Edit-a-Thon Resources from Art+Feminism
As a former and short-lived Wikipedia editor focused on women’s art activism history, I can attest to the roadblocks placed by a cadre of male editors...challenges which initially seemed logical parts of the self-correcting community, but became increasingly frustrating and, upon comparison, unevenly heavy-handed with histories about women: citations challenged, content removed, content reorganized in illogical, unhelpful ways, wording altered to de-emphasize impact...
Powerful afternoon. Truthworker Theater Company, LA CAN (Community Action Network) Freedom Singers, Dolores Huerta, Emiliana Guereca (Women’s March Action), Edna Chavez ( break out speaker at March for Our Lives) .... Si Se Puede!
#ForFreedomsCon @ForFreedomsCon Truthworker Theatre Company
I am grateful to ForFreedoms.org for the stipend that enables Alaina Buffalo Spirit, Marci Mc Lean - Pollock, Dylan Running Crane and me to be part of, what will be, a high-energy, engaging series of artist-led programs, workshops and conversations . . . The For Freedoms Congress in Los Angeles, next week.
In the fall 2018, I pulled together some local activations for the For Freedoms 50 States Initiative Billings. Our foursome will build on this and be looking at ways to create art-based amplifications of Native issues throughout our tribal nations in Montana and connecting to other events which encourage dialogue here and across the country.
The Montana Warrior Women (thank you to Alaina for giving us this name!)
Alaina Buffalo Spirit is a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, who creates Ledger Art. This form of art began in the 1860's when tribal warriors were imprisoned at Ft. Marion, Florida. She is active in bringing attention and solutions to Missing and Murdered Indigenous People and environmental challenges on her people's land.
Marci McLean, who is Piikuni, is the Executive Director of Western Native Voice, a non-profit, non-partisan social justice organization working to move Native leaders to engage Native Americans in long term decision making to address issues in their communities.
Dylan Runinng Crane is a Blackfeet filmmaker, musician, writr and student working to shed light on the life, happiness, and humanity of indigenous people.
Sherri Cornett is an artist curator who combines her political science, advocacy and art skills to create opportunities for dialogue and community building.
#forfreedoms #forfreedomscongress #ffcon
#communityengagedart #memoriesat60 #humantrafficking #commercialsexualexploitation
The Ragdoll Project: at the UN, in China and across the country
The Ragdoll Project is an ongoing community art project created by Joanna Fulginiti and Bonnie MacAllister and members of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art. It educates and encourages dialogue about human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). Sales of the dolls supports survivors and at risk women and children.
I first saw the project and dolls when I had a piece in "Honoring Women's Rights, Echoing Visual Voices Together" at the National Steinbeck Center, 2012-2013. The variety and multiplicity of dolls hanging on the wall stopped me in my tour of the exhibition. I reached out to Joanna to see how I could get involved. A multi-year relationship ensued.
Maureen Burns-Bowie (Women's Caucus for Art UN Program Chair and UN Rep) and I (as WCA's International Caucus Chair and UN Rep) took them to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women conference in 2013. A version of the dolls came with us to China for "Half the Sky: Intersections in Social Practice Art" in 2014 and was part of Karen's and my exhibition at St. Mary's College "Social Justice: It Happens to One, It Happens to All" in 2016. Joanna, Bonnie and Eva and crew have shown them and created workshops in many, many other places.
While cutting out fabric and making the dolls, we sent out our collective hope for the end of trafficking. As we all know, there has been no end to it, but awareness is growing.
The Ragdoll Project Committee: Joanna Fulginiti (Chair), Bonnie MacAllister, Rachel Udell, Eva Preston, Heather Penn, and Jeanne Lombardo.
I have previously reflected on the challenges for me of living in Fort Worth in the late 80s. Other than the joy of giving birth to my son, one of my top distractions was meeting and hanging with Renee Sherrer, who was working on her MFA at North Texas State in Denton.
I was not yet into making art - this was my public relations and marketing for non-profits phase - but what Renee was doing with fabric and postcard art and female identity combined with her endearing quirkiness, made me want to make the trip north as often as I could. One night we danced so wildly to Brave Combo's nuclear polka that I flew right off the raised floor, ending up several feet below with a sprained ankle - upside? the bartender installed me with a bucket of ice at the end of the bar and people bought me shots. downside? the effect of all those shots realized too late.
When her program was completed, she asked if I would be interested in helping her move to Montana, a state that had never been on my radar. It sounded like an epic road trip, but ... I couldn't get off work.
