“In Bruguera’s world, concepts like freedom, liberty and self-determination are not abstract ideals, but achievements that write their effects on our physical forms.” (Eleanor Heartney, Art in America)
Meet 2014 Creative Time Summit: Stockholm presenter Tania Bruguera! Frequently using performance, installation, and tactics of community organizing, Bruguera’s long-term projects often expose the social effects of the power of political force. Initiated a few years ago in partnership with Creative Time and Queens Museum, Bruguera’s ongoing project Immigrant Movement International has developed into an art based socio-political movement, engaging and uniting local and international communities around the central issue of immigration reform.
We’ve fielded many questions regarding the Community Engagement Opportunity. Below are some of the frequently asked questions and their answers.
The deadline for submissions for this opportunity is Wednesday October 1, 2014.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the timeline for this opportunity so short?
We want to initiate this project as quickly as possible. The reason for the short time frame is that we plan to use what is learned through this project in several communities starting April 1, 2015.
Why is crowdfunding a required component of this project?
The purpose of including a crowdfunding element to this project is to acknowledge the fact that many, if not most, public art programs are challenged by limited financial resources. In order for them to catalog public artworks and connect with community members, they often need to secure funds beyond their operating budgets. The highly public nature of public art creates a nexus that should support crowdfunding. This project seeks to test that theory. Also, crowdfunding for a public art projects initiates the process of educating stakeholders and the public about the costs of maintaining a public art collection.
What can the $10,000 in award funds be used for?
Every community has unique challenges and goals. To support the broad range of issues that this project hopes to address, the awarded funds may be used to purchase anything that is required to accomplish the goal. WESTAF is paying the selected party $10,000 to operate a crowdfunding campaign, manage a crowdsourcing effort related to public art in a defined community, and provide a report that allows the successful efforts to be emulated by others. Examples of potential expenses of this project are: a) paying a project manager to lead the effort, b) purchase of equipment and/or supplies, and c) paying for professional scanning of ephemera such as slides, images, and documents. Using the funds as prizes for participants, to purchase marketing materials or sponsorship support are also appropriate. Retaining unspent monies from the award is also acceptable! Please remember to explain how you intend to use the funds in your application.
Can you offer some examples of community engagement efforts?
The ways in which a public art program might connect with local community members are various and often specific to that locale. Some examples include:
Develop an after school program for high school students to teach them about public art and photography. The students could create a scavenger hunt for their friends to seek out public art in their neighborhoods.
Partner with members of a local amateur camera club and provide a guided tour of the public art collection while they photograph the works. The camera club could host a competition to identify and make an award to the club member who takes the best photos of each work.
Work with a local business district and/or convention and visitors bureau to create a hashtag contest.
- Produce a marketing campaign to collect images from visitors of local public artworks.
Check out this interview with filmmaker and media educator Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz! Aggie was NAMAC’s Program and Communications Director from August 2012 through August 2014, she is currently a filmmaker-in-residence at Interlochen Arts Academy.
What have you been up to since leaving NAMAC?
I am currently living in Interlochen, Michigan as Filmmaker-in-Residence at Interlochen Arts Academy.
Interlochen is many wonderful things, including an arts boarding school for advanced and exceptionally dedicated students in music, dance, creative writing, theater, visual arts, and of course film. I’m housed in the Motion Picture Arts Department and am teaching a class in post-production, advising students, working with the stellar faculty to help guide students’ thesis projects, and I also have some time to focus on my own work.
I’ll be at Interlochen through December. From here, I will move into a Visiting Assistant Professor position for the spring of 2015, teaching Documentary Research & Experiments in Documentary Form. And between now and then, I’ll be applying to full-time academic positions that begin fall semester of 2015.
Now that NAMAC’s less on your mind, what kinds of things have you been thinking about?
I wouldn’t say NAMAC is less on my mind. As a documentary filmmaker and educator, what I learned at NAMAC is daily relevant. Through the vantage point I had at NAMAC, through daily conversations with the encyclopedic mind of Jack Walsh, and building upon my education at Temple University and what I learned through membership in the Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association, I am now well aware of emerging trends and leading voices in the documentary landscape across production, distribution, community engagement, funding, policy issues, and more. As an educator, I can share this information with my students so that they understand themselves as not just students, but as media professionals entering an industry. That is, I can share with my students more than just mutable information; I can share with them a methodology for continuing education about their profession: how can they stay abreast of current trends? Why is it important to do so? How will legislative actions continue to influence their work, and what can they do about it? I learned all of this through my work at NAMAC and it will influence my work for as long as I’m in this field.
In addition, much of my focus at NAMAC was in strengthening national ties within the youth media sector and promoting the visibility of this important work. Now that I’m at Interlochen, I am continuing to build my understanding of youth media through my daily work as a teaching artist. I am optimistic that this experience will add great value to what I can contribute to the National Youth Media Network.
