Artist Mel Chin to speak at Appalachian on April 2

Appalachian State University welcomes conceptual artist Mel Chin on April 2 at 6:30 p.m. for an artist talk in the Parkway Ballroom at Plemmons Student Union. Over the last 30 years, Chin has explored a diverse range of themes in his work including environmental injustice, history, cartography and ecology.

“Mel Chin is an ideal speaker to bring to Boone,” said Jennie Carlisle, director of the Art Department’s Smith Gallery and co-facilitator for the university’s Climate Stories Collaborative. “His work is deeply engaged with social and environmental sustainability, and he can provide our community with a deeper understanding of the ways that art catalyzes social change and participates in conversations that range across many disciplines.” 

Revival Field,” which Chin developed in 1991 and continues to revisit, was a pioneering experiment in green remediation. It has provided the artist with a grounding in environmental activism that has become a cornerstone of his practice. 

Chin often works collaboratively with artists and different communities. His video game “KNOWMAD,” which is based on rug patterns of nomadic people facing cultural disappearance, was developed with software engineers.

For “Flint Fit,” Chin collaborated with fashion designer Tracy Reese to turn plastic water bottles from Flint, Michigan into garments. The result of the collaboration was a prototype for future actions that use fashion as a tool for social change. 

Chin has shown his work at major institutions around the world including: the Fifth Biennial of Havana, Cuba; the Architectural Biennial in Venice, Italy; the Kwangju Biennale, Korea; the Hirschhorn Museum, Washington D.C. and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. 

Chin’s talk is offered as the kickoff event for the Climate Stories Collaborative’s annual showcase of creative climate projects, which will run April 5-10 at HOW Space.

His visit is sponsored by the Smith Gallery, the Office of Sustainability, the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Honors College and the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development.

By Jennie Carlisle 


About the Climate Stories Collaborative

The Climate Stories Collaborative is a learning community at Appalachian dedicated to growing the capacity of faculty and students to use a variety of creative media to tell the stories of those who are already affected by, and/or taking action to address, climate change. The collaborative supports arts-engaged research across curriculum and hosts programs and speakers throughout the year that build empathy and promote action. It’s signature event is the Climate Stories Showcase, which features student projects that creatively engage climate change issues. 

About the Smith Gallery

The Department of Art’s Smith Gallery is a vibrant contemporary art space, housed in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. It presents original and travelling exhibitions, features work by faculty and students at the university, and commissions daring new art in all of its forms. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM. In the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, 731 Rivers Street, Boone, NC 28608. Contact Jennie Carlisle at for more information.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors. 

Media Contact:
Jennie Carlisle, Director                                                                                
The Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University                          
215.421.7118 /       

Mel Chin
Published: Mar 14, 2019 11:57am