After a couple more years in Cowtown and a few in a quite different city, Portland, Oregon, Steve and I moved to Billings in 1993. I had lost contact with Renee and she wasn't on our minds when we happened to walk into Cafe Jones (currently Ebon Coffee). On the walls were a few oversized brassiere prints. Steve and I simultaneously exclaimed "Renee!" And, she was there, next door in her office above the current Montana Gallery (then a book store). She, and her cup and saucer embellished art car, did not stay in Billings long. But, this unexpected reunion set a sweet tone to our new city, underscoring how, despite moves and travels and changes, life can provide interesting reconnections as it weaves forward.
Renee talked about SirQ and he was credited with many of the photos in her postcard art. I have since been told he still lives in Billings. After 26+ years here, I have never run into him. But their postcards remain in my collection. This last image is from her MFA show "Designer Straight Jackets."
Softness Overcoming Hardness
Angela Davis, Keynote Speaker
#OpenEngagement Conference, Oakland
May 1st, International Worker's Day, 2016
[Angela starts at 11:30, this video is long, but so good, so settle in, it's Angela Davis! and it includes Q&A at the end]
#AngelaDavis starts with the recognition that we were on the colonized land of the Ohlone, that the Oakland area is the foundation of the #BlackPanthers movement (50 years hence), home of #Occupy, #BlackLivesMatter, #transgender movements, #restorativejustice, #foodsovereignty and so much more.
The title of this conference, which focuses on #sociallyengagedart, was Power (with the palpable and obvious subtext of privilege). It was necessarily uncomfortable and and educational and expanding and connecting.
Angela adds, of course, Power ... To The People. She talks about artists who have been inspired by the Black Power movement and how this inspired others to make art and make change. How art plays a pivotal role in changing the consciousness and drives of those who can change the world. Art does, indeed, change the status quo.
To my delight, she talks about #DollarBrand and #AbdullahIbrahim, to whose music I was introduced in the 80s, (yes, in retrospect I see the colonial connection) when I was helping friends renovate a 1700s home in Long Swamp, PA and we spent our late nights listening to their eclectic music collection. Abdullah’s music remains soulful to me today, particularly, "Soweto" (link in comments).
She talked about the importance of softness in overcoming hardness, that softness is a place of reflection, imagination, and possibility. That we must continue to move.
Creating Space for Dialogue
I am finishing up my home-made baba ganouj this morning and reflecting on the thought-provoking, conversation-inducing presentation (and delicious Palestinian food) by the staff (the director is Jewish) of @conflictkitchen during the Open Engagement Conference in Pittsburgh in 2015.
We talked about how important it is to keep dialogue open between people, even if governments and organizations find it politically incorrect. And how the sharing of food during can assist in these conversations, such as the meals the Half the Sky: Intersections of Social Practice Art delegates shared as we discussed, processed and problem-solved our time and interactions in China.[Mido Lee, Rosemary Meza DesPlas, Christine Giancola, Priscilla Otani and I presented a panel at Open Engagement, "Considerations and Challenges: Socially-Engaged Art in China" about our Half the Sky project in Shenyang in 2014.]
"Conflict Kitchen is a restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict. Each Conflict Kitchen iteration is augmented by events, performances, publications, and discussions that seek to expand the engagement the public has with the culture, politics, and issues at stake within the focus region. The restaurant rotates identities in relation to current geopolitical events.... These diverse perspectives reflect a nuanced range of thought within each country and serves to instigate questioning, conversation, and debate with our customers."
Photo courtesy of conflict kitchen website
FLOW: Interactive Exhibition and Community Project
Northcutt Steele Gallery, Montana State University Billings, January 28 - March 18, 2016
It began with a big, but, initially, manageable goal, given our backgrounds - to bring more people into the gallery and to engage them across departments, across the city and between the two institutes of higher education in Billings around the theme of water issues and focused on the Yellowstone River. Early on, we consulted MSU Billings' long-range plans, goals, & strategies and ... Leanne K. Gilbertson, Ph.D of Art History and Nothcutt Steele Gallery Director at MSU Billings and me, an artist curator with a passion for community engagement, were soon neck deep in conversations with potential partners, who were enthusiastic and willing to sign on.
