December 1, 2023

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The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao hosts an international symposium on environmental sustainability strategies

  • On October 3, the Museum will bring together leaders from museums and foundations from all over the world to share the most innovative environmental sustainability strategies
  • Organized by World Art Foundations (WAF) in conjunction with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the symposium will examine environmental sustainability initiatives and good practices from prominent international museums
  • The symposium will conclude with a lecture by the artist Olafur Eliasson

On October 3, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao will bring together the leaders of international museums and foundations with the goal of presenting their environmental sustainability strategies, share good practices, and provide the participants with answers and solutions ready to implement so they can embark upon their own road to sustainability.

The symposium is being organized by World Art Foundations (WAF) in conjunction with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao within the context of the urgency prompted by the climate crisis. It will conclude with a lecture by the internationally renowned artist Olafur Eliasson on how art can inspire climate action.

Suhanya Raffel, director of the M+ museum of Hong Kong; Whitney McGuire, Associate Director of Sustainability at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of New York; Rosa Ferré, co-director of the TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Foundation; Juan Ignacio Vidarte, Director Genera of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and Daniel Vega, Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Conservation at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao are just some of the leaders participating in this event.

The symposium will take a practical approach, with a number of sessions that will examine issues like the creation of “green teams” in institutions, the need to create realistic environmental sustainability action plans, measuring the carbon footprint, financing opportunities, strategies to improve buildings’ energy efficiency, recommendations on climate control, proposals to offer visitors a more environmentally-friendly experience, managing exhibitions in line with environmental goals, and more sustainable solutions for packaging and transporting works of art.

In addition, professionals from the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao will explain in depth the environmental sustainability initiatives that have been implemented at the museum.

The symposium will conclude with a lecture by Olafur Eliasson entitled “How art can inspire climate action.” In 2020, the Museum hosted the exhibition Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life, in which the artist questioned the way we perceive our environment and reflected on timely issues like the climate emergency. Convinced that art can exert a considerable influence on the world outside museums, for years Eliasson has been involved in different artistic actions that aim to raise awareness of climate change.

World Art Foundations

World Art Foundations (WAF) is an organization founded in 2014 with the goal of creating synergies between museums and art foundations so they can share ideas, work together to solve problems, and have opportunities to make contacts within the international art community.

Environmental sustainability is one of the main commitments of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao’s 2021–2025 Strategic Plan, with the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2030. This international symposium is framed within the Museum’s focus on sustainable development, which entails including a space for reflection on the environment and ecological awareness in its public programs and exhibition and educational programming.

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