Artist Climate Collective's new dance film series 'Art 2 Action' raises awareness about climate crisis

The new film series "Art 2 Action" is an array of dance films that raise awareness about the climate crisis. (Gabe Trujillo)

In her new work, “Dear Roots: An Interview,” choreographer Darian Kane personifies her dancers as mushrooms, to show “a day in the life of an employee in the communication network that lives beneath the Earth.” Darian Kane is a four-year Atlanta Ballet Company dancer, and her piece features several other talents from Terminus Modern Ballet Company. She and Keaton Leier, former Atlanta Ballet dancer and Artists Climate Collective co-founder, joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to talk about their contributions to the Collective’s new film series “Art 2 Action.” 

Interview highlights:

An art collective funding climate activism while broadening the conversation:

“‘Art 2 Action’ is a series of dance films that we as ACC put on to continue to gather and create a community that creates art in collaboration with creating awareness with the climate crisis,” Leier explained. “Artists Climate Collective, or ACC, commissions these artists to create a film that is dance media, and we present it in a series that is screened online for the span of 30 days that you can access these films. The profits from ticket prices all go towards three environmental organizations that do a lot of great groundwork in fighting the climate crisis.”

“Our biggest goal at ACC is to get people to shift perspectives based on what they experience with the art that we create when it comes to considering the climate crisis, and we believe that art has such a deep power to evoke emotions from people,” said Leier. “I believe that it’s so easy to feel hopeless and sometimes even confused when considering the climate crisis and looking at the science or watching the news even. And so this is just a new and different way to approach those feelings.”

On Kane’s dance piece “Dear Roots: An Interview”:

“I have always maintained the thought that before you can take care of something, you have to learn to appreciate it. I know that is very true for people as they emerge into their adult lives. They tend to take better care of their rooms in their homes once they are living on their own,” Kane reflected. “When I approached this dance film that I wanted to create for ACC, my thought was, ‘What is something that’s really mysterious and otherworldly about the environment that we live in, that people don’t talk about very often, but is vastly impactful in maintaining balance in our world?'”

She went on, “I think that there is so much we don’t know about mushrooms and the mycelium network, and every time people begin studies on different mushrooms for health or for cancer research or just to figure out what they’re doing with the communication for other plant life, it’s so beyond our scope of understanding. And I thought that it would be really beautiful to try and abstractly bring that to the surface …  I thought, ‘I want something like people being mushrooms, talking about their jobs.’ And so we came up with this idea that, what if for the first time ever, a news outlet was allowed to interview mushrooms who were representing the ‘Mycelium Network,’ and the Mycelium Network being represented as a customer service company?”

Leier on becoming a mushroom:

“Well, actually it was quite a fun process. We also had one of Atlanta Ballet’s costume designers collaborate with us on this work, with Darian especially. So she created all those original pieces for the project,” said Leier. “Me and Darian and Chloe [Gervais], we chatted about Darian’s thought of us, each of us, having our own specific type of mushroom and that’s how our costumes and colors were created. And so if you’ve seen the film, you can see that we all have a little bit of a different color combination in our costume and all of our personalities were linked to which type of mushroom we were.” 

He added, “We did have a little bit of a group homework project where some of us went and watched the film … ‘Fantastic Fungi,’ and I think the best way to prepare for it was just learning a little bit more about mushrooms, which I thought was very fun. And yeah, the whole cast thought it was a really big blast, and we had a ton of fun getting into character.”

The film series “Art 2 Action” can be streamed now on the Artists Climate Collective website at