The Kenneth Rainin Foundation presents “Exploring Public Art Practices,” a free half-day symposium with artist talks, discussions and presentations by 15 local and national artists to investigate the shifting field of public artistic practice.
Exploring Public Art Practices
Saturday, September 10, 2016, 1–6 PM
Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), James Moore Theater, 1000 Oak Street, Oakland
Free and open to the public. Advanced registration is strongly encouraged.
RSVP on Eventbrite*
* Capacity is limited; arrive early to find seating. Your RSVP does not guarantee a seat, but is the best way for us to gauge overall attendance. We will fit as many people as possible.
This event is designed to bring together artists working in, or who want to work in, public art to share ideas and learn from each other. The symposium aims to grow critical discourse among artists and expand Bay Area dialogue on the opportunities and challenges of working in public space.
“Exploring Public Art Practices” is part of the Rainin Foundation’s Open Spaces Program, a new public art funding initiative. The program supports temporary place-based public art projects in Oakland and San Francisco that engage communities, showcase artistic experimentation and energize public spaces, as well as help artists build their capacity for creating public art.
Can’t attend the event? This event will be documented and videos will be available online. Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates.
1:00 PM – Welcome & Introduction
1:15 PM – Keynote Talk by Ghana ThinkTank
2:15 PM – Break
2:30 PM – Roundtable Discussion with Mildred Howard, Postcommodity, Favianna Rodriguez and Transformazium moderated by Genevieve Quick.
4:00 PM – Break
4:30 PM – Lightning Talks by Michael Arcega, Kota Ezawa, Ana Teresa Fernández, Cliff Hengst, Dee Hibbert-Jones, Nomi Talisman, Alison Pebworth, Chris Sollars and Jenifer Wofford moderated by Christian L. Frock.
6:00 PM – Event Close
Artists & Speakers
Michael Arcega is a San Francisco-based interdisciplinary artist working primarily in sculpture and installation. His research-based work—directly informed by historic narratives, material significance, and geography—revolves largely around language and sociopolitical dynamics, whose subject matter deals with circumstances of unbalanced power relations. Learn more.
Kota Ezawa is an Oakland-based artist who has produced public art installations in Vancouver, BC; New York City; Washington, DC; and San Francisco. His work references images in popular culture, cinema, television, and art history. Learn more.
Ana Teresa Fernández
Ana Teresa Fernández was born in Mexico, and lives and works in San Francisco. She creates work that explores the politics of intersectionality, and the ways it shapes personal identity, culture, and social rhetoric through painting, performance and video. Her work illuminates the psychological and physical barriers that define gender, race, and class in Western society and the global south. Her 5W public art project in San Francisco was awarded “Best of the Bay” by 7×7 Magazine in 2013. Learn more.
Ghana ThinkTank is an international collective. Their approach to public art reveals blind spots between otherwise disconnected cultures, challenges assumptions about who is “needy,” and turns the idea of expertise on its head by asking people in the “third world” to solve problems of people in the “first world.” The core artists/organizers include: Christopher Robbins, who creates sculptural interventions in the daily lives of strangers; John Ewing, who specializes in participatory installations that emphasize social activism and cross-cultural exchange; and Maria del Carmen Montoya, who explores the communal process of making meaning through participatory art, performance, and new media. Learn more.
Cliff Hengst is a San Francisco-based visual and performing artist. He is currently working with his husband, Scott Hewicker, for a show at San Francisco’s Gallery 16 in November. In April 2017, Hengst will perform Mr. Akita, a play written and directed by Asher Hartman, at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive as part of the MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art.
Dee Hibbert-Jones is a San Francisco-based filmmaker who works on film, art, and new media projects that address critical social issues and personal testimony. Her most recent film, Last Day of Freedom, co-directed with Nomi Talisman, was nominated for the 88th Academy Award Best Documentary Short and won an Emmy Award. Learn more.
Mildred Howard is a Berkeley-based artist who creates sculptural installations and mixed media assemblage work. She has collaborated with notable poets and writers to create public installation works exhibited around the Bay Area. Learn more.
Alison Pebworth is a San Francisco-based artist whose work comments on contemporary culture through re-imagined prototypes of earlier histories and practices. She focuses on long-range projects that combine painting, installation and social interaction. Her recent large interactive sculptural works merge history and social narratives, including a 42-foot climbable tower, Reconnecting to Home, commissioned by the New Children’s Museum in San Diego (2015) and Innards and Upwards, A San Francisco Wunderkammer at Recology Artist in Residence Program (2016). Learn more.
Postcommodity is an interdisciplinary arts collective comprised of Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez, and Kade L. Twist. Postcommodity’s art functions as a shared Indigenous voice to engage manifestations of globalism and the ever-expanding, multinational, multiracial and multiethnic colonizing force that is defining the 21st century through ever increasing velocities and complex forms of violence. Their recent work, The Repellent Fence, is the largest bi-national land art installation ever exhibited on the U.S./Mexico border. Learn more.
Favianna Rodriguez is an Oakland-based interdisciplinary artist and cultural strategist. Her art and collaborative projects address migration, economic inequality, gender justice and ecology. She partners with social movement groups around the country to co-create art that’s resilient, empowering and transformative. Learn more.
Chris Sollars is a San Francisco-based artist. His work focuses on the reclamation and subversion of public space through interventions and performance. The results are documented using photographs, sculpture, and video that are integrated into mixed-media installations. Upcoming projects include DAAAM for the Jacki Headley University Art Gallery at California State University, Chico and Hoof & Foot: a field study for the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis. Learn more.
Nomi Talisman was born in Israel and lives in San Francisco. She is a filmmaker, freelance editor, animator and motion graphics designer. Her film projects have received multiple awards, including Last Day of Freedom which won an Emmy Award and was nominated for an Academy Award. Learn more.
Transformazium is the collaborative practice of artists Dana Bishop-Root, Ruthie Stringer and Leslie Stem. Their Pennsylvania-based projects examine local systems of communication, exchange, and resource distribution. They seek to expand and connect dialogue in their neighborhood with the larger art world, and include voices currently underrepresented in more dominant arts discourses. Learn more.
Jenifer K. Wofford
Jenifer K. Wofford is a San Francisco-based artist whose work plays with notions of hybridity, authenticity, and global culture, often with a humorous bent. She is also one-third of the Filipina-American artist trio Mail Order Brides/M.O.B., a collective that uses humor and camp to explore issues of culture and gender. Learn more.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Top photo: In 2013 the US State Department and Bronx Museum of Art selected Ghana ThinkTank to work as cultural ambassadors in Morocco. Ghana ThinkTank commissioned a local painter to depict his perception of American problems on a donkey cart that was then converted into a solar-powered media center and tea house. Traveling through rural villages in the cart, Ghana ThinkTank asked locals to help solve problems that were submitted by Americans. Photo credit: Ghana ThinkTank
Program Associate, Arts
Adriana supports the arts team with grantmaking activities, and developing and implementing new initiatives. Read more.