Winnipeg Arts Council

Eco Art Action

This Youth  WITH ART Project is a collaboration between Manitoba Environmental Youth Network (MEYN) and artist Karen Cornelius, in which grade 12 Dakota Collegiate students were introduced to environmental issues through art-making. MEYN is the youth program of Manitoba Eco Network, a non-profit organization that promotes positive environmental action and facilitates environmental awareness and expands community connections. 

More information about the Manitoba Eco Network, MEYN, and their projects can be found here.

Students were introduced to environmental issues facing Winnipeg and the wider world, and responded to the issues through workshops that used a variety of art-making mediums. Projects included using printmaking techniques to remap the local neighbourhood as a greener, more environmentally friendly place, and a collage project exploring what the students loved and hated about Winnipeg.

From there, the focus was narrowed to the tangible issues of water and waste, particularly plastic water bottle waste. The class collected all the plastic water bottles in their school for four months, and then counted them. The students each created an action figure to help respond to their concerns about these issues. They animated their characters in a comic strip, created a story board, and then brought their action figure to life using stop motion video animation. The students were encouraged to explore their own creative voice as they expressed their ideas and concerns about water, plastic bottles, and waste. The results are humorous and sobering, cautionary and hopeful.

Karen Cornelius

Karen Cornelius is a printmaker and new media artist. She sees her work contributing to an ongoing contemporary dialogue on identity and belonging.

Cornelius was born in the United States, grew up in the Congo, attended high school in Kenya becoming a Canadian citizen while living in Ottawa and now lives in Winnipeg following two and half years working and living in Eritrea, northeast Africa. She travels often engaged in projects related to her art practice which have taken her to China, Africa and Europe.

She has exhibited her work in numerous solo and juried exhibitions in Canada, United States, Europe, Africa and China. Her work has been purchased by the Canadian Art Bank, and is held in the National Archives of Canada, Abington Hospital in Philadelphia, Ernst and Young in Toronto, St. John’s College Winnipeg as well as corporate and private collections around the world.

Want Some Water, Deer?

By Jose Miguel Perez Aparicio

A factory pops up in the middle of the forest and starts producing water bottles that, on their way to the river, destroy everything they find. A curious deer will follow them.

When a Water Bottle is Recycled

By Nadia Garcia, Michael Lamont-Adam, and Sydney Pankratz

Using white board drawings, we show the journey a water bottle takes from the factory to where it ends up, illustrating the many misconceptions of the positive effects of recycling.

Wrath of the Water Bottle King

By Dominic Ramos

A normal plastic bottle is transformed into the most destructive killing machine on the planet because the humans are polluting the environment.

The Water Bottle Fairy

By Nosheen Qadi and Mikayla Stark-Pugh

The magical Water Bottle Fairy grants one environmentally-friendly wish and in doing so becomes a better bottle herself!

Saving the World One Bottle at a Time

By Kelsey Van Achte, Kaelin Van Achte, Stephanie Boyko, and Rylee Woods.

Join the famous and powerful Blue Bottle as he cleans up the city and battles to recycle all the evil water bottles to make them good again.

Revenge of the Living Plastic

By Saifemichael Alola

An innocent bird is flying the streets of the future and is overwhelmed by the garbage humans discard. Damaged by fumes, the bird plummets from the sky into a pile of toxic plastic water bottles. The bird mutates into a monster and takes his revenge on the city.

Penguins & Bottles

By Steven Liu

Penguins move from one place to another because the ice is breaking up. The penguins have to swim with discarded plastic bottles. One penguin imagines that the floating bottles are other penguins.

Miles Away

By Stephanie Zroback

Plastic water bottles are used once in North America and then the plastic bottle trash is sent overseas to another country.

Eco Art Action (Project Video)

By the Manitoba Environmental Youth Network, Dakota Collegiate students, and Karen Cornelius

Created through the Winnipeg Art Council's Youth WITH ART Program.

Jack the Corporate Dragon Slayer

By Mitchell Addison, Dustin Garand, and Lucas Smook

Jack, the average man, is upset that the corporations are controlling the water supply and creating plastic pollution so Jack becomes Jack the Corporate Dragon Slayer.

A Water Bottle’s Life

By Emily Kramer

A discarded water bottle stays the same as the world changes over hundreds of years. Please think twice before you buy bottled water.

Bottled Up (Project Video)

By the Manitoba Environmental Youth Network, Dakota Collegiate students, and Karen Cornelius

Created through the Winnipeg Art Council's Youth WITH ART Program.

The Angry Entity from Garbage Island

By Leandra Brandson

A beast born of trash emerges from the depths of Garbage Island to take revenge for his polluted aquatic abode


By Jayde Lazarenko

A water droplet is contained within a cage, representing corporate power. Trapped, the water droplet is controlled along with our free water.

Dangerous Waters

By Ashley Rebillard

A fish with super powers saves a bird from choking on a plastic water bottle cap. If we don't dispose of plastic water bottles properly then animal's lives are at risk.

Plastic Bags in our Ocean

By Somto Kingsly Anyadike

A plastic bag floats helplessly in the ocean, calling for help. Superhero Green Man flies to the rescue, inhaling the bag out of the sea and using his fiery breath to recycle the plastic bag into a reusable plastic cup.

Attack on Salad

By Eric Kewley

A farm of peas and carrots is infested with bugs. The farmer sprays his crop and the chemical run off goes into the river killing the fish.

More Public Art

  • Erica Swendrowski, Marbles on Portage, 2012 — Photo by Robert Tinker
    Mayfair Recreation Centre, 40 Mayfair Place

    Marbles at Mayfair

  • Photo by Alanna Yuen
    The MERC (Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre) at 430 Langside Street

    Opening Doors

  • Waterfront Drive Active Transportation Path near the Aquaduct Monument& Stephen Juba Park

    Reflects in Water

Visit the gallery