On the Ground: The Art of Social Practice – EMERGENCE Plenary Session

Post lead image:  Ramekon O’Arwisters artwork. 


On the Ground: The Art of Social Practice -EMERGENCE 2015 Plenary Session

YBCA Forum @ 2PM

Participating:  Deirdre Visser, Curator of The ARTS at CIIS
Ashara Saran Ekundayo, Impact Hub Oakland, LLC , Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Omi Gallery, Director/Curator
Ramekon O’Arwisters, Social-practice artist, Curator of Exhibitions at the San Francisco Airport Museum
Ebony McKinney [ABBA] Arts for a Better Bay Area co-founder, Fellowship Director/co-founder, Emerging Arts Professionals SF/BA

Facilitated by Conference Keynote Roberto Bedoya

Participatory art is not new, but approaches are always evolving. Join a roundtable of artists who bring  social practice into their work to create projects aimed at social change and empowerment in their communities.

Panelist Bios


imgresDeirdre Visser is Curator of The Arts at CIIS. As curator and educator she strives to promote pluralism in the arts, to support artists in the creation of new work, and to foster dynamic and critical dialogues within and across communities that propose integrative approaches to the urgent questions we collectively face. Her exhibitions, publications and public programming with The Arts at CIIS have connected history to the present, both ethically and strategically, to look for common themes and engage historical context in a deeper understanding of the present. She has mounted exhibitions and convened public dialogues about such topics as the representation of African American men; the history of the Chicano Movement and the ways it informs the work of young Chicana artists across California today; the legacy of the Black Panther Party; and the intersections between contemporary photographic practice and representational pluralism. [https://www.linkedin.com/pub/deirdre-visser/4/589/871]


Asjara-Saran-EkundayoAshara Saran Ekundayo is a cultural strategist and convener who consultants with start-ups and organizations to assess and build capacity for increased community engagement in their ventures through the uses of social permaculture design, creative arts practice, exhibition, and project management. Her combined passions for media, food, art and tech also inspire her to produce events such as Pecha Kucha Night Oakland and “Grits & Greens” and she can be heard on KPOO Radio amplifying the voices of women creatives with her “Sweetwater Sessions” segment as part the weekly Ibeji Lounge show.  Most recently Ashara serves as the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Impact Hub Oakland and is also the Director for Omi Gallery located in Oakland, CA.  She also participates in the Urban Futures Think Tank at YBCA, and holds Advisory Board Positions with KQED Arts, Urban Protoyping, and the City of Oakland Cultural Funding Program.  She is a 2014 Emerging Arts Professional Fellow and Institute For the Future just pinged her as 2015 Fellow4Good inquiring on the Future of Collaboration and Spirituality.  She happily Tweets from @Blublakwomyn


unnamed-2Ramekon O’Arwisters is a social-practice artist who creates collaborative, community-based art projects infused with folk-art traditions and techniques to foster and support a culture of community building.  O’Arwisters’s Crochet Jams invite the public, friends, volunteers, and associates to participate in the traditional folk art of making rag rugs.  As a thought leader, O’Arwisters engages the public in thinking differently about the role of art within community and the power of art within society.  He has had exhibitions at the Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco, and the Kato Gallery in Tokyo. His work has been included in numerous San Francisco group exhibitions including the African American Art & Cultural Complex, and the Museum of the African Diaspora.  In 2013 he participated in a residency at the M. H. de Young Museum in San Francisco.  He was awarded an Artadia Award in 2002 and a second San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant in 2011.  O’Arwisters received a Masters of Divinity from Duke University. He is currently a curator of exhibitions at the SFO Museum and a guest lecturer at various Bay Area colleges. Ramekon was awarded the 2014 Eureka Award from the Fleishhacker Foundation.  [http://crochetjam.com/home.html]


EAPLeadership2014-15_EbonyEbony McKinney is the Founding Director of Emerging Arts Professionals/SFBA, 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. She was instrumental in helping to establish the statewide California NextGen Arts Leadership Initiative funded by The James Irvine Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. She currently serves on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee at Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, the Funding Advisory Council for Oakland Cultural Affairs and is a member of the Emerging Leader Council of American for the Arts. She’s also served on selection panel for the Joyce Foundations Emerging Leaders of Color Fellowship.[https://www.linkedin.com/in/ebonymckinney]


Bedoya (2)
Facilitated by Roberto Bedoya is the Executive Director of the Tucson Pima Arts Council, Tucson AZ. He is also a writer and arts consultant who works in the area of support systems for artists. As an arts consultant he has worked on projects for the Creative Capital Foundation and the Arizona Commission on the Arts (Creative Capital’s State Research Project), The Ford Foundation (Mapping Native American Cultural Policy), The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations (Creative Practice in the 21st Century), and The Urban Institute (Investing in Creativity: A Study of the Support Structure for US Artists and the Arts and Culture Indicators in Community Building Project).  His writing has appeared in numerous publications including The New Gatekeepers: Emerging Challenges to Free Expression in the Arts, (Columbia University Press, 2003) CMYK, the Hungry Mind Review, the Los Angeles Times, and the Movement Research Performance Journal. He is the author of the white paper “The Color Line and US Cultural Policy: An Essay with Dialogue” and “Creative Placemaking and the Politics of Belonging and Dis-Belonging”, He sits on the board of the National Association of Media Arts and Culture. Bedoya has been a Rockefeller Fellow at New York University and a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.


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