Earth Day 2021 Art Challenge

Create a work of art that celebrates and inspires good neighbors—caretakers of people and the planet—to establish a more unified, equitable, prosperous, and compassionate community.

Envision Athens declared 2021 as The Year of the Good Neighbor with a goal to inspire all Athenians to be Good Neighbors, united under one vision to better the community’s future through its four core values: unity, equity, prosperity, and compassion. In an act of unity, partnering organizations are collectively calling on the UGA and Athens community to reflect, embody, and create artworks in alignment with these values.

Award Winners


  • Caroline Solomon
  • Plastic Bag Shorts and Jacket
  • Apparel made from mixed waste materials

I made this outfit out of paper and plastic grocery bags, packaging material, and scraps of fabric ... I want to prove that something considered "single-use" can be transformed into something reusable, wearable, and beautiful.


    • Kate Crouch
  • Tree of Life #6
  • Watercolor
I hope this piece exudes joy and encourages an appreciation for nature and all of its wonderful flora and fauna. The playful interaction of the creatures were intentional. Life celebrated. Life unified. Life harmonious.


This project is a dedication to the soundscapes that surround us and the connections they represent. Through the soundscapes I've recorded and documented, we can see the interconnectedness we hold with the natural world - from the birds, the bugs, to the trees blowing in the wind.

All Submissions

  • Sierra Kirsche
  • Symbiosis
  • Ceramic vase
  • R.L. Edmondson Vance
  • The View Goddess 
  • Collage
  • Kavya Suryadevara
  • Nature's Touch
  • Watercolor and mixed media
  • Natalia Blooming
  • North Carolina I.

The wind sighs with the feeling of excitement then release.
Woodland trails
Where the sun catches the mist in a noncommittal sort of way,
Oh, I'll do that again if I feel like it
And the breeze twists my hair
In an innocent sort of way.
These trees know themselves
And patiently
Restrain themselves
As we take in their scents
And become aroused,
New, virgin to the smell
Of light and decay.
I feel nauseated:
The feeling of being churned as we succumb to the curls of the parkway.
I might as well be in a washing machine.
And my feet smell river rank,
And I can't help but forget
All the horrible things
And focus
On the Wonderful things.
I will take in the waterfalls and swallow the sky.

  • Belen Gad
  • Nature's body

Sometimes I’ll go outside and wonder
if the trees have anything to say,
anything to teach me.
I ponder if they have a message to share with humanity.
Yesterday, from the shuffle of the leaves I felt the trees say:

Why do you think you could own me?
Do I have to become a commodity
to be recognized for the value I behold?
You think to be wise, but spend time under my shade and
I’ll show you my ways.
I’ll teach you of the seasons.
Look how I don’t hurry.
Notice how my leaves surrender to winter, to rest.
Watch how I don’t get anxious when I’m unproductive.
I just rest in my own beauty,
in my own body.

  • Emma Scott
  • Dream Team
  • Photography
  • Emma Scott
  • Together in the Kitchen
  • Photography
  • Emma Scott
  • Soup of the Day
  • Photography
  • Melissa Harshman
  • Hope
  • Pulp-painted poppy flowers
  • Chloe Lee
  • Plant Trees, Not Trash
  • Photography
  • Nimsy Corea
  • New Beginnings
  • Pencil and digital drawing
  • R. L. Edmondson Vance 
  • The Earth Gives Goddess 
  • Gouache painting
  • Lara Strydom
  • Will you forget?

I was almost convinced
That you had forgotten me

When they hammered their machines into my pores
And drilled and drilled
Until I choked up that greasy old oil
As it infused itself into my teary eyes
Soaking my precious friends in that fatal tar

I thought you had forgotten me

When they decorated me with candy wrappers and empty cups
Suffocating my heart in their plastic wrap
And humiliating the body
That cradled you from day one

Full Text (PDF)
  • Alyssa Quan
  • Unless

Unless someone decides they care
enough to spare a bit of spare
change for the better,
get their toes a bit wetter,
see if they can break the tension
that was so ice cold it froze
the water that was trying to flow
through your voice that, solo,
couldn’t get through the thick
tension in the air and quick-
ly evaporated, dissipated
like the water that once quenched desert oases
like the colorful skies that only the day sees
like the toxins that may seize
even more of our children right before our unseeing eyes

Full Text (PDF)
  • Sophie Holley
  • Take Care
  • Physical and digital collage 
  • Remy Zimmerman
  • Celebrate Earth Day, Every Day
  • Digital art
  • Morgan Tate and Melisa (Misha) Cahnmann-Taylor
  • She's nice so someone will want her
  • Photography and poetry
  • Kendal Reeves
  • Staying In
  • Photography
  • Natasha Dorr-Kapczynski
  • It's not mutually exclusive
  • Poetry and digital art
  • Izy Dobbins, on behalf of the UGArden Club
  • Grow Where You're Planted
  • Communal mural painting
  • Sofie Williams
  • Lifeboat

We are treading water in finite space
Passing along a life vest that may never actually be worn
The world is waking, and not slowly
There is no forsaking our own little parts, only our old ways
We are called to come together
Tragedy and weather are unpredictable and on the up
The rising waters will wash out whatever is in your eye
Why should we even care?
Why should this be our cross to bear?
We are facing the single biggest threat to our existence.
We’ve known for some time that the global temperature is on a steep incline
and if we continue in the way we are
We won’t survive.

Full Text (PDF)
  • Sofie Williams
  • I am everything that lives

I am every tree that lines the streets

I am the river that runs across town

I am the flower in the gardens

I am the fields and their many cows

I am every goose, every duck, Every bulldog

I am the sunset and sunrise and stars overhead

I am the lake that ripples

I am the lake that is still

I am every forest oath

I am every trail I tread

I am one with all I see

I am everything that lives.

  • Mary-Jo Eden
  • What's Left?
  • Mixed media
  • Juliana Hirn
  • Appreciate the little things
  • Mixed media
  • Natasha Dorr-Kapczynski
  • Stewards of the Earth
  • Painting

2021 Art Challenge Sponsors

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