The Agnes Denes Award for Environmental Art

The Agnes Denes Award for Environmental Art, sponsored by New York Loves Mountains and named in honor of pioneering environmental artist Agnes Denes, will be awarded to an artist whose work has been or will be shown or performed in New York State between 2014 and 2015. This award is designed to recognize artists who are working with the intention to bring about awareness, discussion and action in response to current global, national, state or local environmental issues. This award aims to support work that goes beyond grief, anger and irony to point to sustainable alternative practices and guiding ethos in realms such as, but not limited to, urban planning, electrical systems, consumer resource use, transit, and energy politics. This award supports the idea that art is a crucial means of communication about contemporary environmental concerns in that it defies the current social tendency toward specialization at the cost of recognizing imbalances that affect all humans. This award will honor an artist who demonstrates unique vision and courage in concert with artistic skill and talent toward raising consciousness about humanity's evolution toward truly sustainable principles and practices.


Amount of Award: $2,000


Eligibility: Any artistic work shown publicly in New York State from January 2014 through July 2015. Works in all genres are eligible, including musical works (original compositions, opera, song cycles), film or video, any form of visual art, or performance (theater, dance, performance art). Please send any queries about the eligibility of a piece to


To Apply for the Award

If you would like to apply for the Agnes Denes Award for Environmental Art, please submit the following to by July 15, 2015:

-          A 300-500 word cover letter explaining the piece you’re submitting and the reason you       feel it fits the criteria for the award

-          Application Form (below)

-           For music, a photo of the performance and a 5 minute excerpt

-           For film/video, a 5 minute excerpt or clip reel

-           For visual art, a photo or photos of the piece(s)

-          For performance, 6-10 photos or a video (no more than 5 minutes in duration)   

             providing an accurate visual representation of your piece

-          A list corresponding to all images included providing title/ description of works.

-          Any relevant publicity or press surrounding the show or performance in which your              piece appeared



We also accept nominations for the award. Nominations may be emailed along with artist name, the title of the nominated work and the artist’s contact information to



The decision, made by a panel of artists with a final selection made by Agnes Denes, will be announced in October 2015.

Application Form - Agnes Denes Award
Application Form for the Agnes Denes Awa
Microsoft Word Document 28.8 KB

Selection Committee

Sarah Moon co-founded New York Loves Mountains in 2008 and has since coordinated several arts events through NYLM. This past year, she coordinated the first Holding Ground conference for environmental artists in New York City. Her play Tauris, an adaptation of Euripides' Iphegenia at Tauris on environmental themes, won Best Script for Musical or Play with Music in the 2013 Planet Connections Festivity in New York. Her work explores the possibilities of a post-technology awareness and attachment to place, considered as a totality of the structures, geographic features, humans and other living beings that occupy it. 


Phil Irish, an artist from Elora, Ontario makes paintings that are both fierce and beautiful. He teaches studio art at Redeemer University College, in Ancaster, Canada. Irish attained a BA (Guelph) and MFA (York). He has exhibited at public galleries, artist-run-centres, and commercial galleries. His new work, informed by a residency at The Banff Centre, provokes the awareness that we need to re-imagine and re-order how we live.


Alyce Santoro is a social surrealist, delicate empiricist, rhythmanalyst, atmospheric phenomenologist, and philosoprovocateur. Formally trained in marine biology and scientific illustration, Santoro set out to communicate about the wonders of science and nature, including consciousness and associated phenomena. She now refers to many of her multimedia “illustrations” as philosoprops – devices used to demonstrate a concept, spark a dialog. These pieces offer subtle and deceivingly playful critiques of the foibles of highly literal, logical, objective, and compartmentalized thinking, and suggest that by shifting some common assumptions about "the way things are" we can create a more just, healthy, and peaceful world.


Harry Newman was trained in Chemistry and Mathematics at MIT and began working with photography in the late-2000s. Since 2011, he has had a solo show at the Mulberry Library in New York and his work has been included in more than a dozen group shows at galleries around the city and the country. These include the BRIC House Gallery in Downtown Brooklyn (2015), "The City As I See It" show at The Gallery At the Watershed in Eugene, Oregon (2014), the "Earth" show at 440 Gallery, Brooklyn (2013), and two galleries as part of the citywide art event, CurateNYC (2013). His photos have been acquired for the permanent collections of arts organizations including Dave Bown Projects, Avi Gitler/Gitler & ______ Gallery, and the Williamsburg Arts and Historical Center.


Meghan Moe Beitiks is an artist working with associations and disassociations of culture/nature/structure. She analyzes perceptions of ecology though the lenses of site, history, emotions, and her own body in order to produce work that analyzes relationships with the non-human. She received her BA in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her MFA in Performance Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was a Fulbright Student Fellow, a recipient of the Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists, and a MacDowell Colony fellow. 


About Agnes Denes

A primary figure among the concept-based artists who emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, Agnes Denes is internationally known for works created in a wide range of mediums. Investigating science, philosophy, linguistics, psychology, poetry, history, and music, Denes's artistic practice is distinctive in terms of its aesthetics and engagement with socio-political ideas. As a pioneer of environmental art, she created Rice/Tree/Burial in 1968 in Sullivan County, New York which, according to the renowned art historian and curator Peter Selz, was "…the first large scale site-specific piece anywhere with ecological concerns."

Her work Wheatfield – A Confrontation, which the scholar and curator Jeffrey Weiss has called "perpetually astonishing . . . one of Land Art's great transgressive masterpieces" (Artforum, September 2008), is perhaps Denes's best-known work. It was created during a four-month period in the spring and summer of 1982 when Denes planted a field of golden wheat on two acres of rubble-strewn landfill near Wall Street and the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan (now the site of Battery Park City and the World Financial Center). Wheatfield is almost better known than the forests Agnes has planted in other parts of the world. The largest reclamation site in the world, Tree Mountain—A Living Time Capsule, of 11,000 trees is a 400-year project to create the world’s first manmade virgin forest. Other forest work includes A Forest for Australia, of 8000 trees in Melbourne, and a new forest she is in the process of creating for New York City. Her forests clean the air by absorbing carbon emissions, and clean fresh water for Earth’s growing population.

Works by Agnes Denes are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Centre Pompidou in Paris; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Kunsthalle Nürnberg and many other major institutions worldwide.

She has received numerous honors and awards including four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and four grants from the New York State Council on the Arts; the DAAD Fellowship, Berlin, Germany (1978); the American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award (1985); M.I.T's highly prestigious Eugene McDermott Achievement Award "In Recognition of Major Contribution to the Arts" (1990); the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome (1998); the Watson Trans-disciplinary Art Award from Carnegie Mellon University (1999); the Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2007); and the Ambassador's Award for Cultural Diplomacy for Strengthening the Friendship between the US and the Republic of Hungary through Excellence in Contemporary Art (2008). She lectures extensively worldwide and speaks at global conferences.

Denes is the author of six books and is featured in numerous other publications on a wide range of subjects in art and the environment, including the recent Eco-Amazons: 20 Women Who are Transforming the World.She is currently in the process of planting 50,000 trees in New York City. A flowering pyramid she created at Socrates Park, also in New York, reminding us of the dynamics of nature, opened in April 2015. Her exhibition “In the Realm of Pyramids: The Visual Philosophy of Agnes Denes” showed at the Leslie Tonkonow Gallery in Manhattan in spring 2015.