Time/lesss, Kappy Wells on Warming

By Shireen Afkari

Visual artist and sculptor Kappy Wells, The San Francisco Gallery, and Tides are coming together in a unique partnership this September to draw attention to the devastating effects of climate change and to support three environmental organizations. The public opening reception to Time/lesss, Kappy Wells on Warming, on Wednesday, September 2, from 5-7 pm,  kicks off a month-long show of beautifully created works of art that also tell the story of the glaciers slowly disappearing. Proceeds from art sales will be divided evenly in thirds between the artist, the gallery, and Tides, with the Tides portion distributed among two of its fiscally sponsored projects — Rivers Without Borders and California Environmental Justice Alliance — and a grantee — EcoViva.


Using sheetrock, charcoal, and a matte knife, Wells has drawn and carved visually astounding images of calving Greenland glaciers, which she witnessed on a trip last year with her son and two University of California scientists. As Wells and the rest of her crew weaved in a small boat through the vast, transient glaciers on a foggy, sub-zero morning, Wells realized how much the universe had outdone itself by creating these glacial masterpieces. Her feelings of fear and sadness, observing the melting of the ice at drastic and unprecedented rates, were coupled with incredible awe. She started drawing the glaciers for herself, trying to recreate the feeling of being there. She then decided to reconstruct the glaciers by carving out sheetrock, choosing this medium with the belief that archival material was inappropriate given the shortening lifespan of glaciers.

Wells wanted to display her artwork in the hope that it would help build awareness about climate change. She approached The San Francisco Gallery about exhibiting her work and Tides about identifying allied nonprofit organizations working on climate change.  The show quickly came together. The opening, which will include Wells, guest speakers, and footage of the Greenland glaciers taken by Samuel Mott, is open to the public to enjoy these works and learn more about what we can do to reduce climate change.

About the Artist

Kappy Wells comes from a long lineage of artists; her parents and grandmothers were artists. After two years of art school at Philadelphia College of Art, Wells moved to Italy to study with the famous Cubist sculptor, Jacques Lipchitz. Wells has created art of various media, including an array of bronzes and drawings. Her artwork is displayed throughout the world.  She has also contributed numerous illustrations for magazines, co-authored Sandtiquity with her father and Connie Simo, and just completed a new book, Gravitas, with Daniel Barsotti. Gravitas is about death, and in particular, the deaths of her parents.

About The San Francisco Gallery

The San Francisco Gallery, established in 2014, welcomes passionate and productive mid-career artists. As the role of art is changing in the highly digitalized world, this has become a hard time for even the most motivated and highly-trained artists. The San Francisco Gallery seeks to represent and create a platform for artists who offer more perspective insight on contemporary art.

About Tides

Tides is a foundation and nonprofit partner committed to building a world of shared prosperity and social justice. Founded in 1976, Tides accelerates the pace of social change, working with innovative partners to solve society’s toughest problems. Tides focuses on equality and human rights, sustainable environment, healthy individuals and communities, and quality education. Tides’ services include charitable giving and grant-making (through donor-advised funds and other charitable vehicles), fiscal sponsorship of mission-aligned social ventures, and collaborative work spaces in San Francisco and New York City.

Rivers Without Borders raises awareness of the extraordinary ecological and cultural values of the spectacular trans-boundary watersheds of northwest British Columbia and southeast Alaska and promotes stewardship safeguarding those values.  In a time of accelerating climate change, dwindling salmon runs, and biodiversity loss, the remote and still virtually pristine trans-boundary watersheds collectively embody one of North America’s premier biological refugias. Mining and energy development on a massive scale is now targeting the Canadian headwaters.  Working with First Nations, Alaska tribes, commercial fishermen, scientists, businesses, and other NGOs, Rivers Without Borders is calling for international, ecosystem-based planning and decision-making regarding the future of the wild trans-boundary watersheds.

California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) is a statewide coalition of grassroots environmental justice organizations working to achieve environmental justice by organizing in low-income communities and communities of color – those most impacted by environmental hazards – and by pushing for policies at the state, regional, and local levels that protect public health and the environment. CEJA engages constituencies that have traditionally been locked out of environmental policy-making and works to build the collective voice and power to fight climate change and environmental justice.

EcoViva supports environmental sustainability, social justice, economic development, and peace for communities in Central America. EcoViva works with communities to help them implement their own local initiatives and advocate for more just social and environmental policies. By providing assistance with financial support and ongoing access to technical expertise, EcoViva supports an ongoing process of local democracy, sustainable community development, and effective policy advocacy.

We invite you to attend the September 2 opening. So we can get a rough idea of attendance, we’d appreciate it if you could RSVP.  Thanks!