Solarpunk Future 2023

Solarpunk Future 2023

This page is archive for this inaugural event occurring in May 2023. Keep an eye on our website for updated information about Solarpunk Future 2024.

What is Solarpunk Future?

Happening on May 11th from 5-9pm! Part interactive art show, part job fair, join geek creatives and green innovators for an evening event full of performances, exhibits, and art installations which will give all ages and walks of life the opportunity to be inspired by the sustainable future that we can collectively create.

What is the solarpunk movement?

Solarpunk is an art, literature, and political movement juxtaposed in opposition to the cyberpunk concept of the future. While cyberpunk often depicts a postapocalyptic, dystopian and disconnected future, solarpunk imagines a community-led, sustainable future that offers a hopeful alternative to the uptick in climate-doomism circulating in social media. Solarpunk provides us a goal to work towards together.

To learn more about Solarpunk, check out EARTH.ORG.

SolarPunk Future Poster_11x8.5

Event highlights include:

  • Keynote presentation from Ecotone Renewables
  • Employment opportunities from regional companies, nonprofits, etc.
  • Panel discussions on economic development in Pittsburgh
  • Singing Plants with Passport Academy Students
  • Interactive light sculpture with We All Eat Initiative
  • Painted bikes with Jason Sauer and Camo Nesbit
  • Art Installation by D.S Kinsel of BOOM Concepts
  • Hot Wheels with Pittsburgh Glass Center
  • Raffle supporting the rebuild of New Sun Rising after the recent fire
  • Automatic chance to win a hand painted bike for everyone who registers for the event
  • and more!

This event is sponsored by:

Pittsburgh Regional Transit, Catalyst Connection, Green Mountain Energy, Move PGH, New Sun Rising, BRITE Energy Innovators, BOOM Concepts, Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, Passport Academy, PA Women's Work, POGOH, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Chatham University, 1Hood Media and Tech 25.

Foundation support provided by the Heinz Endowments.

This year's Solarpunk Future event will feature:

The mission of 1Hood Media Academy is to build liberated communities through art, education, and social justice.

Appalachian Aid Institute, hopes to bridge the urban-rural gap in community resilience planning through participatory design and mutual aid from a bioregional context.

Tabling the collaborative role playing game called "Solarpunk Futures" (designed by the "Solarpunk Surf Club") to engage attendees in a participatory planning and storytelling process that engages them to prefigure the future that they want to see.

Assemble envisions a world where learning and creating are transformative experiences and where all people are equipped with the tools to make a difference, together. At Assemble, we use learning as a tool to create a more equitable future for youth and learners in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. We Build confidence through making; Connect learners, makers, technologists, and artists; and Nurture agency in learners.

BRITE is unleashing the energy revolution. BRITE believes anyone, anywhere can be a catalyst for change, that empowering energy tech startups will create opportunity, good jobs and a resilient economy. A non-profit launched in 2011 upon this assertion, the organization hosts a signature entrepreneur program and supportive services to enhance energy technology viability and community understanding. Headquartered in Warren, Ohio, BRITE represents the strength of our industrial past and the promise of a decarbonized future. As the only energy technology entrepreneur program in Ohio, BRITE has served more than 600 companies that have created nearly 1,600 jobs and attracted $230 million in investment.

Art Installation by D.S Kinsel. “Shells Of Our Former Selves” are bodyform like sculptural vessels for spiritual and physical reflection; a shell or skin shed for the purposes of personal growth. The intention of these totems is to honor how people and places transition and are always in transition of identity.  DS Kinsel is an award winning creative entrepreneur and cultural agitator. DS is the co-founder of BOOM Concepts; a creative hub dedicated to the advancement of black and brown artists representing marginalized communities.

Landforce nourishes a culture of self-empowerment for people aspiring towards meaningful and stable employment, as we protect and improve the environment. Landforce is committed to building a just world, where everyone belongs, lives in a healthy environment, and surpasses their greatest dreams.

LaVerne Kemp Studios is an artist and African American woman owned and operated by Weaver and Fiber artist , LaVerne Kemp for the past 45 years. LaVerne is an award winning fiber artist and designer of "Art to Wear" , accessories, and large scale wall sculptures. Since her beginnings she has used vintage and reclaimed items, beads, and adornments in her works.

Jason Sauer is a decorated army veteran, artist and co-founded Most Wanted Fine Art (MWFA). Jason Sauer and Most Wanted Fine Art have been honored as a “40 under 40” by Pittsburgh magazine, “Community Development Award” from Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, “Power of Work Award” from Goodwill of Southwestern PA, and “Best Art Gallery for Local Artists” 2014-2017 by Pittsburgh City Paper readers.

Move PGH coordinates transportation options in Pittsburgh to create a sustainable and equitable alternative to car-based travel.

Established in 2001, Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC) is a nonprofit, public-access education center; an art gallery; a state-of-the-art glass studio; a community builder; and a hub for innovation and creativity. Anyone can take classes, explore the contemporary glass gallery, and watch the live hot glass demonstrations. World-renowned glass artists come here to both create and teach.
Hot Wheels is an outreach vehicle that allows furnace-fired fun and glassblowing demonstrations to travel far beyond the walls of our Penn Avenue building.
This compact traveling glass studio is complete with all the state-of-the-art equipment needed to conduct glassblowing demonstrations, and it allows our glass artists to pop up all over town so they can manipulate molten magma into fiery works of art almost anywhere.

