Public Art and Communities Symposium

Creative placemaking to address community public health

Office of Public Art, in collaboration with Neighborhood Allies, presents the Public Art and Communities Symposium, which will be held online via Zoom on Thursday, October 22 and Friday, October 23, 2020.

The symposium will feature national and local speakers discussing topics related to socially and civically engaged public art practices. Each day will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 5:15 p.m.

Register now

Agenda

Thursday, October 22, 2020

9:30–10:00 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions with OPA, Neighborhood Allies, and Borough of Millvale

10:00–11:20 a.m.

In Conversation with Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson

Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, from Arizona State University, will open the Public Art and Communities Symposium. Jackson’s expertise is in comprehensive community revitalization, systems change, arts and culture in communities and dynamics of race and ethnicity. She’s worked widely with philanthropy and governments advising on strategy, program design, research, learning and evaluation. Following her remarks, Jackson will be in conversation with artist Edith Abetya, and finally ending her session with an audience Q + A.

About Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD

Maria Rosario Jackson’s expertise is in comprehensive community revitalization, systems change, arts and culture in communities and dynamics of race and ethnicity. She’s worked widely with philanthropy and governments advising on strategy, program design, research, learning and evaluation. She’s an Institute Professor and is affiliated with the College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Prior, she was with Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. for 18 years.

About Edith Abeyta

Edith Abeyta is a visual artist living in North Braddock, Pennsylvania. Her current practice is centered around people, identity and negotiating relationships with the built environment. This manifests as temporary installations, sculptures, experiential life events and temporary public art. She frequently collaborates with other visual artists, poets, scholars, and the public.

Abeyta has been working as an artist in residence with the Office of Public Art at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Hazelwood since June 2014. Her work with Hazelwood residents has directly resulted in a multi-year project, Arts Excursions Unlimited, a free monthly arts excursions program, an art studio and temporary public art. She has received public art commissions from the Arts Council for Long Beach and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Her work has been exhibited at the Lakenhal Museum Lieden, the Netherlands, Burapha University Gallery, Thailand, Long Beach Museum of Art, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Center for Performance and Civic Practice

Michael Rohd and Rebecca Martinez, from the Center for Performance and Civic Practice (CPCP), are leaders in facilitating work with organizations and agencies outside of the arts sector to help them integrate arts-based strategies into their frameworks. During this session, Rohd and Martinez will share their experiences at CPCP and discuss best practices that support artists and community partners in the exploration and development of place-based civic practice work, and cross-sector collaborations.

About Michael Rohd

Michael Rohd is a co-founder of Center for Performance and Civic Practice, where he holds the position Lead Artist for Civic Imagination. He is also founding artistic director of the 19 year old national ensemble-based Sojourn Theatre. In 2015, he received an Otto Rene Castillo award for Political Theater and The Robert Gard Foundation Award for Excellence. He is an Institute Professor at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design & Art and is author of the widely translated book Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue. He was the 2013-2016 Doris Duke Artist-in-Residence at Lookingglass Theater Company in Chicago.

Recent and current projects include collaborations and productions with Goodman Theater, Bush Foundation, Lincoln Center, Singapore Drama Educators Association, Americans for the Arts, Nashville’s MetroArts, ArtPlace, Cleveland Public Theater, Catholic Charities USA, Cook Inlet Housing Authority Alaska, ASU/Gammage, and Steppenwolf Theater.

About Rebecca Martinez

As Program Manager, Rebecca Martinez has provided logistical and programmatic support in addition to mentoring for artist and partner teams for two of CPCP’s core initiatives: Catalyst Initiative and Learning Lab. A Brooklyn-based artist collaborating with CPCP since 2013, Rebecca is also an ensemble member of Sojourn Theatre and has worked as a creator/performer, choreographer, facilitator, teaching artist, and director for multiple national projects including How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes, Finding Penelope, Islands of Milwaukee, On The Table, and the two year Artist-in-Residence collaboration with Catholic Charities.

