Cloud forest in Guatemala conserved with the support of Hauser & Wirth donation. Photo: Dr. Christopher Jordan/Global Wildlife Conservation

Art for Acres: Supporting Rainforest Conservation

29 January 2020

Hauser & Wirth is proud to support Art for Acres, an initiative for artists, gallerists and collectors with a mission to support large-scale land conservation. In partnership with environmental non-profit Global Wildlife Conservation, which has matched the donation, the gallery’s contribution will conserve 3,200 acres of cloud forest in Central America.

Art for Acres is an initiative built within the art community and has worked with a range of renowned contemporary artists to date, including George Condo, Rashid Johnson and Mika Rottenberg. Since receiving its first support from the philanthropist, arts patron and President Emerita of the Museum of Modern Art, Agnes Gund, the initiative has raised US $36 million from donations and matching funds in the past year to make a positive impact on climate, biodiversity and irreplaceable ecosystems.

Founder of Art for Acres, artist Haley Mellin, explains, ‘Large-scale land conservation is one of the top three tools to balancing the climate. Tropical forests are not only a proven method to stabilizing the climate, they are also one of the most dependable and affordable methods. We need to conserve 30% of the earth’s surface by 2030 for humanity to continue to thrive; currently we are around 16%. Art for Acres works closely with artists, galleries and collectors in fulfilling their interest verbatim, and doing so in a discreet manner with respected global conservation and matching fund partners.’

‘Art and land conservation are about legacy—what we decide to make important and leave behind.’—Haley Mellin, Art for Acres

This cloud forest in Guatemala is on a limestone mountain spanning from 2,000 to 8,000 feet in height, ideal for increasing temperatures brought on by climate change as species can shift ranges to higher elevations. Photo: Dr. Christopher Jordan/Global Wildlife Conservation

‘Art for Acres extends the relationship between art and conservation, from human-made objects to cloud forests and ecosystems,’ says Argentina-born artist Mika Rottenberg, who has worked with Art for Acres recently in conserving tropical forest to offset the production of her current exhibition at MCA Chicago. The areas are selected based on permanence, scale, local community support and carbon sequestration, and include long-term management, such as ranger and research presence.

Recent support has included the conservation of tropical and temperate forests in Guatemala, Belize, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Suriname and the United States. The rainforest acreage conserved by Hauser & Wirth is part of the last large, unpreserved cloud forest in northern Central America—in the top 5% of forests globally for carbon sequestration—home to Mexican Elm trees spanning 10 feet in diameter and 160 feet in height, and more than 700 bird species.

‘These forests provide a home to countless plants, animals, and traditional and indigenous communities, while sustaining a vibrant planet.’—Dr. Don Church, Global Wildlife Conservation

‘Cloud forests grow across much of the tropics where mountains rise above 1,000 meters,’ says Dr. Don Church, president of Global Wildlife Conservation. ‘Here, warm air that rises from the lowlands condenses into fog that shrouds the highlands. This mist is absorbed by the hanging lichens and mosses. Whereas rains are highly seasonal, these ‘sky sponges’ feed the waterways of the tropics every day of the year.

This has profound implications for maintaining an unparalleled diversity of life in the tropics, both at high and low elevations.’ Hauser and Wirth is committed to supporting sustainability and long term conservation initiatives. Art for Acres connects art and the important work of conserving the vast array of plants, animals and ecosystems that are integral to the health of the planet.

‘Art and land conservation are about legacy—what we decide to make important and leave behind,’ says Haley Mellin. ‘While an artwork is a visual of a moment in time, a wild place is the visual of all time compounded.’ – To learn more about conservation practices, visit Global Wildlife Conservation. For more information or to conserve acreage, contact Art for Acres.