New Sun Rising believes that everyone has the potential to make a positive change.  Some people strengthen culture by creating a greater sense of connection and shared purpose, honoring diverse experiences and traditions, making everyone feel valued and open to possibility. Others promote environmental sustainability, ensuring that natural resources are respected and protected for the well-being of current and future generations.  While some provide economic opportunity for all, through access to good jobs, education, and entrepreneurship.

It is at this intersection of culture, sustainability, and opportunity that Vibrant Communities exist. New Sun Rising promotes this vision by serving as a trusted partner with nonprofits, social enterprises, collaboratives, and investors. Our services enhance their effectiveness through capacity building, accessible funding, and data advocacy. We are guided by our core value commitments to an equitable & inclusive society by using adaptive processes centered in asset-based practices. In 2019, New Sun Rising established the Vibrant Communities Framework to help people ignite, launch, and grow community development efforts in the Pittsburgh region and beyond.

Ryder Henry is a Pittsburgh-based painter and sculptor, most well known for his intricate, futuristic model city, 4 Lydia, made from recycled materials.

Solar United Neighbors is a national nonprofit organization that helps people go solar, join together, and fight for their energy rights. We envision a clean, equitable energy system that directs control and benefits back to local communities, with solar on every roof and money in every pocket.

Susan Kaye Quinn is an environmental engineer/rocket scientist turned speculative fiction author who now uses her PhD to invent cool stuff in books. Her works range from hopepunk climate fiction to futuristic spec fic. Sue believes being gentle and healing is radical and disruptive. Her cli-fi novel series can be found on her website:

Meet Our Team

Christine Bethea of Geek Art / Green Innovators (GA/GI)

Geek Art/Green Innovators (GA/GI) was a ground-breaking, wildly successful, and award winning celebration of Art, Tech, and Sustainability in Pittsburgh. Created by artist and Creative Strategist, Christine Bethea, GA/GI was held on Penn Ave annually for ten years showcasing hundreds of artists, inventors, and scientists and dozens of university eco & tech programs from the southwestern Pennsylvania region and beyond. Now Team GA/GI and Ms. Bethea, as the event's Arts Chair,  has joined Reimagined Jobs, a leader in sustainable initiatives to celebrate the possibilities of a cleaner and greener Pittsburgh.

Nina Gibbs of Most Wanted Fine Art

Nina Gibbs is an accomplished and energetic professional with more than 20 years of experience in the fast-paced arena of fundraising and community engagement across classes and cultures. Nina has a proven track record of achieving exceptional results in grant writing, individual giving, corporate giving, volunteer recruitment, and event planning. Nina and her arts organization, Most Wanted Fine Art, have been honored as a “40 under 40” by Pittsburgh magazine, “Community Development Award” from Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, “Power of Work Award” from Goodwill of Southwestern PA, and “Best Art Gallery for Local Artists” 2014-2017 by Pittsburgh City Paper readers.

Artist. Maker. Urban Farmer. Educator. Alchemist.

Josh Inklovich left a career in oil, gas, steel, and coal nine years ago to pursue a more mindful and Earth-centric path. Today, he lives a solar punk life. By day, he provides a range of plant-based experiential learning opportunities to Passport Academy Charter School students. By night, he makes music with the biodata (life energy) of plants, “paints” cast bismuth metal with electricity and lye, and expresses sacred geometric forms through various mediums. He can be found on Instagram @The_Plant_Pedaler.

Heather Harr is a co-founder of ReImagine Beaver County and Reimagine Jobs. As Project Director for the League of Women Voters of PA, Heather is a creator of the sustainable development visioning sessions held in southwest PA beginning in 2017. Heather works with everyday folks to help people change their built and natural environments and use civic engagement to increase social equity.

Kelly, Leah, Josephine, and Jason are Climate Reality's regional team of organizers. They are supporting Solarpunk Future in a logistical capacity. This team spends most of their time on Climate Reality's Petrochemical and Pollutions campaign to fight for a cleaner future in the Ohio River Valley, and coordinate a variety of green jobs programming for Reimagine Jobs.

Shaina Nicassio is the Sustainability Program Specialist for ReImagine Turtle Creek Watershed and Airshed Communities Plus, a grassroots initiative through Protect PT, League of Women Voters, and Climate Reality. She also sits on the ReImagine Jobs planning committee. Shaina was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area, but spent the last few years out west working for the National Park Service where she saw firsthand the disproportionate effects of climate change and the need for investment in sustainable development at the local level. She is excited to be back in the Pittsburgh area to advocate for a Solarpunk Future in her own and neighboring communities.

Deb serves as Director of Communications of the Breathe Project where she is managing media, marketing and messaging for more than 36 environmental organizations in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia who are members of the Breathe Collaborative. She is an award-winning editor and journalist with more than 25 years of experience in print, radio and digital media. As a reporter, she specialized in environmental issues, business, technology and healthcare features. She was the founding associate editor of NEXTpittsburgh, a popular city-based publication, and a frequent contributor to Pittsburgh Magazine and Crain’s Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Fast Company, OZY, The Washington Post and Time-Life Books. Deb grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and has lived with her family in Mt. Lebanon for the past 20 years.

Keep an eye on this page over the coming months as we continue to provide updated information!

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