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As communities work to raise public awareness about climate change risks and solutions, some are asking artists to help.

“How can we bring artists to think through that messaging in a more culturally resonant way?” asks Claudia Zarazua, the arts and cultural planning director for the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

While at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, she helped write a guide called “Cool it with Art” that explains how to work with artists on climate-focused projects.

She says artists can find creative ways to make climate data more meaningful to local residents.

For example, artist Eve Mosher helped communicate the risks of sea-level rise in New York City by using chalk to mark areas vulnerable to flooding: “so communicating that information in a more direct way and personal way,” Zarazua says.

She says artists can also help design physical infrastructure to protect people from hazards like extreme heat. For instance, they can help make shade structures more noticeable and inviting.

“[They’re] more playful, more colorful than the traditional temporary tents,” she says.

So as cities and towns address climate change, Zarazua says artists can be powerful allies.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media