With both CPCP and Sojourn Theatre, her work focuses on cross-disciplinary social and civic practice through co-designed arts-based engagement and invitation strategies. As a theatre maker, Rebecca has worked regionally with companies such as PlayMakers Repertory Company, Signature Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Working Theater, Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, Milagro Theatre, Oregon Children’s Theatre, INTAR, the 52nd Street Project, the Lark, Young Audiences, and Creative Arts Team. Rebecca served as a Co-Curator of Working Theater’s Directors Salon, is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, INTAR’s Unit52, the Latinx Theatre Commons Steering Committee, an Associate Member of SDC and a 2017 Drama League Director Fellow. She is a recipient of the SPARC and SU-CASA residency awards, the Lilla Jewel Award for Women Artists, and four Portland Theatre Drammy Awards.

12:30–1:00 p.m.

Lunch Break

1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.

Joseph Claunch from Zuni Youth Enrichment Project

Joseph Claunch is the executive director of the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project (ZYEP), located in Zuni, New Mexico. Founded in 2008, ZYEP’s mission is to ensure the healthy development of Zuni children through summer camps, sports leagues, after-school opportunities, and garden-based education, all of which are grounded in Zuni traditions. For this session, Claunch will be presenting on Ho’n A:wan Community Park, a 2.5 acre complex that opened in Zuni in 2018, and the important role that community artists and culture-bearers played in the design of the park to create the best possible space for the Zuni community.

About Joseph Claunch

Joseph Claunch is a member of the Puyallup Tribe of Tacoma, Washington and executive director for the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project. Claunch earned his Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the University of Kansas; Master’s in Education from the University of Oregon; and Bachelor’s of Arts in Indigenous Studies from Haskell Indian Nations University. Claunch’s 17 years of dedicated service to Native American communities focuses on developing programs and infrastructure that optimize the engagement and well-being of Native American youth.

2:05–3:05 p.m.

Village of Arts & Humanities and the People’s Paper Co-op

Executive director Aviva Kapust from the Village of Arts & Humanities (The Village), and Lead Fellow Faith Bartley from The Village’s program the People’s Paper Co-op, will be discussing the work and 30-year legacy of The Village in Philadelphia, and its use of art as a powerful tool for catalyzing healthy and sustainable societal change, in particular the re-entry process for Philadelphians affected by the criminal justice system.

About Aviva Kapust

Aviva Kapust is a designer, educator and advocate for equitable revitalization in underserved urban communities. As executive director at The Village of Arts and Humanities, Kapust founded seven, arts-based community development initiatives that address socioeconomic challenges facing more than 1500 youth and families in North Central Philadelphia—most notably the SPACES Artist-in-Residence Program and Village Industries Youth Program. Kapust honed her creative problem-solving skills as an art director and creative director at top advertising agencies in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. She has been with The Village since 2010, and executive director from April 2013 to present.

About Faith Bartley

Faith Bartley has been a part of the People’s Paper Co-op since its inception in 2014 as part of the SPACES Artist Residency program. Bartley’s leadership and vision for a program that would focus on women in re-entry—a historically underserved group—led her to join the Co-op permanently as its lead fellow in early 2015. Bartley facilitates the Co-op’s biannual fellowship program for women in re-entry, and is the co-founder of community events such as Ladies Night and the Village’s Winter Gathering. She has spoken at local, regional, and national conferences and is a recipient of the Leeway Foundation Arts and Change Grant.

3:10–3:40 p.m.

Meena’s Dream, written and performed by Anu Yadav

Solo actress Anu Yadav weaves a tale of nine-year-old Meena who wishes her mother could afford the medicine she needs, and Hindu God Lord Krishna who pleads for Meena’s help in his war against the Worry Machine. Meena’s Dream creates a fantastical world through storytelling and live music, from South Indian classical to indie folk. Excerpts from this performance will be shown.

