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From the Artist’s Perspective: Visualizing Refugia

The Climate Science Alliance, in partnership with the Connecting Wildlands & Communities (CWC) Team at San Diego State University, is excited to host Kim Reasor as our 2020 Climate Art Fellow. Kim has been working with the team since June to visualize the major take homes of this project for a public audience. In this edition of “From the Artist’s Perspective,” hear from Kim directly on how the process is going and what she has completed so far!

Developing a Venn diagram version of my climate refugia idea.

I’ve spent the first few weeks learning, listening, researching, pacing, scribbling notes and making sketches and being a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information I’m attempting to consolidate and process into meaningful art. It’s been glorious. I’ve had a number of conversations with members of Connecting Wildlands and Communities and the Climate Science Alliance about my project ideas. It’s been illuminating and fascinating, and has made me appreciate the complexities involved in coming up with policies and actions to help all kinds of communities, both human and non-human, become more resilient to a changing climate.

I’ve been working on an artistic visualization of the CWC project concept of climate refugia. To me the word “refugia”, or refuge, evokes shelter—a roof, a cavern, something like that. I am working through how to use a cabinet, perhaps recessed, perhaps not recessed, to contain an artistic representation of a sheltered ecosystem—plants, water, animals, etc. The image above shows my idea for making a Venn diagram to loosely illustrate multiple climate refugia domains, culminating in the center area being the ideal or super climate refugia which is sheltered from excess heat, drought, destructive fire, and has a high ecological importance index. My understanding of this topic is evolving and will undoubtedly be reflected in the final piece.

Here is a photo of a maquette (model) of my climate refugia:

Maquette of Venn climate refugia artwork

For my first piece - the basic idea is a 36” x 36” x 5” or so box with a recessed cabinet in the center protecting the treasure of the multiple-domain climate refugia. The background image will be an overhead view of Temecula, which is a good example of typical Southern California development. The front of the box will be a painting, the cabinet will contain a mixture of painted and sculptural items.

Thank you for reading and I will post again soon about this and my other artworks!

- Kim Reasor


To learn more about Kim Reasor and her work please visit: or connect with her on Instagram @kim_reasor

For updates on the Connecting Wildlands and Communities Project, please visit:


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