The gallery was set up as a laboratory and nexus for exploration and dialogue with an exhibition of my Grottoes - mixed media wall sculptures with video meditations on water - and juried works by students and alumni. We commissioned two students, Bonny Beth Luhman and Ariel Rebecca Grosfield, to create an animated short about river users. Art Ed students discussed water issues with the Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls and other K-8 students, who then made 5 x 7 panels with their responses. Presentation of research by Rocky Mountain College students. Precious McKenzie, teacher of English at Rocky Mountain College, donated her water-themed children's books to the MSU Billings library, which became the anchor for pre-school readings there. Poetry and jazz students held a water-themed reading and improvisation night. Northern Plains Resource Council and Eric Warren presented his film "Mixing Oil and Water" featuring conversations about oil & gas development along the river. Dr. Susan Gilbertz offered a course for students from both campus about the findings from the Yellowstone River Cultural Inventory, which was part of the 16 year, most comprehensive study in the world on a watershed, our Yellowstone River, which was the basis for our keynote symposium, which included Dr. Gilbertz' students, some of the key scientists of that study (Warren Kellogg, Burt Williams and Kayhan Ostovar) as well as a beautiful argument for personhood rights for rivers by Carrie La Seur.
The amount of creativity and information shared and the community of collaborators, brainstormers, participants and supporters was a heart-warming overlay and reward for the intensity of coordination: Gerard Baker, Sue Beug, Karin Eilertsen Calabrese, Reno Charette, Michelle Dyk, Teresa Erickson, Megan Fetters, Samantha Finch, Leanne Gilbertson, Ph.D, Susan Gilbertz, Ph.D, Ilene Goddard, Ariel Grossfield, Tami Haaland, Ruby Hahn, Joy Crissey Honea, Hannah Hostetter, Warren Kellogg, Luke Kestner, Korilynn Kessler, Carrie La Seur, Ph.D, J.D., Jodi Lightner, Bonny Beth Luhman, Larry Mayer, Precious McKenzie, Joel Miller, Patrick Mueller, Kelsey Nix, Carolyn Ostby, Kayhan Ostovar, Mara Pierce, Ph.D., Megan Poulette, Tabetha Rindahl, Brent Roberts, John J. Roberts, Maria Selvig, Stephanie Slavin, Rebecca Summers, Peter Pete Tolton, Patricia Vettel-Becker, Ph.D., Eric Warren, Burt Williams, Patrick Williams, Dylan Woods and so many more who came to share their thoughts, listen and expand the dialogue around water issues, rights, access and conservation in our region.
Project overview page with links to further details at https://www.sherricornett.com/flow-interactive-exhibition-and-community-project.html
Inspiration and Motivation ... Taking my community-engaged work to the next level, with a generosity of spirit .... that is what I came away with after having breakfast with Judy Baca after the Women's Caucus for Art's Honoring Women's Rights conference and exhibition at the National Steinbeck Center in 2012.
As the founder of the first City of Los Angeles Mural Program in 1974, which evolved into a community arts organization known as the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), she is best known for "The Great Wall of Los Angeles" which was "tattooed along a flood control channel in the San Fernando Valley and employed over 400 at risk youth and their families from diverse social and economic backgrounds working with artists, oral historians, ethnologists, scholars, and hundreds of community members. The Great Wall depicts a mile long multi-cultural history of California from pre-history through the 1950’s."
"Underlying all of Baca and SPARC’S activities is the profound conviction that the voices of disenfranchised communities need to be heard and that the preservation of a vital commons is critical to a healthy civil society."
Her other projects include:
The World Wall: A Vision of the Future Without Fear - "in addition to being able to imagine nuclear destruction, we must also be able to imagine peace,"
Tiny Ripples of Hope / Seeing Through Other’s Eyes (2010) - about the optimism–and hope–that surrounded Robert Kennedy’s pursuits
The Messiness, Democracy and Hope of Civil Society
The 64th Annual United Nations DPI/NGO Conference:
Sustainable Societies, Responsive Citizens
Bonn, Germany, 3-5 September 2011
Priscilla Otani, president-elect for our Women's Caucus for Art, and I attended as representatives of our NGO. Here is part of my report:
The happy sounds of many languages filled the six floors of the Maritim Hotel atrium as the conference began. At the Opening Ceremony, I found myself surrounded by businesswomen from China, people in niqab, saris, and caftans, youth, and many nuns (Catholic, Buddhist, Hindi) some of the representatives of more than 400 NGOs in attendance. We quickly coalesced into the "we the peoples" that starts the Charter of the United Nations. Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations.
I soon had a sense of both the messiness and wonder of civil society and how years of UN conferences have distilled a method for collecting the varied perspectives, views and recommendations asked for, in this case, by the General Assembly in preparation for the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development scheduled for June 2012 in Brazil. At each of the Roundtables, to which all were invited, high-level experts spoke on the topics after which respondents from government reflected back or challenged them on their thoughts. Four to five questions at a time were then taken from the audience and the panel responded. UN staff recorded each of these discussions. The same process, minus the respondents, occurred in the many workshops. Side events gave even more intimate discussion opportunities as did the exhibits, both of which WCA was a part. UN Conference board members worked tirelessly throughout the three days to add to, edit and condense all of this information into the final declaration that reflected the expectations of NGO participants and civil society leaders for the governments attending Rio+20. The declaration was openly discussed for a final time at the closing. Individuals were able to come to the mike, ask for word changes, minor deletions and additions, before the assembly was asked, by show of applause, to accept or reject the declaration before it was given to the German government for presentation to the U.N. General Assembly.
We need to TEACH PEOPLE FLEXIBILITY - how they can do best with current knowledge and how to change as new information arises, how to deal with a tomorrow that is so different from today without getting lost and fearful.
We no longer have TIME to polarize. We need to end cynicism. We need to celebrate courage and innovation.
Felix Dodds, Chair, 64th DPI/NGO Conference - "THE FUTURE IS NOT A GIFT, it is an achievement. The future does not belong to those who are content with today or to those who lack the courage to force change that is needed." Everyone needs to mobilize, volunteer and take action. At closing ceremony, Flavia Pansieri, Head of the Consultative Forum of the Heads of UN Agencies in Germany, asked everyone who has engaged in a cause without expectation of payment to stand - 100% stood. The spirit of VOLUNTARISM in participants from developing and developed countries alike was huge. "Of course we volunteer, why wouldn't we do our part for the future of the world."
Not everything is worse. Many positive accomplishments are not picked up by the world's media.
The eco village concept - conscious design for long-term sustainability and resilience - is rapidly expanding with over 600 established eco villages around the world and 100+ in the U.S. The country of Senegal is committing a large portion of its budget to transforming struggling traditional villages into ecovillages. Here is the story about Senegal's eco villages
Fair Trade Towns - communities in which people and organizations use their everyday choices to increase sales of Fairtrade products and bring about positive change for farmers and workers in developing countries - are also expanding with over 1000 internationally and 23 in the U.S. as of April. http://www.fairtradetowns.org
To combat the serious lack of drinking water in areas of western China, the Water Cellars for Mothers Project developed and built water collecting devices, each holding a year's worth of rain water for one family. Over 1 million people benefited from this project in 2010 Water Cellars for Mothers Project
S.A. Bachman/Neda Moridpour/Louder Than Words
"LOUDER THAN WORDS is a cross-cultural, intergenerational art collective that targets sexual assault, domestic violence, women and migration, LGBTQ+ equality, and jail reform ... We strive to ignite civic dialogue, unravel obstacles, reorder entrenched cultural gridlock, and generate languages of critique and possibility."
Their presentation of "These Walls Can Talk" during "Half the Sky: Intersections in Social Practice Art", which I directed in China on behalf of the Women's Caucus for Art, was a powerful, interactive event with Chinese students and faculty and addressed "domestic violence. It alludes to domestic space by juxtaposing wallpaper with information on gender violence, video, and “don’t remain silent” stickers. The wallpaper design incorporates a number of common objects that are frequently used to inflict injury: fists, knives, belts, guns and irons. Conversely, the video presents famous world leaders including President Obama and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia reciting Jackson Katz’s 10 Things Men Can Do To Prevent Gender Violence."
As socially-engaged artists, activists and educators, S.A and Iranian-born Neda, continue to develop community-engaged projects, including:
"Women on the Move" " transforms a 26-foot truck into a mobile billboard and resource center to address sexual assault, harassment and domestic violence" and "Vehicle for Change" which will transform" a 26-ft truck into a mobile billboard and resource center addressing jail reform and incarceration alternatives in L.A. County. The truck will travel throughout L.A County promoting passage of the 2020 ballot initiative, registering voters, educating, participating in healing justice events."
A link to a video about them is posted in the comments.
Photos by Christine Giancola and courtesy of the Louder Than Words website.
Thank you to all who ventured over to my Open Studio during Art Walk on Friday night! Families, children, elected officials, Montana Arts Council members, my buddies at High Plains Architects, artist and curator colleagues, dear friends and friends I haven't seen in a while, and the curious. Far-ranging conversations... about city/county planning and community building and memory and collaborations and supporting family members and making mustard and graphic novels and how to depict water and being our true selves and very sweet discussions, with children, about how I could expand my projects. And then there was that spiced hot chocolate...
