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Art supports climate justice at the Iowa Environmental Council’s inaugural Green Gala


IEC staff at their Green Gala & Art Auction on November 10, 2022 — Courtney Guein/Little Village

The Iowa Environmental Council’s (IEC) Green Gala & Art Auction filled Mainframe Studio’s Big Room on Friday, Nov. 10, with guests dressed in shades of green to support a greener future.

Green Gala & Art Auction attendee’s supporting clean energy by wearing green — Courtney Guein/Little Village

As people sipped their wine over tunes from DJ Jaide Knight, eyes canvassed pieces of art that were to be auctioned. The main event was the piece the IEC commissioned from Des Moines artist Ben Schuh. That piece was auctioned live at the event going for about $800.

Bidding was available online, which was cut off at midnight, and in-person, with most pieces physically present at the event.

Each piece focused on climate change to “[make] sure that the public understands the concerns and the dangers that are associated with it,” as explained by Chris Gloninger, the Green Gala’s emcee and KCCI’s chief meteorologist.

Gloninger also shared his own work for climate justice. While traveling across the country as a meteorologist, he began to see startling patterns of severe weather.

“So I kicked off the country’s first weekly series in climate change and began connecting the dots,” Gloninger said. “It’s so critical that we all have one voice in this important issue. It’s a little disheartening when you’re watching, admittedly, TV coverage, and the debates, and the polls, and you’re hearing, ‘What are the important issues?’ Because if you think about what’s most important to you, that common denominator, often times, is climate change.”

KCCI’s Chris Gloninger speaking about climate change at the 2022 Green Gala & Art Auction — Courtney Guein/Little Village
Ben Schuh’s original commissioned painting specifically made for the Green Gala and Art Auction of 2022 — Courtney Guein/Little Village
Ben Schuh’s “The Road Ahead” for the Iowa Environmental Council’s 2022 Green Gala & Art Auction — Courtney Guein/Little Village

After sharing his personal story, Gloninger announced four “clean energy champions” that received awards from the IEC. The awards went to the Iowa Chapter of the Blue Green Alliance for their involvement in labor justice and climate issues; the City of Waterloo in honor of their 24/7 carbon-free energy resolution; Greenpenny Bank of Decorah for their history of financing solar projects; and Keith Denner, who is president of Professional Property Management in West Des Moines, for reducing wasteful energy and water expenses for his renters.

Keith Denner receiving an award from the Iowa Environmental Council. — Lily DeTaeye/Little Village

Proceeds from the gala will be split, with 25 percent going to the artists and the rest going to the IEC’s initiatives for clean energy.

Missed the event but want to keep up with IEC? Visit their website to read about their projects and make a donation.

Lily DeTaeye contributed to this story.

“Osprey” and “Trumpeter Swans” photos by David Thoreson at the 2022 Green Gala & Art Auction — Courtney Guein/Little Village
“Primitive Jazz” by Michael Wilson and the assemblage piece “Stream Dancer Save Us All” by Rob Sunderman for the 2022 Green Gala & Art Auction — Courtney Guein/Little Village
Gala goers analyzing art made for the Iowa Enviromental Council’s Green Gala & Art Auction on Novermber 10, 2022. Paintings include “Growing Wild” by Brie Hodges Miller (left), “Our Remaining Waters” by Sunny (middle left), the “Botanical Dreamscape” by Laura Todd (middle right), and “I Shall Use My Time” (right) — Courtney Guein/Little Village

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