The Art and Activism group had a busy first week. Students began by researching a number of social issues important to them. They then engaged in silk screening workshops with Kevin Pomerleau and made “zines” with Kieran Ryan and guest artist David Slater. They also had a number of sessions drawing the model at Ross School, at the Southampton Cultural Center with Linda Capello and at the Living Gallery in Bushwick. (The Living Gallery is run by Ross alum Nyssa Frank). On our trip to Williamsburg, students were guided by artist Susan Bachemin on a tour of community murals , including ones by Lady Pink and Futura 2000. Students also made studio visits to artists Jake Messing, James Esber and Jane Fine. One day was spent watching films related to art and activism, including the powerful documentary Wasteland about Brazilain artist Vik Muniz’s work with residents of Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill where men and women sift through garbage for a living. The students also spent time conceptualizing themes for the mural they will collaborate on in the final two weeks.
On Monday of the second week the class had a visit from artist Max Frieder. Max is a RISD graduate and community based public artist who founded artolution.org. His work focuses on public engagement through creative facilitation. He has painted large scale canvas murals with communities throughout New Zealand, Costa Rica, Israel and the United States.