2011-12 Fellowship Program

The applications for the Emerging Arts Professionals 2011-2012 Fellowship are now closed. Thank you for your interest in EAP and the Fellowship! We encourage you to sign up on the mailing list and check the website regularly for updates about our upcoming events, mixers and networking opportunities! If you have any questions or would like to be put on a list for next year’s Fellowship applications, please contact chidac@gmail.com.

Smell – Friday First Series


Join Emerging Arts Professionals for Smell, the final event in the Friday First Mixer Series. EAP wraps up the series with Smell, a lively scavenger hunt in search for aromatics and edibles around Hayes Valley Farm.
Use your nose and pass the “scent test” of different herbs around the farm; use your findings to fire a pizza on Hayes Valley Farm’s own wood oven. Afterwards, wind down and socialize at the Orbit Room, a neighborhood bar known for artisan cocktails and a lively atmosphere. Join us June 10 and don’t miss the last mixer of the series.

SMELL: EAP Friday First Mixer
Please RSVP here: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1756478675

Friday, June 10, 2011
5:30pm @ Hayes Valley Farm 7:30 @ Orbit Room

Hayes Valley Farm @ 5:30pm
http://www.hayesvalleyfarm.com/
450 Laguna St. (at Fell)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Neighborhood: Hayes Valley

Orbit Room @ 7:30pm
1900 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Questions? contact nextgenerationsf@gmail.com
Other things to note: Please RSVP and arrive on time to take part in the pizza making. We will provide a limited amount of pizza dough, so please be prepared to share.

 

Taste – Friday Firsts Mixer

TASTE – Friday Firsts Mixer
May 27, 2011 5pm @ Straw in Hayes Valley
http://strawsf.com/
203 Octavia Blvd
(between Page St & Lily St)
San Francisco, CA 94102

RSVP Here

Emerging Arts Professionals invites you toTaste, the fourth event in the Friday Firsts series. Inspired by Brooklyn’s FEAST, Taste will amuse your taste buds and generate funding for a creative project through a community style dinner and art competition at Straw, a carnival themed restaurant.  Join us for some carnival fare as we share food and opinions; enjoy Straw’s tasty menu, vote for your favorite local artist and support emerging arts! **

Mark your calendars! There is only one more mixer left in the series.  Join us for Smell @ Hayes Valley Farm next June

Stay tuned for upcoming Friday Firsts, a truly unique networking experience incorporating Smell and Taste. Friday Firsts is a networking series designed for arts and culture workers in the Bay Area. Emerging Arts Professionals/SFBA is a network focused on empowerment, leadership, and growth of next generation arts and culture workers in the San Francisco Bay Area through knowledge sharing, learning opportunities, and partnerships. By supporting today’s emerging models and mindsets, we hope to generate a path for individuals’ meaningful and sustainable work and to stimulate a vibrant, integrated, and evolving arts and culture sector. www.emergingsf.org

*We have 24 spots reserved, please RSVP and arrive on time. Late comers will not be seated regardless of RSVP.
**As a part of its nonprofit donation program, Straw will generously grant the winning artist $300 to fund their work.

Questions? Contact: nextgenerationsf@gmail.com
To RSVP please visit the eventbrite invite page.

TECH & ART: HOW TO

TECH & ART: HOW TO
May 25, 2011 6 – 8:30 pm @ Intersection for the Arts
Please RSVP here

Emerging Arts Professionals presents Tech & Art, a workshop part of the EAP 2011 Spring Series. Join us May 25, 2011 at Intersection for the Arts and hear from leading arts organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area about creative ways in which they are applying tech tools in their organizations to make heads turn and leverage better results.  Speakers will present their case studies, and lead small seminar-style workshops on the tools themselves. Attendants will go home inspired and equipped to use technology to empower their own organizations.

Speakers include:

Rachel Allen, Online Community Manager, National Alliance for Media Art and Culture (NAMAC): Rachel will discuss NAMAC’s use of virtual discussion and collaboration tools including CoveritLive, the live blogging platform used in their Open Dialogue series, and All Our Ideas, a social data collection platform developed by Princeton that allows groups to collect and prioritize ideas.

Victoria Gannon, Copy Chief, ArtPractical: Victoria will describe how an article travels from draft to a finished product on the Art Practical website, revealing how a content-focused editorial team can successfully interface with a simple content management system (CMS).

