Lately I’ve been contending with what feels like two different sides of my practice. Wait, scratch that.
Contending with what other people frame as the two sides of my practice. I’m either the silly, crazy public artist whose work delights, unites and ameliorates–or the social justice warrior who dares to confront the public with challenging issues. Justice and joy are not different sensibilities. They emerge similarly from a longing for liberatory internal and external space. Liberation leads to justice and to joy.
I am an entrepreneurial civic artist, cultural producer, writer, communications strategist and public space lover passionate about engagement that dissolves barriers. My work reimagines public spaces to enact social change. I currently serve as the Arts & Culture Fellow at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council of Boston while I pursue my Masters of Design in Art, Design & the Public Domain at Harvard University. Previous to relocating to Cambridge, I served as the inaugural Arts & Culture Outreach Associate at Transportation for America where I co-wrote a national field scan on arts, culture and transportation commissioned by ArtPlace America. From 2011 through 2016, I lived and worked in St. Louis, MO as a social practice artist and creative community organizer, and have had the joy of working all throughout the nation, as well as El Salvador, Spain and Berlin.
I serve as the Founding Director of STL Improv Anywhere, a guerrilla performance collective disrupting public spaces with joy and mischief. I am also Co-Creator of Building as Body, The Poetree Project, #ChalkedUnarmed, and produce annual city-wide events–like the No Pants Metrolink Ride and International Pillow Fight Day. I sit on the board of the Midwest Artist Projects Services. My work has been supported by the Regional Arts Commission, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, Marfa Dialogues, the City of St. Louis, and more. As a writer, I have published in Hyperallergic, Temporary Art Review, Public Art Review, Surface Design Journal, Art Animal Magazine, Riverfront Times, The Mantle, FEAST Magazine, Alive Magazine and more. I serve as a member of the national Placemaking Leadership Council for Projects for Public Spaces, and formerly served on the Next City Advisory Committee. I speak regularly on the topics of public art, social practice and social justice.
PROJECT & COMMUNITY PARTNER
This semester I plan to work with my fellowship team at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and the community of Natick, Massachusetts, led by Natick Center Associates. MAPC has been tasked with supporting the town of Natick as they think through the redevelopment of their city center. I’d like to try to encourage the stakeholders in Natick to really dig in and use art and culture not just to be the cherry on top, but to help confront and address ongoing challenges in their region. Also involved in this project are partners Americans for the Arts (AFTA) and the American Planning Association (APA), who will be providing support and evaluation recommendations. APA hopes to learn from this process to be able to begin to build a model for replicated curriculum and processes.
I this class, I’d like to work on uniting administrative and creative practices into one muscle. I am frequently asked to do or be just one or the other, but I think the binary is destructive, so I’d love to practice inhabiting it all at once in this class.
Another learning goal includes gaining better insight into how to leverage technology and media in my practice. Next I’d like to gain more fluency in these technologies and media to be able to incorporate them into my practice without necessarily needing a collaborating. These media include video, code, projection, apps, and whatever else makes sense for these emergent contexts.
I’d also like to spend more time thinking about the nucleus from where justice/joy emerge and how to bring people into that space through my practice.