Thank you to Virginia Bryan and the Downtown #billingsartwalk for another opportunity to bring so many people downtown to enjoy our offerings.
Texas Roadtrip 2019
With Cory Cornett
The Kinsey Collection of art and historical documents deserved much more than a couple of hours and will, hopefully, travel to more museums.
Ragnar Kjartansson’s “The Visitors”
9 channel video projection
Dallas Museum of Art
Dirge-like, and eerily seductive... slow repetitions of lyrics such as “There are stars exploding around you, and there’s nothing, nothing you can do.” Each video a different, carefully staged room in a large home, each with a different musician/singer, rich color,each with it own full sound blended with the while as one moves through the space.
Texas Roadtrip 2019
My five years living in Fort Worth in the late 80s were both financially and socially challenging (the very bright spot was getting pregnant with and delivering Collin, a 6th generation Texan). I discovered the Japanese Gardens on my first exploratory trip for housing, when I realized how different our lives would be here vs. our culturally diverse time in Houston. These gardens became one of my frequent getaways, transporting me to peaceful moods and reconnecting me to my true self.
In the 80s, I was drawn into photography in a new way when I saw Richard Avedon’s large scale photographs “In the American West” at the Amon Carter... as SFGate’s Kenneth Baker wrote, these photos: “consistently shows us people whose self-representations appear to override the camera's powers of affirmation and betrayal.”
During today’s visit, I saw works and artists that had influenced me and/or parallel my creative interests...
Dallas-area James Surls “Seven and Seven Flower” with his use of fence posts and materials gleaned from his land
Lewis Wickes Hine “Steamfitter” . He was originally a sociologist; I am a political scientist... and chose to use his camera as a tool for activism
Mexican-born Gabriel Dawe “Plexus no. 34” using sewing thread to push gender + material stereotypes and his use of web like connections (plexus - network of nerves) which, for me, symbolize, in my community memory project, our collective community memory
Camille Utterback “Untitled 5” using digital/tech art in an interactive, collaborative way, each interaction influenced by the previous one and influencing the next one
And then a surprising juxtaposition of Georgia o’Keefe and a male artist’s (Robert Laurent) similar “, but sculptural, use of plant forms which, when she painted them, pigeon holed her as a painter of erotic female form.
When I lived here, I was the public relations￼ and marketing director for the YMCA. One of our members was friends with Ed Bass,who, at that time developed what was then called the , Caravan of Dreams (now Reata) on Houston street. On the roof of this performance/art center was a geodesic dome and bar to which we were able to have private access one night. ￼The dome relates to another project Ed financed, Biosphere 2, in the Sonoran Desert, which was initially supposed to be a totally enclosed space, Including domes, for environmental experiments. I seem to recall that the systems of natural air purification failed, but that there was still decent scientific information that came out of that project.￼￼ I enjoyed some Mezcal up there last night After drinks and light fare at Booger Reds in the stockyards and a quick tour around “the largest honkey tonk in the world”, Billy Bob’s :-)￼
Another place of respite for me when I lived here in the 80s were these water gardens by Phillip Johnson and John Burgee. Climbing down into them, below street level and with the falling water blocking out any city noise, was heaven. This morning I had the whole, glorious space to myself!
Texas Road Trip 2019
Some of the many public art visits in San Antonio with artists Doerte Weber and her husband Ansen Seale.
Mel Chin’s “CoCobijos”
Houston-born artist Chin creates the word CoCobijos or “co-shelters” for this work that references resilience and community support. “Two-faceted cactus-like pads arc in a supporting embrace appearing to hold each other up.” The plasma cut lattice pattern resembles the xylem, interior capillary structure of prickly pear cacti.
This and other public art here were placed so as to be seen from highways, especially when leaves have fallen from trees in the winter.
Margarita Cabrera’s “Arbol de la Vida: Memorias y Voces de la Terra”
Margarita’s work filled my heart and touched my passion for community-engaged art. This 40x80 foot sculpture stopped me in awe as I rounded the bend in the path. She collaborated with 700 people, who created 700 ceramic representations of their 700 stories celebrating the city’s rich cultural history, diversity and community bonds.
Ansen Seale’s “Tricentennial Clock, 2018”
The Jewelbox Project
In historic Roatzsch-Griesenbeck-Arciniega House
Doerte’s husband Ansen let us inside the building to see this normally “peep-in experience” installation more closely.
The public art program in San Antonio is vibrant and impressive!
A place to decant my brain, to capture inspiration and share fresh insights. [Posts from 2015 onward]