Which reminds me: Every year, Interlochen hosts a youth-centered film festival, the Future of Cinema Film Festival. Young people from all over the country submit and if accepted, many of them attend in person to meet the faculty here and visiting professional filmmakers. I’d love to see a strong youth media voice in the Festival program. It’s free to apply and a good networking opportunity for students who are able to attend in person. Just something for youth media orgs to keep on your radars for next year!
What’s different about life where you are now?
It’s certainly much colder. I don’t ride a subway, don’t see anyone with Google Glass, and while the coffee is refreshingly, reasonably priced, I can’t find a good avocado.
I guess the biggest difference is that I’m here to be a filmmaker and educator. That’s my daily responsibility. And I get to do that among a faculty supportive of my work, a student body immersed in their craft, and an environment carefully designed to encourage reflection, diligence, and production. All of this motivates me to make time daily for my own work, which is something I’ve always had a hard time doing. So I guess the biggest difference is that here, for these few months, I’m honoring my need for creative space and for the nurturing of my voice.
What are you hoping to accomplish in your new position?
Ideally, I’d like to reinforce my relationship to my voice as a storyteller / writer / filmmaker, while also preparing myself for a full-time teaching position at the college level. At the same time, I know that we are living in an unstable time. Change, in the words of a NAMAC 2013 Regional Gathering attendee, is the new constant, and that applies as much to the academy as anywhere else. While the academy used to be a relatively linear career path—you study for years, make work, and land a job—nothing is very linear anymore for people in the arts and humanities. I’ve been intrigued by the latest issue of Imagining America’s journal, Public, which explores how people are adapting to this shift.The issue asks: What alternatives to single-discipline job trajectories do public scholars, artists, and designers find and generate? What are ways of applying knowledge and skills associated with one arena to something else?
So that’s all to say, I am hopeful that my residency will be a rich time to reflect on my voice as an artist and educator, preparing me for a full-time academic position. At the same time, I want to stay open and adaptive, seeking the most fruitful way, whatever it may be, to apply my talents, knowledge, and skills towards socially conscious storytelling.
What will you miss most about NAMAC?
The people. I miss daily the community of media artists, media educators, nonprofit visionaries, advocates and allies with whom I was fortunate enough to intersect. I miss the thirty-minute phone call to work on one paragraph in a grant report. Miss those first few minutes of every conference call where we caught up with each other’s lives and weather conditions. And I miss the joy of developing new partnerships, visioning the field at its best, and taking what steps available to hold space for independent media and media education to flourish. I do hope to stay in touch with many people in the NAMAC family. I can be reached via email at aggie.ebrahimi [at] gmail and on Twitter @agg_star.
A Columbia University student who says she was raped in her dorm room on campus is launching a performance art piece to call attention to her experience as well as the larger epidemic of sexual assault at US colleges. Emma Sulkowicz, now a senior majoring in visual arts, will carry a dorm room mattress with her everywhere she goes “for as long as I attend the same school as my rapist,” she told the Columbia Spectator. “The piece could potentially take a day, or it could go on until I graduate.”
Such a powerful project…
Who’s doing innovative community-engaged art in your community? Let us know, drop us a line, we’ll be happy to showcase any cool projects you tell us about and interview the folks involved! firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep reading this great series on social practice art in Omaha!
A masked likeness of David H. Koch argued with protestors outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday evening. It shouted: “Get away from me! I own you! I own this place! I own a great portion of the resources of the earth!”
A protestor countered: “He doesn’t own me, he doesn’t own you! He doesn’t own this plaza!”
The fiery exchange was one episode in a multipart action staged by Occupy Museums in protest of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s newly renovated David H. Koch plaza. Koch, a Met trustee and a donor to conservative causes, single-handedly donated the $65 million to redesign and renovate the plaza.
This is a really cool and political public art intervention!
Happy birthday to Mark Dion! To celebrate, here are images of his Urban Wildlife Observation center, full of specimens, reference materials, and equipment. For Public Art Fund’s Target Art in the Park in 2002, Dion consulted with local park rangers and biologists to highlight the wide variety of overlooked fauna and flora in Madison Square Park.
Photo credit: Aaron Diskin
Otabenga Jones & Associates aim to preserve and promote the core principles of the Black radical tradition, and—in the words of the late O’Shea Jackson— work to “OPEN THE EYES OF EACH!!!” The collective is collaborating with the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium to produce a temporary outdoor radio station that will broadcast live from the back of a pink 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. Broadcasts will pay tribute to former Bed-Stuy cultural center “the East,” founded in 1969 a hub for creating cultural awareness around the Black Nationalism and pan-Africanist movements.
Learn more about Funk, God, Jazz & Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn.