Understanding air quality through community-based art

Air pollution is “almost like an invisible beast,” says Daniel Granias, an art teacher with the Right Brain Initiative.

He has been working with the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) and Oregon Environmental Council to increase awareness of air quality issues in the Jade District and foster engagement around the issue. The Jade District is a hotspot for air pollution due to its proximity to major highways and traffic.

Daniel says that, in speaking with youth and public health groups about air pollution: “It’s something they all know is real, and they all have a passing understanding of its importance, but no solid grip on changing it and its immediate effects.”

Daniel’s specialty is arts integration. With APANO and OEC, he is facilitating a series of community art workshops to discuss the causes of air pollution and its impacts. He pairs the discussion with a creative process in which community members contribute to an art piece using up-cycled materials such as plastic bags and disposable face masks. Community members illustrate the problem of air pollution on their masks, which Daniel will weave into a tapestry.

Daniel says he wanted to “create a symbolic comb, in the way that a fishing net combs the rivers for fish. This would be a way of drawing people’s attention to combing the air of all of the harmful particles.”

Daniel is currently conducting workshops with Portland Community College students, the Youth Environmental Justice Alliance, and other schools and community organizations in the Jade District. We hope that Daniel’s “place-making” project, engaging with community members about air quality, will generate both awareness about the impacts of air pollution in the Jade District, and increased desire to find solutions, such as stronger diesel legislation in Oregon.

“Talking about this issue is only the first step, but it’s an important step,” says Daniel. “I want this project to draw visual attention to this invisible beast.”

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Toxics-Free Environments Air Quality Toxic Free Priorities Transportation Solutions Climate Protection Policy Rural Partnerships OEC News/Updates/Events Media/PR/Statements Water News Water Conservation
Sort by

Oregon Needs You to Speak Up For Its Air Quality

February 10, 2020, 9:38 pm


Air Quality Alert: Wood Smoke Pollution

While many of us enjoy the warmth and coziness of a wood stove or fireplace, few realize just how dangerous wood smoke is. Burning wood releases high levels of tiny particles and gases that harm our health. The cancer risk from a lifetime of exposure to wood smoke is 12 times greater than being exposed to the equivalent amount of cigarette smoke. While wood smoke is a serious health issue anywhere wood is burned, several Oregon communities have violated (or are
December 25, 2019, 4:24 pm


Trump didn’t just attack California’s air quality

He went after Oregon, 13 other states and D.C.’s authority to demand Clean Car Standards; Oregonian leadership more important than ever PORTLAND ––  President Donald Trump and the Environmental Protection Agen
September 19, 2019, 12:35 am


Diesel and air quality

Why do we need to act now to reduce diesel pollution from heavy-duty engines? Because it’s not only one of Oregon’s biggest air quality problems—it contributes to all of them.  According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s 2017 Air Quality annual report, Oregon’s “air pollutants of greatest concern” are:
February 7, 2019, 8:19 pm


Air quality action in Salem

2018 may go down in history as a hallmark year for climate action, but it’s not the only excitement in the air. In fact, the air itself is an exciting topic. Oregon legislators are considering ways to control diesel pollution and toxic air pollution from industry. In case you missed it, here are highlights from hearings in Salem this month: Antonio and Cassie, both high school students in Salem, testified about their concerns over diesel pollution and support for
February 16, 2018, 11:34 pm


Defending Oregon from Federal Attacks on Community Health

Pulling out of
July 12, 2017, 4:43 pm


Hazy Skies & Air Quality Warnings

Guest blog by Katie Young, Program Intern at OEC
March 7, 2017, 7:23 pm


Diesel in Our Air: Lents Community Air Sampling Project

How do people in Lents experience air pollution as they play soccer, wait for the bus,  or simply live near high-traffic routes and industrial sites where diesel engines are used? To better understand diesel pollution in our daily lives, Lents neighbors worked to locate, observe and sample the tiny particles of black carbon in the air.
January 11, 2017, 11:46 pm


Citizen science for air quality

September 20, 2016, 7:41 pm


Where Water Quality and Quantity Intersect

Guest Post by Steve Siegel It is a hot summer day and you are off to your favorite swimming hole, joyfully anticipating your first leap into its crystal clear, refreshing water, followed by the magnificent shake of your body as you surface, spraying water in every direction. You can hardly wait, recklessly racing your dog to the water. You arrive to find a pool of brownish, greenish, stagnant water, barely knee deep. Skidding to a halt, you no longer want to even dip your
August 17, 2016, 9:50 pm


1 Reply to "Understanding air quality through community-based art"

  • Roberta Wong
    April 30, 2019 (7:52 pm)

    Thank you, Daniel, for working with our youth and community, not only about issues of environmental pollution that affects our air quality, but also in utilizing a creative process to help shift our perspective to discover multiple options yet found to address this problem.