional connection. By creating these installations, Associate Professor Ellenbogen is creating awareness for environmental concerns. From an academic perspective, this project is also highlighting the benefits of various disciplines working collectively to solve real-world problems. The interdisciplinary nature of Ellenbogen’s work brings together expertise in applied visual arts, landscape ecology, urban design and planning; coastal ecology; and cognitive psychology to better understand how people perceive their environment.
Ellenbogen has started a collaboration with three professors from Northeastern University to explore how the visual arts affect people and communities regarding environmental issues. They are pursuing grant funding to continue this work.