Ian Smith-Heisters, Artist, Developer & EAP Fellow: Ian will present his collaboration with Camille Utterback on the Aurora Organ, an interactive light sculpture that also tracks audience engagement patterns. Ian will show how the data provided by this installation can form the basis for drawing complex conclusions about the piece’s achievement of artistic goals and its impact on its environment.

Tim Svenonius, Producer of Interactive Technologies, SF Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA):
Tim will reveal the critical questions his team considers when producing contextual media such as artist interviews, knowing that the results will be published to web, mobile devices, podcasts, educational centers, and other outlets. He’ll discuss the key production and editorial questions that arise when publishing to multiple channels, with special consideration of the constraints and benefits of mobile.

Moderator: Dan Wolf, Artist, Program Manager of The Hub at the JCCSF & EAP Fellow

Questions? Contact: nextgenerationsf@gmail.com
To RSVP please visit the eventbrite invite page.

Relevance & Reform: a Remixed Response to Randolph Belle

By Eboni Senai Hawkins

“In a capitalist system, culture is a system of control.” – Todd Lester – Founder, www.freedimensional.org

It’s 3am.

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine – a talented visual artist – who is threatening to become a Republican and abandon her practice. She says that the American public has voted with their dollars and that she cannot continue to make a living in a society that doesn’t see art as relevant. Especially now that she’s a mother.

Our conversation started at 1am.

Throughout it all I had to draw upon the immense spirit of collective action present at the Emerging Program Institute, an intensive offered by the Alliance for Artists Communities for culture workers interested in creating or strengthening residencies for artists.  Todd Lester’s quote struck me to my core.  Upon hearing about Quan’s plan to cut arts funding, my first response was, “F— Oakland! We can do it on our own, we MUST do it on our own.” The personal is political, right? As a single woman, I would never wait around for a man who had courted me and left me dry to one day wake up and recognize my value. I would go out and seek other options, secure in my self-worth.

It is now all about options.

Lester’s organization, Free Dimensional, works with an international network of individuals who are interested in providing safe space for artists who have been persecuted for their work. They do not accept money from government agencies, depending on foundation and individual support.  I am ready for Oakland to do the same. To turn away from the City, turn to our neighbors, engage them as cultural stewards, and say, “Hey, I’m doing this really beautiful/amazing/RELEVANT work. Why don’t you come to a rehearsal, check out my studio? How would you like to support a show?”

I appreciate Randolph Belle’s wisdom and continued enthusiasm after years of working around Oakland arts and culture. I trust his proposal that “reforms to the permitting, planning and zoning processes to expedite housing, venues, and special event projects would generate significant impact.” It is a broader way of approaching recent roadblocks.  I want to temper the heat of my disbelief, the sting of budget rejection. I want to believe that Oakland will value its artists. But I know we have to value ourselves first. We have to take inventory – what we have, who we know – and leverage that to a sustainable future.  It is time for Plan B, C, and D.

My friend is not going to become a Republican. Of that I’m certain.  I can’t say that she’ll continue her practice. I know that she’ll forever be a mother. Faced with the economic realities of raising a child, my passionate words on policy meant very little. So I spoke about relationships.

I spoke about a neighborhood where a child might see an artist doing their art. Where that child, coming home from school one day might ask the artist a question, “What are you doing?” and follow up with a “Why?”  I spoke about the subtle shift that occurs when a child, a family, a neighborhood, a COMMUNITY maintains consistent contact with creative thinking. How creative thinking would seep into every day life. To the point that, hopefully, when it’s time to vote again, that art isn’t some thing on a pedestal. Art is your neighbor.

 

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Eboni Senai Hawkins is the Producing Artistic Director of see. think. dance.

After valuable experiences in arts administration (Jacob’s Pillow Dance, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts,Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet), she took a leap of faith and started working directly with the art and artists she loved.

Inspired by the opportunity to present intimate performance in a low-pressure environment, Eboni curated a short program for the June 2007 Mission Arts Performance Project (MAPP) hosted by the Red Poppy Art House, featuring dancers Antoine Hunter and Rashad Pridgen.

 

The response from the primarily visual arts/music audience was overwhelming and in collaboration with Todd Brown and the Red Poppy’s Street-Level Curating Program, Eboni established see. think. dance. to produceTruth + Beauty (November 2007), Word. Warrior. Music. Movement. (March 2008), and Urban Art Sessions(May 2008).

May 2008 also marked the formation of and the first performative installment by The Intimacy Project, an ongoing collaboration between artists/educators who draw creative inspiration from their connection to the African continent and are deeply invested in social change through the re-integration of the mind and the body.  Losing a dancer at the last moment and concerned with the flow of the evening’s program, Eboni overcame her fear of the stage to perform a duet with actor Kwesi Hutchful, a movement composition incorporating media installation, tempest tossed by lauren woods and layered with a recorded version of Intro to Kemetic Science by David Boyce.

In 2010, heavily influenced by the REVIVE workshop, Eboni created the annual REflect film series as part of the Black Choreographers’ Festival: Here and Now. Subtitled “The Black Dancing Body on Film”, REflect mines the rich visual history of Black dancers and choreographers on film through a dynamic selection of documentaries, feature films, and shorts.

Don’t miss Reframing the Arts : Advocating for the Public Culture at Oakland Museum of California (OMCA)on Saturday, April 16! Register here.

 

Expanding The Vision

By Arlene Goldbard

Many thanks to my fellow bloggers for providing abundant inspiration! The big questions of cultural policy are so vital and matter so much, yet they are seldom publicly discussed even by the people who care most. Who are we as a people? What do we want to remembered for, our vast creativity, or our prodigious ability to punish? How are our answers reflected in the way we do (or don’t) nurture community cultural life?

I was moved by Eboni Senai Hawkins’ beautiful essay on making public space for art. “Dance demands a kinesthetic empathy, a way of experiencing art bodily simply by watching,” she wrote, remarking that “Such empathy has the potential to pierce the layers of urban existence and bring together Oakland’s diverse yet self-segregated neighborhoods.”

Some of the most powerful arguments for art’s public purpose are coming to us now from science, supporting that point. Neuroscientists have have found “mirror neurons” in the human brain. When we observe someone else (or imagine ourselves) experiencing a feeling or performing an action, these nerve cells are activated very much as if we had performed the same actions with our own bodies. Mirror neurons enable understanding of other people’s perceptions, actions, and feelings.

But while this ability to feel empathy is encoded in our physical beings, empathy does not automatically infuse our own life-choices, any more than possesssing the physical equipment for dancing or singing means we will actually do either. Moving from the latent capacity to the practice of compassion must be learned. When we sit in a darkened theater, opening our minds and hearts to stories very different from our own, the tears, laughter, or perplexity we feel activates our motor neurons, setting that learning in motion.

Kenji C. Liu’s essay on art as a human right asks powerfully important questions, such as this:

The ability to work together for a beautiful and just world while being free from economic calculus and quantifiable value is not in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but perhaps it should be. Would our cultural strategies and policies benefit if we framed this kind of “freed art” as a human right and necessary for true democracy, just like education and freedom?

I’m always amazed that the right to culture is rooted in the simplest language of Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.” It seems so innocuous, but as has often been noted, the authors are unlikely to have understood what it would actually take to embody the right to participate freely. I think of the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, now incommunicado in detention in an undisclosed location. Imagine what would be required to grant him that right, and we begin to see the challenge.

I wish more US-based artists and advocates would become familiar with the remarkable policy statements the rest of the world is adopting. Read the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, for instance, and ponder why the U.S. has not signed it.

Randolph Belle’s thoughtful and moving post on what you might call race-blindness in Oakland’s development (if you don’t want to call it racism, outright) points to indicators that can’t be ignored:

 

….Every African American cultural invention has been subsumed into the larger culture to a point where the source is no longer recognizable, and Oakland, as a traditional center of Black culture and one of a number of “Chocolate Cities” around the country is a petri dish for cultural change. Consider this—Yoshi’s produced a jazz compilation with no Black artists, later apologizing and calling it an oversight. The First Amendment and the Serenader, where the best live blues, jazz and R&B could be heard, are distant memories. Rap can be heard in every corner of the planet, but as a thoroughly co-opted artform, I find nothing redeeming in what’s been deemed commercially viable. No consideration was given to the importance and historical significance of the Lorraine Hansberry Theater when the Academy of Art, (ironically), evicted them from their long time home….

Morally, the challenge he raises brings to mind Martin Luther King’s statement, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

In policy terms, I think Randolph Belle has it right: we know in our bones that cultural meaning and cultural fabric are central to lived experience. No one can deny the significance of the examples he cited. Every city has a reservoir of such stories: long-established neighborhoods leveled to make way for sports stadiums or freeways or red-carpet performing arts centers, leaving untold human damage in their wake.

