While the environment has always been a concern and consideration in our personal lives and many of our business decisions, events of 2020 shocked us into some deep soul-searching and a commitment to do better. The abrupt pause in travel during the early stages of the pandemic brought an immediate improvement to notoriously and chronically polluted environments, with clean air in cities like L.A. and New Delhi, clear water in the canals of Venice, and a rebound in wildlife populations. Later in the year, severe heat and massive wildfires in California shattered any remaining complacency and delusion. Anyone who was in the Bay Area in September of 2020 will never forget the apocalyptic smoke-choked, orange sky.
In the art industry, communal angst coalesced in the form of several organizations, notably Art + Climate Action in the US and Gallery Climate Coalition in the UK. Hosfelt Gallery joined these collectives in their commitment to reduce the art world's carbon footprint by 50% by 2030. The starting point was calculating our 2019 carbon output, using the GCC's free calculator, to determine the baseline from which we'd reduce our emissions. In 2019, we produced 93.77 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. By 2022, we had reduced our output to 52.75 tCO2e — a 44% reduction. Importantly, this reduction came not from buying offsets, but by actually reducing our negative impacts: flying less, shipping more thoughtfully and producing less waste. Our annual carbon reports can be found below. We aim to meet our goal of 50% reduction by the end of 2023 — seven years ahead of schedule — and to keep cutting.
We've worked closely with Jodi Roberts, co-founder of Art + Climate Action, on several initiatives, including our Climate Action 8 x 8 commitments, which can be viewed below. Simultaneously, we're actively looking for ways to support our team to make more climate-friendly personal decisions. One policy we've recently put into place is to reward team members with an extra paid day off for every 30 days that they walk, bike or take public transportation to work.
But real change can only come from collective action, and that means collaboration. Todd Hosfelt is frequently asked to share the gallery's climate action experience. You can view a panel presentation from the 2023 FOG Design+Art fair here.
Todd is also a member of the committee that plans the Art Dealers Association of America's annual art fair at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, and has spearheaded, along with the ADAA's Executive Director, Maureen Bray, an aggressive sustainability initiative in partnership with strategists from the global design and planning firm, Gensler, and the production company for the fair, Sanford L. Smith + Associates. The first year of those efforts resulted in substantive eco-friendly alternatives to the current art fair model, as well as base-line carbon calculations from a sample of participating galleries. From the results of those calculations, strategists from Gensler drafted a roadmap for a more sustainable ADAA art fair, which can be used to improve the impact of any art fair or trade show. That document — with detailed and concrete ways for reducing the environmental impacts of production, travel and shipping — is being shared with galleries, museums, and other art fairs and trade show organizers, to help our community meet and exceed its environmental aspirations. We will link to that document here once it is available.
More resources, links, and projects can be viewed below.
Is The Art Show the first green fair?Annabel Keenan, The Art Newspaper April 21, 2023 As the arts sector contends with its impact on climate change, artists, institutions and art fairs are grappling with how to measure and reduce the toll of their activities. While...
In Conversation: Patricia Piccinini and Vanessa Chang24 January 2023 Tune in for a virtual conversation between artist Patricia Piccinini and curator Vanessa Chang about Piccinini's current exhibition, A tangled path sustains us. As a curator, writer and educator, Vanessa...
Climate Leadership and the Arts: Creative Solutions, Collaborative Thinking, and Meaningful Change19 January 2023 A panel discusscion with Todd Hosfelt and Claudia Schmuckli, Curator-in-Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, moderated by Jodi Roberts, Art Historian, Curator,...
HG Magazine Issue no. 38Earth Day April 21, 2022 Christian Houge's 'Death of a Mountain' series Lordy Rodriguez's 'Lake Karachay' and 'Four Rivers' Combatting food waste Gallery Climate Coalition carbon audit & other actions to reduce our carbon footprint...