3:45–5:15 p.m.

Panel Discussion: Funding, managing organizations/projects, how to grow projects with moderator Shaunda McDill

To conclude the first day of the Public Art and Communities Symposium, program officer from The Heinz Endowments, Shaunda McDill will lead a moderated panel discussion with Faith Bartley, Joseph Claunch, Aviva Kapust, Shannon Scrofano, and Anu Yadav. The panel will cover organizational funding strategies, management, and developing project growth.

About Shaunda McDill

Shaunda McDill joined The Heinz Endowments in October 2017. As program officer for arts and culture, she works to promote the strength and vitality of a suite of Pittsburgh-based artists and arts organizations. McDill has extensive nonprofit executive and arts management experience, working for theater companies across the country, including The Goodman Theatre of Chicago, Second Stage Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, and Cornerstone Theater Company. She has a Bachelor of Arts in African and African-American Studies and a minor in Theater from Dartmouth College, and a master’s from Yale University’s School of Drama with a concentration in theater management.

Friday, October 23, 2020

9:30–10:00 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions with OPA, Neighborhood Allies, and Borough of Millvale

10:00–11:20 a.m.

Sibyls Shrine

Sibyls Shrine is an homage to the Sibyls, the original priestesses of the Black goddess Mami Wata. The term, which predates Greek history, was used to name the guardians of the Matriarchy. The Sibyls Shrine residency program is motivated by a similar goal: uplifting Black mothers with opportunities for self-care, childcare, space and support in an effort to further develop their craft and presence in the art world. Sibyls Shrine was created by artist Alisha B. Wormsley in 2019. Wormsley along with Jessica Gaynelle Moss, Administrative Director for Sibyls Shrine, and Naomi Chambers, Community Artist Liaison, will be speaking about the impetus for this project and its development.

About Alisha B. Wormsley

Alisha B. Wormsley is an interdisciplinary artist and cultural producer. Her work is about collective memory and the synchronicity of time, specifically through the stories of women of color. Wormsley’s work has been honored and supported with a number of awards and grants: The People Are The Light, afronaut(a) film and performance series, Homewood Artist Residency (recipient of the mayor’s public art award), the Children of NAN video art series, There Are Black People in the Future body of work. These projects and works have exhibited widely, including at the Andy Warhol Museum, Octavia Butler conference at Spelman University, Carnegie Museum of Art, Johannesburg SA, HTMLES in Montreal, Project Row House, the Houston Art League, Rush Art gallery in NY, and the Charles Wright museum in Detroit.

About Jessica Gaynelle Moss

Jessica Gaynelle Moss is an artist, independent curator and arts worker. She has an extensive background in production and fabrication, nonprofit leadership, and the advancement of equitable development.Moss reimagines new frameworks and strategizes ways to build, maintain and sustain Black autonomous spaces devoted to the survival, resistance, and healing of Black people. Her artwork is in the collections of The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Baltimore, The Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection (JFABC) and The University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC). She is the recipient of grants from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (2017), Foundation For The Carolinas (2019, 2020), The Arts & Science Council (2018, 2019, 2020), and The Heinz Endowments (2020).

About Naomi Chambers

Naomi Chambers is a Pittsburgh-based painter and assemblage artist; she also runs The Flower House in the Pittsburgh neighborhood Wilkinsburg. The Flower House is a community art studio and art center that responded to the needs of the balck community and families of Wilkinsburg by providing a space to create, learn, and gather. It is cultivated by group-centered artists who practice cooperative economics to empower women and families.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Farm Dinner Theater

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) grantee, Deborah Reed, PhD, a nurse at the University of Kentucky and founder of Farm Dinner Theater will be presenting on how she conceptualized and executed this endeavor. The Farm Dinner Theater is a research-based approach that works with established community-based Cooperative Extension Agents in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia to develop and test a theater intervention aimed at positively changing farm work culture and safety behavior.