As a result of long and diligent pressure, environmental impact assessment is demanded when a city wants to remove older structures or build new ones. The underlying idea is that the well-being of plants, animals, and aquifers should be a consideration, not just dollars and cents. Imagine for a moment that Oakland and every public entity had to produce a cultural impact study, assessing the effect that proposed actions would have on social fabric and community cultural life. Imagine how different our cities could look today if this had been required—and heeded and enforced—in the heyday of “urban removal.”

Imagine.

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Arlene Goldbard is a writer, speaker, consultant and cultural activist whose focus is the intersection of culture, politics and spirituality. Her blog and other writings may be downloaded from her Web site: www.arlenegoldbard.com. She was born in New York and grew up near San Francisco. Her most recent book, New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development was published by New Village Press in November 2006. She is also co-author of Community, Culture and Globalization, an international anthology published by the Rockefeller Foundation, Crossroads: Reflections on the Politics of Culture, and Clarity, a novel. Her essays have been published in In Motion Magazine, Art in America, Theatre, Tikkun, and many other journals. She has addressed many academic and community audiences in the U.S. and Europe, on topics ranging from the ethics of community arts practice to the development of integral organizations. She has provided advice and counsel to hundreds of community-based organizations, independent media groups, and public and private funders and policymakers including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Independent Television Service, Appalshop and dozens of others. She is currently writing a new book on art’s public purpose. She serves as President of the Board of Directors of The Shalom Center.

Don’t miss Reframing the Arts : Advocating for the Public Culture at Oakland Museum of California (OMCA)on Saturday, April 16! Register here.

 

 

Aerosol Writing and Community Mural Policy

by Desi W.O.M.E.

Reactionary politics are always dangerous. The policies that are created in those moments often have long-lasting unforeseen consequences that are equally difficult to undo until another catastrophe forces another emotional reaction and the cycle is repeated. Richmond muralists have recently come under such a threat that threatens to handcuff their ability to create public artwork. A change in policy is needed, but one that promotes the creation of artwork rather than bureaucratizes it. In this article, the Community Rejuvenation Project presents three simple policy changes that can protect murals from destruction rather than frontloading their process with a series of political obstacles.

The controversy began when the Richmond Graffiti Abatement team painted over an aerosol mural created by local youth in the community. Students at Gompers High School had been given the responsibility of caretaking a portion of the Richmond Greenway, a former railway that has been transformed by the community into a bike route, gardens, and a site for artwork. The students, with the support of their teacher, Gretchen Borg, received permission from a property owner near Eighth Street to create a mural. With approximately $1,000 of their own money, the youth purchased spray paint and spent two weeks creating the mural that was aerosol writing of their chosen names. Mrs. Borg went to the city repeatedly to make sure that everything was done properly, including attempting to get a permit, which she was told was not required. Nonetheless, the graffiti abatement team painted over the mural after associating some of the signatures with illegal graffiti that has occurred in other areas of the city.

Richmond’s abatement policy states that anything deemed “graffiti” must be removed, regardless of whether or not the work is approved or even commissioned by the owner.  Several other legally commissioned murals have been destroyed by the city due to such labeling but this is the most high profile incident and the most challenging because of all the documented steps that Mrs Borg took to ensure that mural would be safe.

Richmond’s graffiti mandate amounts to a sanctioned prejudice against a specific aesthetic. Any works created with spray paint appear to be subject to removal. This would potentially include the Community Rejuvenation Project’s Robots and Butterflies mural that was commissioned by the RACC.

Richmond’s response has been equally problematic. After apologizing to the students, the city police chief gave a 10 minute powerpoint presentation outlining how graffiti was a huge problem and the city’s response to the Gomper’s mural, however unfortunate, was in line with its abatement and policing policies. The city would continue to remove murals labeled as graffiti regardless of owner approval or not. The city council saw this incident as potentially embarrassing but indicated that the solution lay in creating a public mural approval process that would make murals legitimate. Councilmember Tom Butt repeatedly asked the youth if they would be satisfied if they were given a voice in the approval process, to which the youth seemed agreeable. Richmond Arts and Culture Commission (RACC) manager Michelle Seville was given the task of drawing up a mural approval process in 60 days.

There are several problems with this approach:

A mural approval process fails to address the real problem with what happened with the Gompers mural. The error was not in the youth’s artwork or their approach to the property owner or the city. The failure was directly at the hands of the abatement team and the police who destroyed the mural. However, in creating a mural approval process, the city is instituting additional bureaucracy for the artists rather than developing methods to protect murals once they are created. Each new work is subject to review that slows the process, requires the artist to potentially have to redraw their sketches multiple times, and tone down any challenging themes. The end result will be a slower and more painful process that will reduce the interest of artists to participate. For the youth already involved in the illegal aspects of writing, that bureaucracy will close the door to their interest in creating sanctioned works.

On the other hand, this moment is an opportunity to enact some simple yet powerful adjustments to the abatement mandate that will precipitate the creation of more new works and help to transform the image of Richmond from violent and bleak to creative and growing.

First, the Community Rejuvenation Project recommends the creation of a mural registry to protect existing murals. Rather than focus on a mural approval process, develop a method to protect existing works once they’ve been created. This registry can be used by the abatement agency to avoid the destruction of legally created works. Further, the community should be capable of registering street art and unsanctioned works that it wants to keep in the community. Removing a mural in the registry would require a petition by a significant number of local residents as well as dialogue with the artist.

Second, we recommend that citizens and non-profits be given the ability to petition to adopt a wall from absentee commercial property owners. Both Richmond and Oakland’s policy has been to notify property owners of the presence of blight and give them a deadline to remove it. If the owners fail to meet that deadline, the city will abate the blight and bill it to the property owner in their annual property taxes. Citizens and non-profits should be given the ability to make similar notifications to the property owner. If the owner fails to respond to a community petition in a comparable amount of time, the petitioning group should be able to adopt the wall at their own expense and create artwork that can be entered into the city registry.

Third, the city should have similar program that adopts high-blight walls and employs artists and youth to paint murals on them. A similar notification process to the commercial property owner would be followed. This will allow for increased youth civic engagement, the creation of lots of high-quality artwork throughout the city, and less on-going blight problems. The focus for these mural initiatives should be the high-target, highly visible, and large-scale locations. Theoretically, an effective abatement strategy should lead to less abatement each year. If the city’s costs for abatement are not decreasing incrementally, then the city councils should redirect some of the abatement budget to long-term solutions such as murals.

Richmond current trajectory is poised to effectively prevent the creation of all but the largest and least controversial murals. Those projects will require experienced, professional artists who have learned to navigate the city bureaucracy, have the finances to wait months to get started while to wading through the commission meetings, paperwork and approval process. This policy will not give the youth a means to express themselves except in the approval process for other artists.

On the other hand, Richmond has the opportunity to take a bold step to protect the artwork in its city, lift the sanction on youth-based aesthetics, and open the doors to new works by arts of all backgrounds, styles, and experience. Let’s hope that Richmond makes the right choice.

 

 

 

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Desi W.O.M.E is the founder and director of the Community Rejuvenation Project. Painting since 1990, Desi helped organize and contributed to 33 murals last year, as documented in Rejuvenation: 2010 Mural Anthology, available atwww.crpbayarea.org. He is a founding artist at United Roots, Oakland’s Green Youth Arts & Media Center and facilitates aerosol writing studies at Oakland Unity High School. Desi is currently working on a Peace & Dignity mural with P.H.A.S.E.2, Vulcan, Mike 360, Elijah Pfotenhauer, Beats 737, Pancho Pescador, and numerous youth on 41st and International in East Oakland. He is thankful for the opportunity to share this with you and thankful for the company he keeps.


Creating Real Outlets for Cultural Arts Expression

by Jacinda Abcarian

BEMIE (www.myspace.com/bemerules) is a 23 year old artist from Oakland. As a “punk rapper” his two self-proclaimed necessities are food and a cell phone.  But faced with mainstream media outlets that shut out new talent and literally play the same seven booty-music songs in rotation each hour, he struggles to get known.  While Facebook, MySpace and YouTube provide free platforms for self-promotion and marketing, they still do not come close to the exposure he would get on KMEL or Wild 94.9 for example. This sad lack of outlets for artistic expression calls on us to explore new routes.

Nonprofit organizations like Oaktown Jazz Workshops, Youth Radio, and Youth Speaks, work hard to create real outlets for artistic expression in a time when there are so few. Youth Radio’s reporters are on national outlets including NPR and Turnstylenews.com, Oaktown Jazz Workshops’ musicians play venues including Yoshi’s Jazz Club, and Youth Speaks’ poets are featured on HBO.

