Allida Warn is an artist, teacher, and researcher with a practice in Socially Engaged Art (SEA). She creates participatory projects in order to share and learn with others. She loves the ephemeral and the interconnected. She creates contemplative personal work primarily in the disciplines of printmaking, fiber, and non-traditional materials. Allida’s SEA practices range through most artistic media and bridge academic disciplines through collaborations that she cultivates with disciplinary experts from anthropology and geology to engineering and math.

Songs to Urban Ecology

The first song to Urban Ecology for Wonderfool Productions “FOOLmoon reIMAGINEd” on April 3, 2020

Climate change is an issue that directly impacts equity, and environmental justice world wide.  Wealthy nations and communities have the resources to anticipate and act on behalf not only of themselves, but of the rest of the planet, but too often they ignore the urgency of the issue because it is inconvenient to the bottom line. In this moment, with a pandemic influencing the globe, it is clearer than ever that our mutual fates are intertwined, and that collective action is necessary, not just to prevent harm to the vulnerable, but to create beauty and connection for all. 

The core inspiration for this project came from a recent encounter I had with a group of Finnish educators at the Next Wave Summit last October in Boston, hosted by the Center for Artistry and Scholarship. Their presentation at Next Wave was titled : “Everything Has to Change and it Has to Change Right Now: Sustainability in the Finnish Education System,” and they also shared this book you can download for free edited by Justin Cook of the Center for Complexity at RISD.  The presentation started with an introduction by the former director of the Finnish National Curriculum who said: 

“When I started out in the office here, I remembered the love I felt when my grandparents would read to me, and I thought, I want every Finnish child to feel that love and support while they learn.”

Irmeli Halinen, retired Head of Curriculum and Development, Finland

As an artist, my Finnish cultural heritage influences my understanding of getting by by making do.  My mother and grandmother taught me how to re-use everything from cutting down clothes and creating rag-rugs, to darning socks and coming up with inventive ways to use old plastic bags.  I have always worked with re-purposed and re-cycled materials both because of these habits, and because the impact of seeing everyday objects in new forms raises awareness of our cultural associations. I’ve re-purposed construction materials to create wearables and decorative home objects. 

It almost made me cry, because my grandparents– both the Finnish ones and the others– used to read to me and were all strong advocates for empathetic supportive education as central to civic agency.  Their model has inspired me as an educator and an artist to cut through my own identity and privilege to find common ground with people across cultural, class, race, and disability. It makes me passionate about elevating the voices and ideas of the communities I have served as an artist and and educator.  

In my work, I endeavor to love every student, and hear what they have to say because we are all one, and the multiple points of crisis our world is facing right now makes that clearer than ever.

This project was originally created inside a portable tent cinema full of transparencies with the idea that I would bring this project around the world, packed into a market tent. I do hope to bring the project around the world in a tent.

Even though the first virtual event has passed, you are still invited to participate in this project, and create your own shadow-puppet cinema! Join in with your own sound effects and puppet-stories, or with a photo from your window where you are staying at home by commenting or emailing

The collected works that you share will be used to create another clip in this series, possibly “Lullaby for Empty Cities.” The next work already in progress will most likely be titled “Fugue for The Cathedral of M-14,” one of my favorite natural urban sites in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


ABC Segovia

Posted on Jun 28th, 2009 By Allida 0 Comments

To see the video, click here or on the photo above* This project was done with three little girls, a family with whom I went on a vacation.  They…

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Itsy Bitsy Spider Projects

Posted on Jul 4th, 2009 - By Allida - 0 Comments

This is a lesson which I prepared to teach EFL students in Spain.  In it they practice numbers, learn to indicate up and down, practice the weather,…

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Fractal Collars

Posted on Mar 5th, 2012 - By Allida - 0 Comments

Last weekend, I had an extraordinary experience.  At the College Arts Association Conference, I met several people through my Fractal Necklaces.…

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Red and white exercise on symmetry and mirroring


Posted on Jun 10th, 2012 - By Allida - 0 Comments

This week I was digging through some old image files for one reason and another.  This one stood out as something interesting. It was done…

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Goings On About Town

Posted on Jun 5th, 2013 - By Allida - 1 Comment

Though my drawing a day project has once again fizzled, I have in fact been making art nearly every day.  When I started the project, my…

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Collaborative and Social Projects

There is a tension in creating socially engaged work between breaking through boundaries and creating connections between people so that they gain critical awareness of differences that create dissonant systems.

In my work, I tend to create opportunities for learning through imaginative narrative or metaphorical abstraction. The piece above leverages the metaphor of weaving with different choices, textures, and motions to create a literal social fabric.

UNTIED-UNITED: Stronger Together

Posted on Dec 14th, 2016 - By Allida - 0 Comments

FLY’s weekend was inspiring and magical.  We made a web of interconnectedness at DIYpsi, which we titled “Untied-United.”  It’s now…

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In-between Thoughts

Posted on Oct 8th, 2019 - By Allida - 0 Comments

Art is a necessary part of my life. The process of putting pencil to paper or looping needle and yarn help me process my thoughts and feelings…

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Social Distance Drawing

Posted on Mar 19th, 2020 - By Allida - 0 Comments

Doodling is a great way to get things off of your mind, and right now, there are a lot of things on everyone's minds. In order to doodle with my…

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A red photo album on my colorful concentric circle rag rug in my apartment in Boston.

On the Journey: But What About the Leaves

Posted on Mar 23rd, 2020 - By Allida - 0 Comments

When I was visiting my father over winter break, I unearthed documentation of artwork that I did twenty years ago.  It is funny to think of…

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