About Deborah Reed, PhD

Dr. Deborah Reed, MSPH, PhD, RN, FAAOHN, FAAN has devoted the past 29 years to improving the health and safety of agricultural producers and their families. She is internationally respected for her research and educational programming. She was the recipient of multiple R01 level grants from the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and other agencies. The culmination of this work is the award winning Farm Dinner Theater, fast becoming a national program for promoting health and safety across rural communities. Dr. Reed is a Professor of Extension in Community Health and Safety in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment but is affectionately called the Ag Nurse by the public. She grew up on a farm and loves to support her roots through her work.

12:30–1:00 p.m.

Lunch Break

1:00–2:00 p.m.

Building Our Futures, Keeping Our Spaces: A Justice Centered Cross-sector Collaboration

Representatives from the arts, health, and environmental justice sectors in Hazelwood will discuss a real life collaboration that resulted in the 2020 exhibition, Building Our Futures, Keeping Our Spaces at Center of Life. Topics include intersectionality, youth focused programming and fostering cross sector partnerships that address real community needs.Presenters include: Edith Abeyta, from Arts Excursions Unlimited; Hanna Beightley from Women for a Healthy Environment; Joy Cannon from the Center of Life; and Matt Dean from New Voices for Reproductive Justice.

About Edith Abeyta

Edith Abeyta is a visual artist living in North Braddock, Pennsylvania. Her current practice is centered around people, identity and negotiating relationships with the built environment. This manifests as temporary installations, sculptures, experiential life events and temporary public art. She frequently collaborates with other visual artists, poets, scholars, and the public.
Abeyta has been working as an artist in residence with the Office of Public Art at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Hazelwood since June 2014. Her work with Hazelwood residents has directly resulted in a multi-year project, Arts Excursions Unlimited, a free monthly arts excursions program, an art studio and temporary public art. She has received public art commissions from the Arts Council for Long Beach and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Her work has been exhibited at the Lakenhal Museum Lieden, the Netherlands, Burapha University Gallery, Thailand, Long Beach Museum of Art, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

About Hanna Beightley

Hanna Beightley graduated in 2019 from the University of Pittsburgh with a Master’s in Public Health in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. She joined Women for a Healthy Environment as the Lead Coalition Coordinator working to establish a county-wide initiative to address childhood lead exposure. More recently, she transitioned into the position as the Healthy Homes Coordinator for WHE where she works with families and community stakeholders to address environmental exposures in the home and advocates for policy to protect children and families from the dangers of unhealthy housing.

About Joy Cannon

Joy Cannon is Director of Programming at Center of Life, a Hazelwood-based community empowerment non-profit. Since joining the organization in 2013, Cannon has most enjoyed providing creative learning opportunities for K-12 students, supporting staff in their ongoing professional development, and advocating for Hazelwood families. Cannon is a graduate of Duquesne University where she studied Sociology as well as Social Justice and Policy. Most recently, she has participated in CORO Pittsburgh’s Women in Leadership and the PA Education Policy Fellowship Program.

About Matt Dean

Matt Dean is the Environmental Justice Exchange Coordinator at New Voices for Reproductive Justice. He has worked for New Voices for Reproductive Justice since 2018. He leads the Environmental Justice Exchange, a program that teaches environmental organizations how to center the voices, experiences, and leadership of Black communities in the struggle to uproot environmental racism and build healthy communities. Dean also serves on the Board of Directors of The Thomas Merton Center and earned his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary studying social ethics and liberation theology.

2:05–3:05 p.m.

Artists in a Poor People's Movement

Anu Yadav is an actress, playwright and cultural worker based in Los Angeles. She will discuss the role of storytelling and listening as an artist engaged in civic practice and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (PPC:NCMR). After her remarks she will be in conversation with Put People First PA organizer and PA PPC:NCMR theomusicologist Jacob Butterly followed by an audience Q&A.

