A Week of Socially Engaged Art: October 6-12, 2014

Dive in and out of a week-long series of events, and meet artists and institutions that are making waves in the evolving practice of Socially Engaged Art!


This week, the Arts Research Center is partnering with the Center for Art and Inquiry at the Exploratorium as well as New York’s Blade of Grass, to program a series of Bay Area events that demonstrate the range and reach of socially engaged art! With Maya Lin at the David Brower Center, Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz Island, Rick Lowe in residence at the Arts Research Center, Paul Ramirez Jonas at The Exploratorium, and many more allied events, the Bay Area is in the midst of a critical conversation on art and social justice.

This week, October 6-12, we will see such energy heightened with the appearance of two projects by A Blade of Grass art fellow, Brett Cook’s lecture and Reflections of Healing project; Pablo Helguera’s Libreria Donceles; in addition to Paul Ramirez Jonas’ project and public talk, Make the Treasure, at the Exploratorium. Join us as we engage, support, and celebrate the role of the arts in movements for social justice.

For more information about these and other events, please see below:




Embodying Liberation: A Dialogue on Community and Healing
with artist Brett Cook
Monday, October 6
David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA




Oakland based artist Brett Cook speaks in ARC’s yearlong lecture series on art, activism, and technology, coordinated with the Berkeley Center for New Media and the David Brower Center. Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech movement, Cook will speak about art and public health in relation to his own practice and the Life as Living festival in deFremery Park, once the site of the Black Panthers’ free clinics and community activism.

For more information about Brett’s talk, please visit ARC’s webpage for program details and to reserve your space in advance. This lecture is co-produced with UC Berkeley’s Center for New Media and the David Brower Center, as part of the Art, Technology & Culture Colloquium.




Librería Donceles
by artist Pablo Helguera
October 8-9
Kadist Art Foundation
3295 20th Street
San Francisco, CA



Librería Donceles, by ABOG Fellow Pablo Helguera, takes the form of an itinerant Spanish-language bookstore comprised of over12,000used books on multiple subjects. His installations recreate the unique intellectually and culturally rich environment of secondhand bookstore question how Spanish is integrated into the broader cultural life of each city the project touches down on, including New York, Phoenix, and now, the Bay Area.

Guided visits with A Blade of Grass Executive Director, Deborah Fisher, are available upon request and are most welcome! Please email estaller@abladeofgrass.org to arrange a viewing time.




From the Local to the Global: Getting There and Back
Wednesday, October 8
Oakland to Gaza at the Uptown Body Shop
401 26th Street at Telegraph
Oakland, CA

A Panel Discussion about public art, social media, technology and activism, moderated by KQED journalist Roula Seikaly, wth panelists Dr. Susan R. Greene (Director, Art Forces, Artist and Psychologist); Lara Kiswani (Executive Director, Arab Resource & Organizing Center, Activist); Kara Q. Smith (Managing Editor, Art Practical); Erin Yoshi (Director, Estria Foundation, Artist and Activist). Investigating connections between social activism, media and technology, and public art, and the shifting boundaries between the local and the global, the panel will move from a moderated discussion to an open Q&A with audience members. For more information, please visit the Art Forces website




Reflections of Healing at the Life is Living Festival
with artist Brett Cook
Saturday, October 11
deFremery Park
1651 Adeline St (btw 16th & 18th)
Oakland, CA






Life Living is a free celebration of urban life through hip-hop, intergenerational health, and environmental action. The festival establishes new model for partnerships between diverse and under-resourced communities, green action agencies, and the contemporary arts world. Reflections of Healing, by artist and co-organizer Brett Cook, is multi-faceted process of community building that includes the collaborative development of 24 large-scale public installations featuring Bay Area residents, who demonstrate healing through practice or legacy. Reflections of Healing for LIL 2014 will feature a wellness clinic with free healthcare services and therapies, as direct actions that promote health equity concurrent with these interactive installations.

Join A Blade of Grass to meet ABOG Fellow Brett Cook, who will introduce his project and offer an inside look at the festival’s history, organizers and highlights. We will meet Brett at Defremery Park, near the corner of 18th Street and Adeline Avenue in Oakland at 11:30am. RSVP to estaller@abladeofgrass.org so we can look out for you and extend any updates.  Life is Living will include multiple performances and family-friendly activities that you can explore independently throughout the day. A complete itinerary will be available at lifeisliving.org.




Make the Treasure
with artist Paul Ramirez Jonas
Presented by: Exploratorium Center for Art & Inquiry
Sunday, October 12, 2-3:30PM
Exploratorium Center for Art Inquiry Exploratorium
Pier 15, Kanbar Forum
San Francisco, CA


We Make the Treasure by artist Paul Ramirez Jonas investigates the value of objects lost and recovered, above and below the water line. Evoking the true story of the Beeswing, a long-sunken schooner in San Francisco Bay, the work positions a rowboat, crane, and various coins as gateways to interaction and reflection. At this special event, Ramirez Jonas will give a visual presentation on a range of projects animated by his interest in participation, history, and exchange. His presentation will be followed by a conversation with Marina McDougall, Director of the Exploratorium’s Center for Art & Inquiry.

RSVP to the Exploratorium Center for Art & Inquiry, cai@exploratorium.edu by October 11.