Making a statement about the environment can be about more than planting trees – it can also come in the form of community art.
As part of a partnership with The Conservation Fund, Volkswagen commissioned Steffi Lynn, a Brooklyn and Austin-based artist, designer and illustrator who uses whimsy, color and character to create playful murals with positive messages, to create a one-of-a-kind mural in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The vibrant mural, located on the side of a local Chattanooga business, promotes environmental conservation and activism, and features the uplifting message “change starts in your own backyard.”
“Volkswagen is a brand that I’m proud to collaborate with because I think they really care about being accessible to everyone and more sustainable,” said Lynn. “They care about the community and the world. And I care about the community and the world, which made a perfect collaboration.”
Lynn found inspiration for the mural in the flora and fauna she encountered on a trip to Cherokee National Forest. Within her mural, she incorporated leaves and florals including four flowers that are native to Cherokee National Park. When creating the mural Lynn wanted to “recreate the peaceful feeling of the forest,” so when people looked at it, it was like a “deep breath and a piece of nature in the city.”
Volkswagen sent Lynn to the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee as part of a partnership announced in 2019 with The Conservation Fund, which helps fight climate change and protects forests in the United States. Through this partnership, Volkswagen has donated $1.25 million to The Conservation Fund, which will use a portion of the funds to increase the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee by roughly 1,500 acres.
In addition to supporting land conservation, $200,000 of Volkswagen’s donation has been allocated to a community grant program to help preserve and protect natural resources in Tennessee that support the state’s environmental objectives and goals.
For Lynn, the nature-inspired mural in Chattanooga is a way to remind the community to take steps to make choices that positively impact those around them.
“The mural reminds people that they can make a bigger impact in their community, world, and can relay the message to change other people’s minds and make a meaningful difference,” said Lynn.