About Anu Yadav

Anu Yadav is a critically-acclaimed actress, playwright, educator and cultural worker dedicated to art and social justice. She is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association, the Dramatists Guild, Alternate ROOTS, the Network of Ensemble Theaters and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, the University of the Poor and was most recently the 2019-2020 Creative Strategist Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

About Jacob Butterly

Jacob Butterly is a poor queer organizer and musician living in Montgomery County just ouside of their native Philaelphia. They are the Theomusicologist for the PA Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and a Montgomery County Healthcare Rights Committee Coordinator with Put People First PA, a grassroots, statewide working class organization fighting to change what’s politically possible through the unity of the Poor & Dispossessed and demanding Healthcare As a Human Right.

3:10–3:40 p.m.

Soul Tent Stories

Soul Tent Stories is a listening project of the People’s University, led by Anu Yadav in collaboration with the DC Public Libraries, BloomBars, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice and residents of Washington, DC. Inspired by the social media phenomenon Humans of New York, Soul Tent Stories is the research phase of a larger multi-year theater project on how we heal from racism and poverty. Excerpts from this project will be shown.

About Anu Yadav

Anu Yadav is a critically-acclaimed actress, playwright, educator and cultural worker dedicated to art and social justice. She is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association, the Dramatists Guild, Alternate ROOTS, the Network of Ensemble Theaters and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, the University of the Poor and was most recently the 2019-2020 Creative Strategist Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

3:45–5:15 p.m.

Public Art as Platform for Collective Memory

How can an artist’s voice amplify forgotten, overlooked, or marginalized community stories? How can a rigorous artistic practice uncover and meaningfully manifest collective memories of place and home? How can the public display of community memory raise awareness of historic wrongs, build empathy for marginalized peoples, and instill a greater understanding of shared humanity? In this Njaimeh Njie, John Peña and Molly Rice, three multidisciplinary artists will discuss intimate and long-term collaborations with community-based organizations in the Pittsburgh region, facilitated by the Office of Public Art, that resulted in public artworks that amplify unheard, underrepresented, or marginalized narratives.

About Njaimeh Njie

Njaimeh Njie is a photographer, filmmaker, and multimedia producer. Njie’s work has been featured in outlets including CityLab, Belt Magazine, and the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Storyboard Blog, and she has presented at venues including TEDxPittsburghWomen, Harvard University, and Carnegie Mellon University. Among several awards and grants, Njie was named the 2019 Visual Artist of the Year by the Pittsburgh City Paper, the 2019 Duquesne University/August Wilson House Fellow, and the 2018 Emerging Artist of the Year by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Njie earned her B.A. in Film and Media Studies in 2010 from Washington University in St. Louis.

About John Peña

John Peña is a multidisciplinary artist who makes art as a way of exploring the natural world and his daily interactions. He makes comics, sculptures, video works, and public art. A few of his projects include: racing with clouds, making a drawing about his life every day for the last ten years, and creating life-sized plaster word balloons that are precariously balanced on two-by-fours.

About Molly Rice

Molly Rice is a playwright/songwriter whose work has been developed/produced in NYC (Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Women’s Project, NYTW, New Georges, 54 Below) and nationally (American Repertory Theater, Montana Rep, Salvage Vanguard, Trinity Rep, Kitchen Dog, City Theater, Perishable Theater, etc.). Her work and articles about her work can be seen in American Theater Magazine, The Dramatist, Dramatics Magazine, Kenyon Review, Play: A Journal, Indie Theater Now, Clarkson Potter Press, Heinemann Press, and various local and national news sources, including The New York Times.

Registration

Once you have made your selection you will be redirected to the event registration page of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.

$15

One-day registration (individual)

$25

Two-day registration (individual)

$80

Two-day registration (group of four from same organization)

Scholarships are available for those needing assistance with cost of attendance. To request scholarship assistance, please contact Rachel Klipa at rklipa@pittsburghartscouncil.org.