Dear Friends, Supporters, Comrades and Colleagues:
Another school year is now coming to an end and as promised I am keeping you up to date on what Social Practice Queens (SPQ) has been up to these past few months. Here are a few highlights:
Perhaps the most outstanding good news is that Queens College President Felix Matos granted us a rare, diversity “targeted hire” so that artist Chloë Bass (who was my sabbatical year substitute in 2016) is now a Full Time faculty in the Art Dept. (more about Chloë is here: CLICK). Active with BLM as well as an emerging performance and conceptual artist of note, Chloë brings a very high level of commitment and rigor to our art and social justice agenda.
SPQ was also the recipient of the first round of Social Justice grants from The Shelly & Donald Rubin Foundation, and was refunded again in the current year. We also received funding from the Vilcek Foundation to support non-US based students of which we have several including candidates from Iran, S. Korea, Ecuador, Kenya, and Bangladesh (See: SPQ STUDENTS). These funds also permitted us to hire graduating SPQ MFA student Jeff Kasper as our Administrative Assistant whose graduating exhibition researching the social and bodily experience of LGBTQI people of color may be one of the very best thesis shows I have see in my ten years at Queens College (Jeff Kasper: Intimate Distance) illustrated below:
Right after the horrific presidential (dis)orders banning people from certain nations SPQ launched a new, 2-semester long “Certificate in Critical Social Practice” that allowed recently graduated Iranian visa holder Setare S Arashloo to remain in the US. She is now our first certificate student. Its too soon to really gage the ultimate outcome of this initiative, though we have high hopes that it will really prove useful to the field of art and social justice. Please spread the word about the new degree.
Finally, Chloë, Jeff and I with the assistance of Paloma Checa-Gismero are now busy at work on a social art and justice textbook entitled ART AS SOCIAL ACTION which offers both a general introduction to the concept of socially engaged art, but also a series of illustrated concrete lesson plans for practical use in the classroom by educators at both the college and high school level that engage with such real-world issues as labor rights, environmental justice, urban policy, the rights of women and girls, inequality, migrant’s rights, Black Lives Matter, the rights of prisoner’s rights. Among the contributors to the book including among many others Mary Jane Jacob, Pablo Helguera, Pedro Lasch, Jaishri Abichandani, Beverly Naidus, Jen De los Reyes, Maureen Connor, Noah Fischer, Dipti Desi, and Daniel Tucker. We also have lesson plans from art and social justice practitioners in Ireland, England, Hong Kong, Mexico, Argentina, Russia and the Netherlands among other countries.