Spark: Our Creative Nature explores innovative projects that help to protect and enhance our environment. See how Bay Area artists, working in a variety of genres, hope to swing public opinion behind efforts to improve the quality of our land, waters and air.

First, strap on snowshoes to follow artist Sonja Hinrichsen as she and dozens of volunteers make massive snow drawings in the Sierra. Designed to enhance natural landscapes around the world, Hinrichsen’s art is completely ephemeral; when her creations are complete, it’s a race against time to photograph them before the next snowfall covers them up or they simply melt away.

Next, take to the stage with San Francisco choreographer KT Nelson and the ODC dancers as they perform a stunning new work, “Dead Reckoning.” Scored by former Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, the dance uses a mix of visual and acoustic motifs, the sound of a tree falling, for instance, to make viewers experience the anxiety and urgency of a world transformed by climate change.

Then, step into the Berkeley studio of Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, designers who are using organic materials like sand, salt and clay to bring new form to large-scale 3-D printing. Their creations are among the first steps toward a whole new world of sustainable, natural building materials that could profoundly change how we design and manufacture everything from our furniture to the houses we live in.

Finally, inspired by her fieldwork in the Arctic and Antarctic, composer Cheryl Leonard creates instruments and compositions from field recordings and found objects like penguin bones, dried seaweed, and ice. As she prepares for her performance as part of the Brower Center’s Vanishing Ice exhibit in Berkeley, she hopes to use sound to help her audience make visceral connections to polar landscapes in need of preservation.

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