When doors shut in the faces of our youth we work hard to create new outlets for them. Take the Oscar Grant tragedy for example. Youth Radio worked with community artists to create a public mural in memory of Oscar Grant, the Oakland 22-year-old who was shot and killed by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.   (www.youthradio.org/about/oscar-grant-mural) An effort to transform the community’s pain and anger into art, Youth Radio invited muralists from the group “Trust Your Struggle” (http://tys.mvmt.com) to paint on boards covering the windows of organization’s home in downtown Oakland.  The downtown group created an iconic picture of Grant’s face that supporters of Grant’s family replicated for Facebook avatars and tribute posters.

Unlikely approaches to fostering artistic and cultural development often work the best.  My ex-husband from West Africa told me that as a youth development strategy, all of the “discotechs” (dance clubs) in his hometown would open their doors to teens from 4-8pm, the critical after-school hours when most youth crime happens. They would serve only juice and soda and have DJ’s spinning, providing a safe and fun place for youth to be themselves. After 8pm the clubs would only be open to adults.  What a creative way to utilize the community’s resources!

When it comes to implementing cultural policy in Oakland we must be open to non-traditional, innovative models that inspire young people to engage with the arts, but most importantly, that are accessible to the youth themselves.

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Jacinda Abcarian is a graduate of Youth Radio’s class of 1993 and is its current Executive Director. She moved from a student and peer teacher to an award-winning reporter and producer. She has worked as a reporter for WRFG-FM in Atlanta and as a journalism fellow at NPR in Washington, D.C. Awards include a Golden Reel from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters for Accidental Shooting, and the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton Award for her producer role in the series, Emails from Kosovo. She was recently honored by the Gerbode Foundation with the prestigious 2010 Gerbode Professional Development Fellowship award. Abcarian has been active in initiatives promoting prevention of tobacco use and gun violence among youth. Abcarian earned a B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley and completed Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management at Harvard Business School. She is also a member of the City of Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Commission and The Crucible’s Advisory Council.

Don’t miss Reframing the Arts : Advocating for the Public Culture at Oakland Museum of California (OMCA)on Saturday, April 16! Register here.

A response to "Kristi's Rant"

by Sanjit Sethi

Kristi,

Thanks for your thoughtful remarks. When you state “we need to change something” I am reminded of the quote from the Sufist scholar Rumi that says new organs of perception come about as a result of necessity, therefore in order to increase one’s perception one needs to increase necessity. As you accurately point out Oakland (and other communities) needs more compassion, opportunity, and investment. We may very well be at the state that Rumi speaks of, of increasing our necessity through response to rampant violence, devastating budget cuts, and a society that favors a corporate culture over a creative culture. All of these things have pushed our necessity, as a larger community, further. With an awareness of this new reality comes (ideally) a rich and vigorous conversation on values. What is legal vs. illegal? (You speak compellingly of graffiti artists and their ability to legitimately express a voice.) Cultural vs. commercial? (We see great examples from social entrepreneurship that these can be combined.) And finally, political vs. civil? (The ability to creatively protect people’s physical integrity and safety as well as protecting the right to express oneself and the right to assemble).

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Sanjit Sethi is Director of the Center for Art and Public Life, and the Barclay Simpson Chair of Community Art at California College of the Arts.  Sethi received a BFA in 1994 from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, an MFA in 1998 from the University of Georgia, and an MS in Advanced Visual Studies in 2002 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sethi has been an artist in residence at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada and a Fulbright fellow in Bangalore, India, working on the Building Nomads Project. Sethi continued his strong focus on interdisciplinary collaboration as director of the MFA program at the Memphis College of Art. His work deals with issues of nomadism, identity, the residue of labor, and memory. Sethi recently completed the Kuni Wada Bakery Remembrance, an olfactory-based memorial in Memphis, Tennessee; and Richmond Voting Stories, a collaborative video project involving youth and senior residents of Richmond, CA. Sethi’s current works include Indians/Indians, the Urban Defibrillator, and a series of writings on the territory of failure and its relationship to collaborative cultural practice, all of which involve varied social and geographic communities.

Don’t miss Reframing the Arts : Advocating for the Public Culture at Oakland Museum of California (OMCA)on Saturday, April 16! Register here.