Studio art course offering for Spring 2019: History & Theory of Social Practice

ARTS 777: History and Theory of Social Practice
Mondays 2:00-5:50pm
Prof. Sholette

Art as History? Art as Thinking? Art as Research? Art as Work? The aim of this seminar is to survey, critique and historicize the theory and practice of activist, interventionist, public, participatory and community based art that operates within and across fields such as performance, urban studies, environmental science and other socially engaged disciplines. The class will focus on such questions as: Why is it useful, even necessary, to understand the history and theory of social practice art? Where should we look to find the historical roots of social practice art? Are these within the history of art, or external to it, in the broader social sphere? In an increasingly privatized society how do we define and operate within a concept of the public sphere? And how are both mainstream and alternative type cultural institutions responding to the increasing interest in socially engaged art by emerging artists? Through lectures, readings, discussions, student presentations, group activities, guest speakers and off-site visits to galleries and museums we will seek to position socially-engaged visual culture and the shifting role of the artist within an historical, ideological, and critical framework.

Call for Artists: Creative Time

Are you a New York City-based artist with an exciting idea for a public project? Between December 10 and January 18, Creative Time is accepting proposals for a new public commission to be exhibited in the spring/summer of 2019. The open call is an opportunity for emerging artists to experiment in the public realm, and utilize Creative Time’s 40+ year history of realizing artists’ dream projects.

Ideas can be bold and ambitious, and there is no secret formula for size or scale – proposals can range from the unassuming to a dramatic gesture. Above all, it should be timely, and hold the potential to spark critical public exchange.

Click here for more information on the program, submission guidelines, and how to apply.

MFA Grant Opportunity: Art Action Grants, Fall 2018

Social Practice Queens (SPQ) is pleased to announce the launch of Action Art Grants: FALL 2018, a series of student-led, socially engaged, and community-based projects with support from the Rubin and Velcik Foundations. This SPQ initiative is designed to help bridge the gap between MFA studio-based practices and action towards social, political, environmental or economic justice in the world at the local, national, or international level.

The grant is available to any matriculating Queens College MFA student concentrating in Social Practice and Advanced Certificate in Critical Social Practice students (though partnering with non- SPQ students is allowed and encouraged). The total maximum amount of each grant is $1500 USD. An advisor will be required for each project whose compensation is separate from the grant amount.

The project proposal must:
– Be designed in collaboration with at least one other MFA student (does not have to be SPQ), and also be developed in coordination with a community partner (or partners) located outside CUNY.
– Specify a specific outcome in which art as social action plays a central role. In other words, if the final form of the project is an exhibition or a screening or a document the work must also have a direct, positive social component somewhere along the way that is engaged in community planning around civic justice, environmental improvement, urban policy, political critique, economic development or a similar goal.
– Include an evaluative assessment plan with timelines must be built into the project proposal. This should include how the project “works” with the non-CUNY community.
– Present a thought-out theoretical methodology based on your own artistic research and readings and related seminars preferably with existing models of projects as reference materials.

All proposals are due: September 25th, 2018.

For full application details, view or download the pdf below:

New book by Professors Greg Sholette and Chloë Bass


Art as Social Action is both a general introduction to and an illustrated, practical textbook for the field of social practice, an art medium that has been gaining popularity in the public sphere. With content arranged thematically around such topics as direct action, alternative organizing, urban imaginaries, anti-bias work, and collective learning, among others, Art as Social Action is a comprehensive manual for teachers about how to teach art as social practice.

Along with a series of introductions by leading social practice artists in the field, valuable lesson plans offer examples of pedagogical projects for instructors at both college and high school levels with contributions written by prominent social practice artists, teachers, and thinkers.

To learn more or to pre-order a copy, visit Allworth Press.

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