College of Architecture, Art and Construction

Clemson faculty art sets the mood in ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ movie


The artwork of Todd Anderson, Associate Professor of Art at Clemson University, will make an appearance on the sets of the new Universal Pictures film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, “Dear Evan Hansen.”

“His work was so beautiful, I loved every single thing about it,” said Lauren Adams Jones, who purchased set decoration for the film. “The somber nature of the pieces was good for the movie, because it does have sort of a somber nature.”

The artwork in the film is from a set of prints Anderson created for the The Last Glacier project, which chronicles the retreat of glaciers in U.S. national parks due to climate change. Along with Old Main Gallery in Bozeman, Montana and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Mezzanine Gallery Store in New York City, Anderson’s work is currently on display at Kai Lin Art in Atlanta, which is where the connection to the movie was made.

“Because Georgia has become the Hollywood—‘Ya’llywood’—of the South, we have been fortunate to work with set decorators and art/prop departments to source, place and clear artworks for film and television,” said Yu-Kai Lin, owner of Kai Lin Art.

Lin said a total of five of Anderson’ pieces were selected for inclusion in the film: one woodcut, two jigsaw reductive woodcuts and two photopolymer gravure works on Japanese washi (paper).

Where to look

When asked about the connection between his art’s subject and the film, Anderson downplayed the connection (“most likely it’s just nice texture and nice colors,” he said). But according to Adams Jones, Anderson’s art was chosen because has a direct connection to the title character.

Left: Anderson’s photopolymer gravure of Moomaw Glacier at Rocky Mountain National Park on display at Kai Lin Gallery. Center: Set photo courtesy of Lauren Adams Jones. Right: Screenshot of a scene from the movie included in the “Only Us” music video. Anderson’s art is visible in the top right corner.

“Evan Hansen is very much into parks and conservation, that’s one of this biggest character points,” she said. “A bunch of the pieces are in Evan’s bedroom, which is really exciting because that’s a major set.” Anderson’s art also appears on the set for the house of the Murphy family, which includes several major characters. 

“Because of the actual content of the pieces, it really was just the perfect fit,” Adams Jones said. 

Big picture

For Anderson, every opportunity for the art’s exposure serves the purpose of his project, which was motivated by his ongoing research on glacial retreat and the global climate crisis, which began in 2009 at Glacier National Park in Montana.

“Taylor Glacier,” a framed woodcut print on Okawara Washi paper, is one of five pieces of Anderson’s art included in the sets of “Dear Evan Hansen.” Photo courtesy of Kai Lin Art.

When asked about Glacier National Park’s last glaciers, “I learned that indeed these glaciers are going to cease to exist in that park by around 2030, well within my lifetime,” Anderson explained. “I felt not only affected by this, but self-indicted. So that’s when I decided this is what I need to do. I decided to make climate crisis the centerpiece of my work.”

Raising awareness of climate change is the reason behind The Last Glacier project, and that purpose informs and aligns with Anderson’s choice of medium.

“The reason I’m a printmaker is that it’s an egalitarian form of making art,” Anderson said. “It’s more affordable, and then my art goes more quickly out into the world. It’s really a great way of getting your artwork shown in front of a lot of people.”

“Dear Evan Hansen” premieres in theaters September 24. To learn more about the movie, visit

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