AEO and SCA Combine Art and Conservation

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Painting a New Portrait of Urban Renewal

Top Street Artists and Hundreds of College Student Volunteers to Transform Parks in San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago and Pittsburgh in Alternative Spring Breaks

WASHINGTON, DC (March 19, 2014) – World renowned graffiti artists will join forces with environmentally-active college students to bring a new look and renewed love to parks in four major US cities. The Alternative Spring Break (ASB) projects are made possible through a partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and American Eagle Outfitters.

After six consecutive years of sending student volunteers to aid threatened wilderness areas from the Everglades to the Grand Canyon, SCA and American Eagle Outfitters are shifting their focus to urban greenscapes ranging from national parks to vacant lots.  Under the theme of “HeART This City,” contemporary artists will spray dynamic outdoor murals while SCA volunteers plant native gardens, restore playgrounds and clear debris to enhance each park’s natural beauty.

All art will be inspired by the work of Lakwena Maciver, a British graphic artist who explores the human instinct for adornment and embellishment in popular culture and urban environments.  The project coordinator is Psteudio, the New York based urban visualist company created by Meghan Coleman, formerly with The Hole and Deitch Projects galleries.  Projects and dates include:

  • San Francisco, CA: Golden Gate Park, March 22.  Featured artist: Chor Boogie, internationally known for his revolutionary technique and spiritual use of color.  Service project: greening a renovated park aid building in advance of its official opening this spring as an environmental stewardship center. 
  • New Orleans, LA: Jean Lafitte National Historical Park, April 5. Featured artist: Totem, whose distinctive style and robotic armored letters are recognized around the globe.  Service project: restoration of areas within Jean Lafitte National Historical Park to prepare site for 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans.
  • Chicago, IL: Piotrowski Park and Our Lady of Tepeyac School, April 12. Featured artist: Nina Polumba, a Chicago-based artists currently in exhibition at galleries across the Windy City.  Service project: turning a vacant lot into a local park with native gardens, natural playscapes and pleasant learning spaces.
  • Pittsburgh, PA: Point State Park, April 26.  Featured artist: Ed Trask, distinguished by his symbolic portraits of themes dealing with preservation, history and spirituality.  Service project: support an ongoing effort to restore the park’s native plants and make it more welcoming for local residents and wildlife.

All artists will spray only MTN paint, which meets the most rigorous requirements for preserving the environment and health of graffiti writers.

The SCA volunteers hail from a variety of local colleges and universities including The University of California Berkeley and Presidio Graduate School (SF), Loyola University and Tulane University (NO), the University of Chicago and DePaul University (Chi.), and Chatham University and Duquesne University (Pitt.).

“SCA and American Eagle continue to set the pace for engaging youth in productive adventures in conservation,” says SCA President & CEO Dale Penny.  “We are especially pleased to bring our Alternative Spring Breaks to these remarkable cities because it is paramount that we conserve all of nature, not only iconic national parks but the very communities where we live and work.”

“Alternative Spring Break is a tremendous partnership between American Eagle and SCA that focuses on protecting our environment and encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors,” says Marcie Eberhart, executive director of the American Eagle Outfitters Foundation. “We are delighted to bring this movement to some of America’s favorite cities and give back to the communities that give us so much.”

Alternative Spring Break is part of an expanded partnership between American Eagle Outfitters and SCA, which involves in-store promotion of SCA activities in more than 800 American Eagle Outfitters stores. In previous years, ASB students planted endangered Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park, repaired hiking trails in the Grand Canyon and restored vital wildlife habitat in the Everglades, Padre Island, Big Cypress and the Santa Monica Mountains.

About American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.

American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) is a leading global specialty retailer offering high-quality, on-trend clothing, accessories and personal care products at affordable prices under its American Eagle Outfitters® and Aerie® brands. The company operates more than 1,000 stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, and Hong Kong, and ships to 81 countries worldwide through its websites. American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie merchandise also is available at 69 licensed international franchise stores in 12 countries. For more information, please visit www.ae.com.

About the Student Conservation Association

The Student Conservation Association is the only national organization that develops tomorrow’s conservation leaders by providing high school and college students with service opportunities in all 50 states, from urban communities to national parks and forests. More than 4,000 SCA members annually render over two million hours of service to America’s public lands. Since 1957, SCA has helped to develop new generations of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet. SCA is headquartered in Washington, DC and maintains offices in Anchorage, AK, Boise, ID, Chicago, IL, Charlestown, NH, Oakland, CA, Pittsburgh, PA, and Seattle, WA.