Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
A weekly look at creativity, arts, and culture in southwest Michigan, hosted by Zinta Aistars.Fridays in Morning Edition at 7:50am and at 4:20pm during All Things Considered.

Art Beat: Ecological art

Rebecca Heidenberg, Dreamsong Gallery
"Lungs," by Tali Weinberg, 2022
Tali Weinberg
Artist Tali Weinberg

For most of us, pieces of plastic and junk mail are just that – junk. But for Tali Weinberg, these materials are the makings of art. Her art, and her commitment to draw attention to the world’s ecological crisis, go hand in hand. Weinberg will be the artist-in-residence during March at the Prairie Ronde Artist Residency. She’ll spend that time exploring The Mill at Vicksburg, a redevelopment project of the former Lee Paper Mill. The historic mill was an economic driver of the village until it closed in 2001. It’s been renovated to become a hub for the arts and entertainment. For Weinberg, it will be the inspiration for an art project.

“I’ve been making work in response to the climate crisis for about eight years,” says Weinberg. “Before that, my work was addressing things like labor and gender violence and other social justice issues. I came to working around the climate crisis because I saw it as directly connected to or exacerbating all these other concerns that I have.”

During Weinberg’s residency at Prairie Ronde, she expects to create a series of works woven from wastepaper and other found materials into forms that explore the relationships between people, trees, industry, and waste.

A conversation with the artist

“I have this really abstract idea right now,” she says. “But I’m often drawing not only esthetically but conceptually from a place, so one of my first plans is to walk and just spend time closely looking in and around The Mill and some of the other acreage around the site. What I’ll often do, I’ll record details like light and reflection and specific colors or patterns I’m coming across or specific textures I’m coming across, and then I can use those kinds of details or my feeling of moving through a new place as I’m making choices in the studio.”

The Prairie Ronde Artist Residency offers artists from a range of disciplines a 5- to 7-week residency in the historic Village of Vicksburg, Michigan. To learn more about the residency, visit Prairie Ronde Artist Residency or email .

Weinberg’s art is held in public and private collections and is exhibited internationally. She has been featured in the New York Times, National Resource Defense Council’s onEarth Magazine, Surface Design Journal and literary journal Ecotone. Honors include an Illinois Artist Fellowship, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, Serenbe Fellowship, Windgate Fellowship to Vermont Studio Center, Lia Cook Jacquard Residency, among others. Weinberg, a resident of Champaign, Illinois, has taught at California College of the Arts and Penland School of Craft.

Zinta Aistars is our resident book expert. She started interviewing authors and artists for our Arts & More program in 2011.
Related Content