SCP Arts


Metro Transit Earth Week Light Rail Installation

Left to Right: Fatoumata Jaiteh, JPST student; Mike Klein, JPST professor; Sarah Nelson, SCP Artist-in-Residence; Maria Dahmus, SCP Director; Kelly Morrell, Metro Transit. Photo by Dane Pedersen.

City Lights: Urban Experience (ENGL 203)

Students in Olga Herrera's course connect art and storytelling to convey the human experience of climate vulnerability, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Council and Sarah Nelson.

Senior Engineering Design Clinic

Senior Engineering Design Team presents their AirBooth prototype that can produce sound using air itself (Fall 2017).

Environmental Problem Solving (ESCI 310)

Students in Chip Small's course co-create a children's book about nutrient cycling with SCP Artist-in-Residence Sarah Nelson based on research in the UST Stewardship Garden.

City Lights: Urban Experience (ENGL 203)

Illustrations by SCP Artist-in-Residence Sarah Nelson, based on English students' research of stories of climate vulnerability in St. Paul, MN (Fall 2018).


The Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP) develops multi-year partnerships with cities, government entities, and on-campus initiatives to integrate partner-identified sustainability projects into St. Thomas courses across disciplines. Projects encompass ecological, social, and economic dimensions of interconnected human and ecological well-being. Students engage in real-world research and problem-solving to apply course content to advance partners’ sustainability goals and improve the quality of life in the Twin Cities.

Inspired by the transformative impacts of efforts that bridge art and sustainability, SCP created SCP Arts.  Through artist-led workshops in the classroom, the SCP Artist-in-Residence and students collaborate to translate students' SCP research into original artwork. This interaction of research and art enriches students’ investigation of the project question and findings; it challenges students to critically engage the analytical process in dialogue with a visual artist. The resulting artwork is displayed by SCP partners in their communities and beyond, bringing to life project findings for the wider community and engaging people of all ages with their sustainability goals.   


SCP Arts Installations and Exhibits


Now in its third year, SCP Arts has collaborated with partners and faculty across disciplines through a variety of course-based projects.  This year, in addition to arts-based projects with SCP partners, SCP Arts is collaborating with the CAS SOLV Initiative on a research study to examine the impacts of SCP Arts innovative pedagogies on sustainability literacy.

SCP's 2018-2020 Artist-in-Residence is St. Paul-based artist, Sarah Nelson.

Working with SCP Arts has been an incredible experience both as an artist and as an individual who is passionate about sustainability. Having the opportunity to use my skills to help students communicate research in ways that empower communities is incredibly rewarding. The process generates a final product that can be used by partners to engage communities and that equips students to speak about their findings with those outside of their field of study.

- Sarah Nelson, SCP Artist-in-Residence, 2018-2020