In Conversation: Isabella Kirkland & Greg Niemeyer2 June 2021 Tune in for a virtual conversation between Isabella Kirkland and data scientist and fellow artist, Greg Niemeyer, presented in conjunction with Kirkland's current exhibition, THE SMALL MATTER , on view...
Gallery Conversation: Isabella Kirkland & Dr. Brian L. Fisher27 May 2021 Join us in the gallery from 5-7 pm this Thursday May 27 for a conversation between Isabella Kirkland and prominent Bay Area scientist, Dr. Brian L. Fisher. Dr. Brian L....
Gallery Conversation: Isabella Kirkland & Ryan Phelan13 May 2021 Join us in the gallery from 5-7 pm this Thursday May 13 for a conversation between Isabella Kirkland and prominent Bay Area scientist, Ryan Phelan. Phelan is the co-founder and...
Gallery Conversation: Isabella Kirkland & Lauren Esposito20 May 2021 Join us in the gallery from 5-7 pm this Thursday May 20 for a conversation between Isabella Kirkland and prominent Bay Area scientist, Lauren Esposito, who is Assistant Curator and...
When Redistricting Becomes Gerrymandering: Can Districts Be Drawn Equitably?29 October 2020 A virtual panel discussion with experts in the redistricting process With the 2020 Census coming to a close, the redistricting process will begin anew for every state in the country....
Climate Action 8x8
In our base year, 2019, Hosfelt Gallery produced 93.77 tons of CO2. Primarily through reductions in air travel, by 2022, we had reduced our output to 52.75 tons — a 44% reduction. These reductions are not coming from buying offsets; they are from actually reducing our use of energy and materials.
- The gallery will continue to track our emissions with the goal of reducing our 2023 emissions to 45 tons or less.
- Implement as many of Art + Climate Action’s quick tips for energy savings as possible at the gallery.
- Let gallery staff members know that they also have the option to switch to renewable energy at home through their local community choice aggregator.
- Ask all shipping companies to provide standardized emissions information on quotes, and prioritize business with companies that already provide this information.
- Include shipping-related emissions information on invoices.
Make efforts to consolidate shipments to art fair locations with other San Francisco galleries.
- Prioritize shipping artworks by truck or ship and avoid air freight when possible.
- Avoid using Fed Ex / UPS / DHL when possible.
- Consider the impact of shipping when planning art fairs, prioritizing the exhibition of artworks that are more local to the site of an art fair.
Reduce the number of flights taken by gallery staff and gallery artists.
- Reduce the number of art fairs we participate in.
- Establish regular Zoom studio visits between gallery artists and gallery staff, non-local curators and non-local collectors.
- When it makes sense, discourage artists from traveling for installations or exhibitions in favor of virtual interaction.
- Work with local galleries to share pedestals, crates, equipment, and materials.
Reuse crates and packing materials. Minimize packaging and tape.
- Prioritize local businesses when purchasing materials for shipping and installation.
- Continue publishing the gallery’s efforts to reduce emissions and waste in the digital gallery magazine, crediting the team members who devise, propose, and implement effective climate actions.
Share the profits of art fairs with all gallery staff members (as opposed to only sales staff on the floor of the booth).
Gallery staff sits down and eats lunch together regularly and the conversations are non-work related.
Reward the personal decisions of gallery staff that have positive climate impact:
○ 50% of the gallery staff uses public transportation to and from work at least 3 times a week.
○ 25% of the gallery staff works from home at least one day a week.
○ Most staff members make their lunch at home and bring it to work.
- Continue to organize exhibitions and public programs that highlight the climate/racial/economic justice concerns of the gallery and our artists.
- Personally and institutionally, make Strategic Climate Fund contributions to Art to Acres.
- Encourage 5 other galleries to participate in Climate Action 8x8.
Help develop a strategy for improving the climate impact of the ADAA’s fair in 2023.
- Share the results of the Gensler audit of the ADAA fair and the strategies that come out of it with other art fairs.
Speak at FOG and ADAA fairs about strategies for improving climate impact.